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The Gossip

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Previous episode: The Moustache              Next episode: Pioneer Women

Gossip.jpg GraceDreams.jpg

PlotEdit

Ricky's sick and tired of Lucy constantly gossiping. When she gets hold of a juicy story, she just has to tell someone (preferably Ethel) about it. She just has heard a scandalous tale about friends Betty and Jack, but Ricky forbids her from telling Ethel about it. Instead, Lucy tells the story to Ethel by acting it out through charades. Ricky says that this proves that Lucy is obsessed with telling gossip. Lucy and Ethel counter that men gossip just as much as women do. So, the men bet the women breakfast in bed for a month that they can go without gossiping longer than Lucy and Ethel can.

To increase their chances of winning, Ricky and Fred decide to trick their wives into gossiping. They invent a phony gossip story about neighbor Grace Foster planning on running away with the milkman, and they let their wives know the gossip by pretending to "mumble" it in their sleep. Naturally, Lucy and Ethel can't wait to tell one another the story, so when they think they're alone the next day, they gossip in Lucy's living room. Fred and Ricky were secretly hiding down in the basement, though, and they tell their wives through the furnace pipes that they've been caught gossiping.

Lucy doesn't like that the men say that they won the bet because telling gossip they knew wasn't real wasn't really gossip at all. Lucy and Ethel disagree, but they begrudgingly prepare breakfast in bed for their husbands. Just as Ricky and Fred are about to start eating, the milkman comes rushing in the room, asking for a place to hide. Then, Bill Foster angrily enters the bedroom with a gun, looking for the milkman, who has been having an affair with Grace! Lucy tells Bill Foster that nothing can be solved by a gun, and he agrees and leaves. Ricky and Fred silently get out of bed and go make their wives breakfast, now that they know the gossip was true. While the husbands are away making breakfast, the milkman crawls out from underneath Lucy's vanity, and Lucy gives him $10, $5 for him and $5 for Bill Foster, as payment for a great performance. Ethel is stunned by Lucy's cleverness, and they laugh about their good fortune.

TriviaEdit

  • Lucy fans will recognize the actor who plays the milkman as having played Bobby the bellboy in season four (Bobby Jellison).
  • The full piece of juicy gossip that Lucy tells Ethel through charades while her mouth is taped shut was as follows: Couple Betty and Jack had a fight over another woman. Betty went in a club and saw Jack with the other woman. The two of them were caught kissing and drinking. Betty was so angry that she went over and started yelling at Jack and got into a fight with the other woman. Jack tried to stop the two women from fighting, but ultimately, a policeman came in and separated the two women. He put the women in the black mariah, threw Jack in, too, and went driving away in the police car with the siren on.
  • The pendant Lucy wears in the first scene was one of Lucille Ball's favorite pieces of jewelry.
  • A funny minor detail of this episode that is usually overlooked involves the pudding Lucy's making when she and Ethel finally spill the Grace Foster gossip to one another. When Ethel is asked what kind of pudding Lucy's making, Lucy first has the Freudian slip of saying "Grace Foster" for the flavor. When she realizes her mistake, she hurriedly corrects herself, saying that the pudding is brown BETTY. What a perfect dessert to have for the episode where Betty and Jack's personal lives are front and center in the plot!
  • Ethel never explains what the "black mariah" is. Our best guess is the back of the police car where arrested people are forced to ride.
  • The Fosters are said to live in 3B in this episode, which is the original number of the apartment the Ricardos get from switching with the Bensons in season 2. They later are said to live in 2A.
  • During rehearsal for this episode, Lucy got into a big fight with the director of the show, because he wanted the milkman to crawl on the Ricardos' bed, whereas Lucy wanted the milkman to walk around the bed. Lucy didn't think it made sense for the milkman to crawl on top of the bed, and thus, she didn't think it would be funny if it didn't make sense. Producer Jess Oppenheimer had to be called down to the set to mediate the fight, and he sided with Lucy, saying that, if the director couldn't give a good reason for the milkman to walk on the bed, they couldn't do it that way.
  • Lucy gives a prime example of how rumors are easily started by telling gossip. All she learned from Ricky was that "Grace Foster is running away with the milkman." But she excitedly tells Ethel that Grace and the milkman are running away to Mexico to get a quick divorce before they settle in Steubenville for the milkman's new milk route!
  • When Ricky and Fred think they've won the bet, they order orange juice, two eggs basted, ham, toast, jam, and coffee for their first breakfast in bed.
  • Once they've won the bet because of the performance by the milkman and Bill Foster, Lucy and Ethel request an odd breakfast, consisting of honeydew melon filled with strawberries, eggs benedict, and hot chocolate.
  • The logic that Ricky and Fred use to say that the girls were gossiping about the Grace Foster story but they WEREN'T is very flawed. The men argue that, because they knew the story was fake, telling it wasn't gossiping. But since Lucy and Ethel believed it was real, them telling the story was gossip. When the bet was thought up, the terms were no gossiping, and that should have included false/phony gossip. Lucy and Ethel deserved to win in the end for being tricked.

QuotesEdit

Lucy: Well, you two [men] aren't exactly anemic!

  • Ricky: (getting into Lucy's gossip charades) A policeman!
  • Ricky: With you women, [gossip's] your life's blood.
  • Ricky: (faking mumbling in his sleep) Grace Foster is running away... Grace Foster is running away WITH...!
  • Ricky: (from furnace pipes) Lucy Ricardo, this is YOUR conscience. You've been goss'pin', too!

Lucy: Oh, fine. My conscience has an accent...

  • Lucy: Wait a minute! If they weren't asleep, they were AWAKE!

Ethel: Well, that's a monumental conclusion!

  • Ricky: But the story was not true. We made it up. The whole thing was friction!
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