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Job Switching

Job Switching – I Love Lucy episode 39, season 2, originally aired 9/15/1952

Lucy and Ethel at the Employment Agency

Job Switching is another episode that has become one of the most-loved I Love Lucy episodes, Lucy and Ethel decide to prove that their work is just as hard as Ricky and Fred’s, the girls and guys switch places for a day – this includes the classic Candy Factory routine — speed it up a little!

Chocolate factory

Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory - speed it up a little!
Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory – speed it up a little! Click to buy from Amazon.com

After driving an employment agency to distraction, Lucy and Ethel find work in a candy factory, working on candies on a conveyor belt.  Of course, each time their supervisor checks on them she increases the speed of the belt – “speed it up a little!” – with Lucy and Ethel desperately trying to keep up, eventually stuffing the candies in their mouths and their blouses.  It’s a hilarious physical comedy scene that has to be seen to be appreciated, culminating in a fight with their supervisor.

House husbands

Of course, Ricky and Fred are no better than Lucy and Ethel – Fred burns three of Ethel’s stockings and Ricky starches Lucy’s stockings.  At the end, everyone reconciles and goes back to their “easy” normal jobs.

Job Switching is available as part of the season 2 I Love Lucy DVD collection.

Quotes from Job Switching – I Love Lucy episode 39

Employment Agent: What did you have in mind?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): What kind of jobs do you have open?
Employment Agent: Well what do you do?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): What kind of jobs do you have open?
Employment Agent: Well what do you do?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): What kind of jobs do you have open?
Employment Agent: You go first this time.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Alright, what do you do?
Employment Agent: What kind of jobs do you have… Oh. Cut it out.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Yes, ma’am. I’m a dipper from way back.
Forewoman: Yes?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): They used to call me the big dipper!

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Fred, how often is Ethel’s checking account overdrawn?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Never.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Never? How do you manage that?
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): It’s easy. I never had enough money at one time to open a checking account.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): She spends money like I’m printing it in the basement!

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Say, what do you know about rice?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Well, I had it thrown at me on one of the darkest days of my life.

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): How much rice do you think we should use for four people?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): I don’t know. People do like that stuff.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): How does one pound per person sound?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Sounds about right.

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): What have you got there?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): I brought my cake. Seven layers of luscious Devil’s Food. Wait til you see it.
[Fred takes off the cake cover to reveal a cake barely one inch thick]
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): What happened to the other seven layers?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): They’re all there. Some just… didn’t rise very much.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Well, it doesn’t matter. You can put on a lot of frosting.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): What do you mean “put on”? The frosting’s already in it.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): In it?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Yeah, I mixed it all up together before I baked the cake. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to turn out?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): No, I don’t think so, Fred. Well, maybe you should wait until breakfast and serve it as a pancake.

Trivia for Job Switching

  • Elvia Allman (candy factory boss) was one of the favored performers who was frequently called upon to play different supporting roles in the series. When the format changed to The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, she was finally given the recurring role of Ida Thompson.
  • The woman making chocolates with Lucy was an actual candy maker from See’s Candies in Los Angeles.
  • Fred refers to Ricky as ‘Ricky Margaret McBride’ after Ricky shows him how he has starched Lucy’s stockings. Television viewers at the time would have recognized this reference to Mary Margaret McBride, a successful radio personality and journalist who often gave household hints when advertising products.


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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