Actors Vivian Vance and Lucille Ball on the chocolate factory episode of 'I Love Lucy,' called 'Job Switching.'

100 best episodes of 'I Love Lucy'

January 23, 2021
CBS Photo Archive // Getty Images

100 best episodes of 'I Love Lucy'

"Luuucccyy! You've got some 'splaining to do!" There's simply no 'splaining necessary when it comes to audiences' love of "I Love Lucy." Named for its star, creator, and producer, Lucille Ball, the TV series premiered in October 1951 and was one of television's first syndicated sitcoms. A groundbreaking show in many ways, the series set the stage for generations of multi-camera sitcoms that have followed, including modern-day hits like "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," "Silicon Valley," and "Schitt's Creek."

Winning five Emmy Awards (the first for co-star Vivian Vance, as Ethel) and earning many other nominations, the legendary series was the most-watched show in America during four of its six seasons. Its popularity has continued in rerun syndication—which made its stars the first in TV history to become millionaires since they owned the content outright—and secured "I Love Lucy" position as one of the best and most influential TV shows of all time. Its success also made Ball one of the most powerful and influential women in television during the '50s and '60s.

While many of the show's storylines may read as dated or out of touch today, the show remains a must-watch in our book, if for no other reason than the multitude of ways it shaped modern pop culture. With over 180 half-hour episodes, it can be hard to know where to start with the classic series. Using January 2021 data from IMDb, Stacker ranked the 100 best "I Love Lucy" episodes by IMDb rating, with ties broken by the number of IMDb votes and further ties left as is.

Read on to reminisce about the schemes, outfits, performances, and jokes that have kept Lucy in our hearts for seven decades.

#99. Too Many Crooks (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 217
- Episode: season 3, episode 9
- Air date: Nov. 30, 1953

"Too Many Crooks" was a monumental episode for the "I Love Lucy" cast and crew, as it marked the series' 75th installment. The storyline sees a misunderstanding between the Ricardo and Mertz households, as Lucy and Ethel each believe the other to be the cat burglar called Madame X.

#99. Lucy Becomes a Sculptress (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 217
- Episode: season 2, episode 15
- Air date: Jan. 12, 1953

After deciding to pursue sculpture, Lucy invites an art critic to judge her work in spite of her lack of talent. When Lucy covers her entire head in clay and hides her body under a table to make it look like a replica sculpture, the critic insists he must have the piece. A hilarious scene takes ensues when he tries to pick up the "sculpture" and finds a body attached.

#98. The Saxophone

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 221
- Episode: season 2, episode 2
- Air date: Sept. 22, 1952

In "The Saxophone" Lucy attempts to worm her way into Ricky's band's tour by auditioning to be their new saxophonist in spite of a complete lack of musical talent. When this scheme fails, she tries to make Ricky jealous of a made-up paramour so that he'll feel obligated to take her along on the trip.

#97. Lucy Gets Ricky on the Radio

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 222
- Episode: season 1, episode 32
- Air date: May 19, 1952

After Ricky tricks Lucy into thinking he's a genius, she signs them up to participate in a radio trivia show. Once she realizes they have no real shot at winning, Lucy steals the correct answers from the station only to have the host switch up the format at the last minute.

#95. Vacation from Marriage (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 234
- Episode: season 2, episode 6
- Air date: Oct. 27, 1952

Ethel and Lucy try to revamp their marriages by taking a "vacation" and moving in with each other, forcing Ricky and Fred to do the same. Everyone gets tired of the new living situation very quickly, and the wives get locked up on the roof at night when they try to spy on their husbands.

#95. Lucy Fakes Illness (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 234
- Episode: season 1, episode 16
- Air date: Jan. 28, 1952

Angry that Ricky won't allow her to join his nightclub act, Lucy fakes a mental breakdown in an effort to force his hand. After uncovering her trick, Ricky responds by hiring an actor to play a doctor who diagnoses Lucy with gobloots, a rare disease that will turn her skin green.

