Equal Rights [I Love Lucy]

Equal Rights – I Love Lucy season 3, originally aired October 26, 1953

Equal Rights begins with Ricky and Lucy Ricardo (Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball) going out to dinner with Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley and Vivian Vance), but they have to wait for Lucy’s fingernail polish to dry.  While they’re waiting, Ricky tries to tell a funny anecdote – that Lucy keeps interrupting and correcting him about, causing him to get angry and ‘put his foot down.’ That would have been alright, if only he had let it stop there, but Ricky goes farther and tells Lucy that she needs to ‘stay in her place,’ which gets Lucy’s (and Ethel’s) dander up.  

Demanding equal rights

The ladies demand that they be treated with equal rights – €”the same rights that the men enjoy.  After a knowing glance between Fred and Ricky, the boys agree, and the foursome is off to the restaurant.  And ‘equal rights’ begin right away, with Fred and Ricky dropping their wives coats instead of helping them put them on – since they wouldn’t do that for men.

Equal Rights - I Love Lucy - Fred and Ricky shaving at the restaurant table

Once they get to the restaurant, Ricky and Fred try to demonstrate their ideas of ‘equal rights’, but interrupting the girls when they try to order – and when the girls decide that they need to freshen up their faces in the powder room, Fred and Ricky decide to do the same – shaving at the dinner table.  When it’s time to pay the bill, Ricky has a word with the restaurant manager, and they have the ladies pay for their own meals – ‘equal rights’ after all!  Since the ladies have no money, they have to pay for their meals by washing dishes.

The husband’s revenge

Ricky has arranged for the manager to call him once the ladies are done washing the dishes and have ‘learned their lesson’ – but they have a lesson of their own to teach!  After squabbling over all of the dishes that they have to wash, and whose fault it is, they call home, and pretend that they are being accosted by robbers!  Ricky and Fred race to the rescue, calling the police to meet them there, as they wallow in guilt for having left their wives in danger.

Once they arrive, they look through the window in the kitchen doors and see the girls there, unharmed and laughing about their husbands’ reactions.  The boys decide to turn the tables on the girls, and pull their overcoats up and cover their faces with handkerchiefs and pretend to be actual robbers! After scaring their wives, the boys start laughing at the situation – until the police break in and arrest the boys!

The wives’ revenge

The finale occurs in the police station, as the girls want to see the ‘robbers’ before deciding whether or not to press charges.  After teasing their husbands, Lucy and Ethel decide, of course, that the ‘robbers’ are kind of cute.  The girls take them home with them instead, with all four agreeing to ‘equal rights’ from now on.  Equal Rights is a very funny I Love Lucy episode, with the switching of the ‘aha!’ moments, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did.  Equal Rights is available on the I Love Lucy season 3 DVD collection.

Funny movie quotes from I Love Lucy – Equal Rights

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): And the next time I tell a story, you stay out of it.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Yes, sir.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): And be on time from now on or we’re gonna go without you.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Yes, sir.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): We’re gonna run this house like they do in Cuba, where the man is the master and the woman does what she’s told.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Si, señor.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): And don’t get smart.  Go get your coat.
[growing indignant] Oh, yeah?

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): I am not arguing about women’s rights.  I am the first one to agree that women should have all the rights they want, so long as they stay in their place.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I never worked so hard in my life.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Neither did I. I wonder where all these came from. [referring to the large number of dishes]
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I don’t know. I think he takes in dirty dishes from other restaurants.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I know how to get back at them.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): How?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I’ll call Ricky and tell him the place is being held up and you scream and make noises in the background like struggling.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Lucy, where do you get these great ideas from? [Lucy shrugs] Well promise me when you die you’ll leave your brain to science.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Okay.

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