Lucy meets a big executive when she has lunch at 21, and the executive is interested in doing a show with Ricky. When she tells Ricky about it, Ricky unfairly won't let Lucy be in the show, even though she is the one who set up the whole thing. But Ricky won't budge.
When brainstorming for ideas for the theme of the upcoming show, the executive and his partner settle on a Mr. and Mrs.-themed show, starring Ricky and his wife. Now, Ricky has to convince Lucy to be in the show without knowing the real reason why, after he rejected her earlier. Ricky hears Lucy singing off-key as usual in the kitchen. He pretends to love her singing and dancing, and this cheers her up. He says that he MUST have her in the show with him, that it would be a "Mr. and Mrs. TV Show or nothing!"
The Mr. and Mrs. TV Show program is given the proper title of "Breakfast with Ricky and Lucy." It is really just a long commercial for sponsor Phipps Department Store. For rehearsal, Lucy and Ricky deliver their lines about how fabulous Phipps is, and then Fred and Ethel come in and sing an adorable little tune about Phipps while Lucy is changing into the beautiful new sparkly dress she just bought at Phipps.
After rehearsal, Lucy finds out from the producer's partner that it was the producer's idea to make the show be a Mr. and Mrs. Show, and that Ricky was against the idea. Lucy decides to get even by ruining the dress rehearsal the next morning. Unbeknownest to Lucy, the dress rehearsal is really going to be the live broadcast. Ricky turned all the clocks back an hour, and he hopes that Lucy and the Mertzes perform more naturally if they only think it's a dress rehearsal. Lucy goes ahead with her devious plot, badmouthing Phipps every chance she gets and wearing a hideous sack dress with fake teeth for the Phipps beauty makeover part. She is horrified when she finds out she just appeared on live television dressed so ugly.
- Listen closely during the second rendition of Ethel and Fred's Phipps jingle. William Frawley messes up the last part about "first on your list of shopping tips, put..."
- Ricky asks Lucy to sing "Sweet Sue" for him as a way to trick her into doing the Mr. and Mrs. show. This is the first time we've heard "Sweet Sue" on the show since episode #18.
- Several Lucy books bring up a good point- how did Lucy afford to go to 21 for lunch?
- This episode was rerun during the Ricardos' time in Hollywood. A flashback opening has Lucy mentioning the Mr. and Mrs. TV Show she was in, as a way to try and get Ricky's agent to let her be in Ricky's next gig. The reason this episode was chosen to be shown again was because, when it originally aired, not all stations showed it. CBS affiliate stations showed a political commercial from the Republican Party, whereas non-affiliate stations that still showed I Love Lucy aired the actual episode. So, only about half of Americans got to see this episode when it debuted. When the episode was rerun, the non-affilliate stations that saw the episode the first time saw a rerun of episode #44 instead, with the one part of the flashback dialogue being changed. For the episode #44 script, instead of Lucy talking about the Mr. and Mrs. TV Show she did, she mentioned the Flapper Follies of 1927/52. And instead of Ricky confirming on the phone that they did a Mr. and Mrs. Show, he confirmed that he did indeed lose his voice once.
- The soundbite of Fred saying, "Hello out there in TV land!" from this episode used to be used on TV Land's website, when TV Land used to show I Love Lucy and other classic TV shows.
- The big producer who ends up hiring Ricky for the TV show is named Harvey Cromwell, played by John Litel. His sidekick, Mr. Taylor, was played by Lee Millar. Neither actor was credited in this show's credits. Millar also played in three other episodes, and was in the credits for all three:
- Lucy and the Dummy (1955) ... Chip Jackson
- Changing the Boys' Wardrobe (1953) ... Photographer
- The Quiz Show (1951) ... Announcer
- This episode makes Vivian Vance's changed appearance from the summer very noticeable. She cut her hair really short, and she gained a good bit of weight. This weight gain was not part of her "contract-required" excess 20 pounds [The "contract requirement" for Vance to be 20 pounds overweight is more fiction than fact - see next two bullet points.] She gained a lot of weight over the summer from eating as a way to self-medicate for depression caused by trouble in her marriage to Phil Ober.