#94. Fred and Ethel Fight

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 257
- Episode: season 1, episode 22
- Air date: March 20, 1952

Inspired by a real episode in Lucy and Desi's life, "Fred and Ethel Fight" sees the Ricardos' attempt to reconcile Fred and Ethel (who have separated after a big fight) backfire when they end up arguing themselves. In the end, Lucy pretends to get hit by a bus so that Ricky will start talking to her again.

#93. Lucy Goes to the Hospital

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 272
- Episode: season 2, episode 16
- Air date: Jan. 19, 1953

Desi Arnaz's favorite episode of the entire series, "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" sees Lucy give birth to the Ricardos' baby after a series of chaotic events. At the time, the episode was the highest-rated episode ever broadcast on TV with 71.7% of American TV sets tuning in to watch. Just 12 hours after it aired, Lucille Ball gave birth to the couple's real-life son, Desi Arnaz Jr.

#92. The Diet

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 316
- Episode: season 1, episode 3
- Air date: Oct. 29, 1951

In a plot that would never fly today, Ricky, who's put out by his wife's recent weight gain, tells Lucy she can perform in his act if she can lose 12 pounds in four days. After going to extreme lengths, Lucy manages to drop the weight and shines on stage, before collapsing and being carried away on a stretcher.

#91. Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying To Murder Her

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Votes: 368
- Episode: season 1, episode 4
- Air date: Nov. 5, 1951

Engrossed in a murder mystery novel, Lucy decides that Ricky is planning to kill her after she overhears him talking on the phone about "getting rid of someone." Her odd behavior worries Ricky and he tries to slip her sleeping powder, which she, of course, mistakes for poison.

#90. Lucy's Club Dance

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 164
- Episode: season 3, episode 25
- Air date: April 12, 1954

In "Lucy's Club Dance," Lucy's Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League, which is on the verge of going broke, organizes a dance and puts together an orchestra in order to raise money. Ricky is hired to act as a conductor, but, fed up with the ladies' lack of ability, concocts a switcheroo in order to avoid being embarrassed.

#89. Second Honeymoon

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 167
- Episode: season 5, episode 14
- Air date: Jan. 23, 1956

The Mertzes and Ricardos are headed to Europe, and Lucy is looking forward to a second honeymoon of sorts with Ricky. In a plot mirroring the 1953 film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Lucy quickly becomes jealous when Ethel and Fred start having a more romantic time. Lucy's scheming to spend time with Ricky results in her getting stuck in a porthole, just like Marilyn Monroe's character in the film.

#87. Desert Island (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 173
- Episode: season 6, episode 8
- Air date: Nov. 26, 1956

Lucy hatches a plan to make Fred and Ricky late to a swimsuit contest they are selected to judge, but her scheme is ruined and their boat ends up stranded in the ocean. The gang takes refuge on a deserted island where they run into beautiful actresses on a film set. Actress Claude Akins agrees to scare Lucy and Ethel as payback for their prank.

#87. Lucy Hates To Leave (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 173
- Episode: season 6, episode 16
- Air date: Feb. 4, 1957

Lucy and Ricky grow apprehensive about their impending move to Connecticut, and Lucy becomes even more sentimental when the new tenants of their city apartment discuss what plans they have for her old furniture. Despite including it with the sale of the home, Lucy buys it back from them piece by piece. This becomes an issue with the Mertzes since they're housing the Ricardos until they can move and their tiny apartment is running out of room.

#86. Lucy Gets Chummy With the Neighbors

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 174
- Episode: season 6, episode 18
- Air date: Feb. 18, 1957

The Ricardos move to Connecticut, and Lucy wants new furniture for their new house. Ricky tells her she can only spend $500, but in an unsurprising twist, she spends more than $3,000. Lucy is too embarrassed to admit to the neighbor who had got her a discount at the store that she can't afford the furniture, so the neighbor ends up thinking the Ricardos are insulting her taste. When Ricky goes to sort it out, it turns into a fistfight between the husbands—but ultimately, Lucy ends up being able to keep her furniture after Ricky agrees to do a show for the neighbors to cover the cost.

