The Diet

The Diet – I Love Lucy episode 04, season 1, originally aired 10/29/1951

The Diet begins with Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), his wife Lucy (Lucille Ball), Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley and Vivian Vance) relaxing in the Ricardo’s apartment after everyone has overeaten the oyster dinner that Lucy has prepared.  This leads to a discussion about weight, where Lucy claims that she weighs the same as she did on her wedding day – €”110 pounds.  When put to the test, however, Lucy now weighs 22 pounds more than she thought.  To add insult to injury, Ricky’s agent Jerry calls to inform him that one of Ricky’s dancers is quitting, and now Ricky needs to find a replacement quickly – €”one who can wear her size 12 outfit.  Lucy, of course, wants the part, and after wheedling and cajoling Ricky allows Lucy to audition for the part – but doesn’t guarantee her the part.

At the audition, Lucy is intimidated by the other girls auditioning for the part, since they are trained dancers, younger than her, and pretty as well.  One of them is quite catty towards Lucy, and this comes into play later.  First comes the audition, however, and Lucy shows her comedy skills, since Lucy Ricardo isn’t a trained dancer.  Despite this, her husband gives her the costume to try on – and the overweight Lucy gets on with great difficulty, only to rip it as soon as she tries a dance move in it.  Despite this, she extracts a promise from Ricky that, if she can lose 12 pounds, he’ll let her be in the show.  However, that only gives Lucy 4 days!

The Diet - on behalf of our tubby trio, we welcome you to the flabby foursome

The next scene shows Lucy jogging through the apartment wearing sweat clothes, exercising, and doing everything that she can to lose the weight – a very funny scene, too.  At dinner that evening, while everyone else is eating a delicious meal, Lucy is nibbling on a stalk of celery.  She later sneaks out of the room, only to sneak back in under the table, where she tries to steal a piece of meat from the Mertzes’ dog.

Later comes one of the visual jokes that I Love Lucy is known for, as she spends hours in a pressure cooker box.  Lucy actually loses the weight, and is a success singing Cuban Pete and Sally Sweet with Ricky.  Afterward, she collapses and is wheeled away on a stretcher because of malnutrition. As she’s wheeled away, she hands Ethel a set of keys that unlock a closet door, where Lucy has tied up the ‘catty’ dancer that we saw earlier – who Ricky had hired, until Lucy ‘filled in’ for her!

The Diet is available as part of the season 1 I Love Lucy DVD collection, as well as on I Love Lucy – the complete DVD collection.

Quotes from “The Diet” – I Love Lucy season 1

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Don’t pick on him. Ricky ate more oysters than all of us put together.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Naturally.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): What do you mean,’naturally’?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Because I got more R’s in my name than anyone else

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): You ought to watch that, Ethel. Of course, it doesn’t matter what I eat because it doesn’t go to fat.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Where does it go to? Thin?

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): All right. How much do I weigh?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): [reading the scale] 45 pounds–and stop leaning on us!

Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): On behalf of the tubby trio, I welcome you to our flabby foursome.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): What’s the matter, Ricky?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Joann is quitting.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Who’s Joann?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Oh, that’s terrible!
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Who’s Joann?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): At a time like this still.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Who’s Joann?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Why did she quit?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Who’s Joann?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): She’s getting married.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Who’s Joann?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): She’s the girl that dances with Ricky.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Now what was I doing wrong?

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): All right, all right. You can come down and audition in the morning.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Good! Fred and Ethel, now you heard that. You’re witnesses.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Yeah, but it’s gonna be strictly business. I never saw you before in my life. OK, Lucy? Lucy?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I beg your pardon. Have we been introduced?

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I’m going to get rid of this fat if I have to chop it off with a cleaver!

Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): We’ll get you into a size 12.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Yeah, size 12 shroud!

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Who’s under the table?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Nobody here but us dogs!

Trivia about “The Diet” – I Love Lucy season 1

  • In “The Diet“, Lucy Ricardo learns that she’s gained 22 pounds since marrying Ricky.  In order to replace a retiring singer in Ricky’s Tropicana nightclub act, she will need to lose 12 pounds in 4 days to fit into the singer’s outfit.  Eventually, in the nightclub act Ricky sings “Cuban Pete” and Lucy sings “Sally Sweet” – €”both of these were featured in the Arnazes 1950 vaudeville tour and the subsequent I Love Lucy pilot.
  • Lucy fights with the Mertzes dog over a scrap of meat on a bone – the dog is never seen or mentioned again.
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