My favorite episodes of I Love Lucy are the ones where Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred travel out of New York City. In 1954, when Ricky was trying to launch his movie career in Hollywood, the gang took a cross-country road trip across the United States and then spent a good chunk of time in Beverly Hills, California. Throughout these adventures Lucy landed in all sorts of zany situations, many of them involving the most celebrated entertainers at the time – John Wayne, William Holden, Rock Hudson, and on and on.
The following year, soon after they returned from the West Coast, Ricky found out his band was booked on a European tour. Off they went again, this time via transatlantic steamship, to hob and nob with the rich and famous of France, England, Italy, and more. True to character, Lucy again caused chaos wherever she went.
I recently discovered that CBS.com has a section under their videos for classic television episodes, and one of the featured shows is I Love Lucy. Eighty full episodes are available to watch for free, including many of the California and Europe ones.
The funniest episode from the Europe series has to be the very last one “Home From Europe“, when they’re flying back to New York. After getting yelled at by Ricky for buying too many souvenirs and gifts, Lucy decides to disguise a 25-pound log of Italian cheese as a swaddled baby to avoid paying extra airline fees. Every time I watch this episode, I laugh as hard as I did the first time I watched it. My favorite line is when Ricky screams: “I am not the father of that cheese!”