#85. Sentimental Anniversary

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 187
- Episode: season 3, episode 16
- Air date: Feb. 1, 1954

The Ricardos want to have a quiet wedding anniversary at home, but end up hiding in a closet when they discover Fred and Ethel are planning a surprise party in their honor. Lucy and Ricky are able to slip out and fake a surprised entrance to their surprise party at the Mertzes. This episode was filmed after Desi Arnaz surprised Ball with a 13th wedding anniversary party at Mocambo in West Hollywood in real life.

#84. The Club Election

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 189
- Episode: season 2, episode 19
- Air date: Feb. 16, 1953

Lucy is gunning to be the next president of the Fine Arts League and is shocked when Ethel is nominated instead. Ethel and Lucy find themselves in fierce competition with each other, and end up being tied for the presidency. The last vote comes down to new member Ruth Knickerbocker. Ethel and Lucy initially attempt to sway Ruth's vote but decide to become co-presidents of the club.

#83. The Black Wig

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 192
- Episode: season 3, episode 26
- Air date: April 19, 1954

Lucy and Ethel test their husbands' devotion in "The Black Wig" by donning a variety of disguises and flirting heavily with the two men. Tipped off to the ladies' crazy plan, the men decide to pull their own prank, which leaves their wives livid.

#82. Don Juan Is Shelved

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 193
- Episode: season 4, episode 21
- Air date: March 21, 1955

When Lucy hears that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) shelved Ricky's movie "Don Juan," she comes up with a plan to hire a pretend producer interested in hiring Ricky, hoping it will scare MGM studio head, Dore Schary. While sitting by the pool, Lucy unknowingly hires Schary to play the fake producer and he goes along with it. He never lets on that he's aware of the plot, but later tells Ricky that MGM wants to find another movie for him.

#81. Lucy Writes a Novel

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 194
- Episode: season 3, episode 24
- Air date: April 5, 1954

Lucy writes a novel called "Real Gone with the Wind" that is a thinly disguised story of her life. Ricky, Ethel, and Fred read her manuscript in secret and don't want it to be printed. A publishing company mistakenly buys Lucy's manuscript, but when the error is revealed to her she tears up all the copies. Soon after, a friend calls to tell her someone else may be interested in her book, and Lucy stays up all night reassembling the pages and retyping the novel. Sadly, she finds out the individual was only interested in using her work as an example of bad writing.

#80. Lucy Cries Wolf

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 198
- Episode: season 4, episode 3
- Air date: Oct. 18, 1954

Lucy fakes a number of dangerous situations in an attempt to test Ricky's devotion to her. When she actually is confronted by criminals, no one rushes to her aid because she's cried wolf one too many times.

#79. Lucy Wants New Furniture

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 207
- Episode: season 2, episode 28
- Air date: June 1, 1953

In yet another home furnishings-related episode, Lucy buys new furniture without Ricky's permission and tries to hide it in the kitchen. Ricky discovers it and insists Lucy use her allowance to pay for the extravagant purchase.

#78. Never Do Business With Friends

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 211
- Episode: season 2, episode 31
- Air date: June 29, 1953

The Ricardos sell the Mertzes their washing machine, but it breaks down before the Mertzes pay for it. Now no one wants to claim ownership. It's one of the only times in the series the Mertzes' kitchen is ever seen, and the first time both couples reveal their back porches.

#77. Lucy Gets Into Pictures

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 213
- Episode: season 4, episode 18
- Air date: Feb. 21, 1955

Lucy makes her movie debut as the star of a showgirl scene in this fan-favorite episode. But after repeatedly messing up and complaining about the heavy headdress she has to wear, the director changes the scene so that Lucy's character is already dead and covered with a sheet on a gurney. Never to miss a moment in the spotlight, she writes her name on the bottom of her shoes so viewers will know it's her.