- Stories have circulated for years that Vivian's contract required her to gain significant amounts of weight for the role of Ethel Mertz. It is true that Vivian put pounds, on but this had occurred naturally over the years. She dieted constantly, hoping to lose the extra weight. Her size does fluctuate noticeably over the course of I Love Lucy, and Lucy may have asked Vivian to stay hefty when her weight increased. But it is unlikely that Lucy demanded Vivian remain plump.
- Plenty of material exists from which to concoct a tale about an unusual contract requirement, but in this case the rumor may also have been spurred by a jest gone awry: What fuels the rumors of Lucy's supposed demands on Vivian stems from a fictitious contract written by Lucy and given to Vivian at a party. In the bogus contract, Lucy outlines certain requirements — that Vivian gain five pounds a week, that she not wear eyelashes, that she not dye her hair within five shades of Lucy's, and that Vivian never get more laughs than Lucy. These exaggerated conditions do bear some resemblance to the truth, but by bringing these demands out in the open in the guise of a joke, Lucy probably thought that everyone would have a hearty laugh and it would all be forgotten. However, the joke backfired. This mock contract took on a life of its own and through the years has become more fact than fiction.
- When Lucy says the line about a "sponsor who's looking for a show," the audio you hear was dubbed in after filming. Watch Lucy's lips- during filming, she switched the words and said "show who's looking for a sponsor."
- Breakfast with Ricky and Lucy was a take off on Dorothy Killgallen and Dick Kollmar's popular radio show "Breakfast with Dorothy & Dick"
- Lucy: I was very subtle [in mentioning Ricky to Harvey Cromwell].
Ethel: Oh, I can imagine- like a garlic sandwich!
- Lucy: But you know what they say- "behind every great man, there's a great woman."
Ethel: Is that what they say?
Lucy: Yes! Empress Josephine, Dolly Madison, Mamie Eisenhower- we're all back there!
Ethel: Well, if it gets dull back there, you can always start a bridge game.
Lucy: Oh, Ethel. We're all behind our husbands, guiding their destiny. we're puppeteers behind the scenes, pulling the strings.
Ethel: (sees Ricky enter room) Well, here's Howdy Doody now!
- Lucy: "Office boy"- that's a fine thing to call H-... Oh, no, you don't! See what he's trying to do? He thinks he's so smart. Trying to trick me into saying "Harvey Cromwell"!
- Fred: Hello out there in TV land!
Ricky: And what have you two early birds been up to?
Ethel: We've been shopping!
Ricky: YOU have been shopping?
Fred and Ethel: (singing) When we go on shopping trips, where else would we go but Phipps? From the top floor to the bottom, if there's bargains, Phipps has got 'em! Down at Phipps, your credit's great. Ask today for a Phipps-a-plate. First on your list of shopping tips... Ricky, Fred, and Ethel: (singing) Put...
Lucy: P-H-I-P-P-S, Phipps!
- Ethel: But this is your big chance! Are you going to muff it?
Lucy: You can call me "Little Miss Muffet"!
- Ricky: How did you sleep, dear?
Lucy: Well, I'm not one to complain, but I had a miserable night! I was trying to sleep on a Phipps foam mattress.
Ricky: But, dear, a Phipps foam mattress rocks you to sleep!
Lucy: You mean a Phipps foam matress is like sleeping on rocks!
- Ricky: Oh, you made this [rock-hard waffle], huh?
Lucy: No, I didn't, dear. I had it sent over from Phipps Fountain and Tea Room. Food always tastes DIFFERENT when they fix it. I don't know WHAT they do to it!
- Lucy: And then I went to Phipps, and boy, what they did to me. If you'll excuse me, I'd like to show you what Phipps did for me. Excuse me? Will you excuse me, dear?
Ricky: (waving her away with napkin) GLADLY!
- Lucy: (singing) Phipps are a great big bunch of gyps!