#76. The Charm School

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 214
- Episode: season 3, episode 15
- Air date: Jan. 25, 1954

Lucy and Ethel enroll in charm school after seeing how their husbands react to a friend's sophisticated date. Fred and Ricky are not pleased with the girls' new clothes or manners, and naturally, everyone returns to normal by the episode's conclusion.

#75. The Anniversary Present

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 215
- Episode: season 2, episode 3
- Air date: Sept. 29, 1952

In a classic early episode, Ricky hopes to get a good deal on a string of pearls for Lucy's anniversary present, so he secretly meets with a neighbor who can give him a jewelry store discount. Lucy notices his secretive behavior and assumes the two are having an affair. Ethel and Lucy dress up as painters and venture onto the scaffold to peek into the neighbor's apartment, and Lucy gets a bucket of paint dumped on her head.

#73. The Black Eye (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 222
- Episode: season 2, episode 20
- Air date: March 9, 1953

In a classic comedy of errors, a household mishap leaves Lucy with a black eye, and the Mertzes are convinced Ricky intentionally hit her. Fred means to send Lucy flowers under Ricky's name, in a futile attempt to patch up their marriage, but accidentally signs his own name. Ethel gets the wrong idea and smacks Fred. By the end of the episode, the four friends have resolved the misunderstanding but all sport black eyes.

#73. The Million Dollar Idea (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 222
- Episode: season 3, episode 13
- Air date: Jan. 11, 1954

In "The Million Dollar Idea," Lucy and Ethel concoct a get-rich-quick scheme, and begin selling a homemade salad dressing based on Lucy's Aunt Martha's recipe. After several orders begin pouring in, the women realize they'd actually be losing money on the product, and have to "unsell" it before they go into debt.

#72. Sales Resistance

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 223
- Episode: season 2, episode 17
- Air date: Jan. 26, 1953

In one of the most memorable episodes of the series, Ricky scolds Lucy for falling victim to an ad on TV and making a frivolous purchase. He condescendingly explains how to resist a salesman and insists on returning the item, but then later returns to find that Lucy has yet again been tricked into buying a "Handy Dandy" vacuum cleaner. Best of all, when she and Ethel return from the movies, they find their husbands have been sucked into the sales scheme instead—Ricky has bought a "Handy Dandy" refrigerator and penny-pinching Fred, a washing machine.

#71. Ricky Thinks He's Going Bald

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 248
- Episode: season 1, episode 34
- Air date: June 2, 1952

Ricky is convinced he's going bald, so Lucy tries a number of unorthodox treatments to convince him that the products aren't worth the worry over his hair. They go through a series of "torture treatments," including a bizarre anti-balding machine. The devices were inspired by actual products used by the show's producer after his own struggles with a receding hairline.

#70. The Ballet

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 249
- Episode: season 1, episode 19
- Air date: Feb. 18, 1952

Incorporating the "Slowly I Turned" burlesque routine that was made popular by the Three Stooges, "The Ballet" sees Lucy attempt to learn both ballet and burlesque dancing so that she can perform in Ricky's show. An utter failure at both forms of dance, Lucy sneaks on stage at the club anyway, embarrassing Ricky and ruining the performance.

#69. New Neighbors

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 267
- Episode: season 1, episode 21
- Air date: March 3, 1952

Lucy goes snooping on the new neighbors to catch a glimpse of their furniture and overhears them reciting lines for an upcoming TV show. She immediately jumps to the conclusion that the new neighbors are foreign spies plotting a murder.

#68. The Seance

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 307
- Episode: season 1, episode 7
- Air date: Nov. 26, 1951

Fascinated by daily horoscopes, Lucy encourages Ricky to say no to all business commitments for the day because that's what his horoscope advises. When Lucy declines an offer from producer Mr. Merriweather on behalf of Ricky, she bonds with him over their shared love of the occult.

#67. Ricky's European Booking

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 155
- Episode: season 5, episode 10
- Air date: Dec. 12, 1955

Ricky is offered a fantastic gig in Europe, but he can't afford to take Lucy along. So Lucy and Ethel concoct a plan to raise the money by raffling off a TV set for what they believe is a fake charity. The charity ends up being real and the friends have to hand over their money, but the band ends up sailing to Europe for free—meaning Lucy and Ethel can travel, too.

#66. Getting Ready

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 166
- Episode: season 4, episode 11
- Air date: Dec. 13, 1954

Ricky has an acting role in a movie in California, so the gang decides to take a road trip to Hollywood. Everyone thinks Fred secures the perfect vehicle until they see it's an old Cadillac convertible from the 1920s that can barely make it out of New York. Despite their best efforts, no one can dispose of the car and Fred is out of his money.

#65. Little Ricky Gets a Dog

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 172
- Episode: season 6, episode 14
- Air date: Jan. 21, 1957

In another favorite season six episode, Little Ricky brings home a noisy puppy, causing a tenant to complain to Fred and demand the dog is taken away. The Ricardos can't bring themselves to part with the dog, and Lucy tries to hide him under a sombrero. Fred finally stands up for his friends and allows the puppy to stay.

#64. Lucy Goes to Monte Carlo

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 174
- Episode: season 5, episode 25
- Air date: May 7, 1956

Lucy wins big money when she and Ethel venture to a casino in Monte Carlo. Ricky finds the hidden cash and thinks Fred has been skimming Ricky's concert earnings. A fight ensues.

#63. Ricky's Movie Offer

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 176
- Episode: season 4, episode 6
- Air date: Nov. 8, 1954

A talent scout comes to the Ricardos' apartment to audition Ricky for a movie. Lucy unintentionally attacks the scout while vying for his attention.

#61. Lucy Wants to Move to the Country (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 177
- Episode: season 6, episode 15
- Air date: Jan. 28, 1957

After a relaxing weekend in Connecticut, Lucy decides she wants to move to the country. Ricky puts down a deposit on a house in Westport, Connecticut, but Lucy changes her mind soon after. Lucy, Ethel, and Fred scheme to get Ricky's deposit back.

#61. Lucy in the Swiss Alps (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 177
- Episode: season 5, episode 21
- Air date: March 26, 1956

The Ricardos and the Mertzes become stranded in a small cabin in the Swiss Alps while on vacation. Thinking the end is near, the four start confessing secrets to each other to pass the time. Thankfully, a band of Swiss musicians stumbles across their cabin, and Ricky hires them in case his band doesn't make it to the correct city in time.

#60. Lucy and the Loving Cup

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 178
- Episode: season 6, episode 12
- Air date: Jan. 7, 1957

Ricky is presenting a loving cup trophy to a jockey, and he makes fun of the new hat Lucy bought for the ceremony. In a smart-alec move, Lucy puts the cup on top of her head, but it gets stuck, and she has to present the trophy to the athlete. This episode is referenced in season one, episode five of "The Vampire Diaries" when Stefan mentions it's his favorite episode of "I Love Lucy."

#59. Mr. and Mrs. T.V. Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 181
- Episode: season 4, episode 24
- Air date: Nov. 1, 1954

When this episode, which sees Lucy and Ricky co-host a morning talk show for Phipps Department Store, originally aired in November 1954, it was preempted on many stations by a Republican Party program. As a result, it was re-aired in April 1955 so that all audiences could see it, with new scenes that framed the storyline as a flashback.

#58. Ricky Loses His Temper

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 183
- Episode: season 3, episode 19
- Air date: Feb. 22, 1954

Ricky is tired of Lucy constantly buying new hats, and Lucy is fed up with Ricky's temper. The couple makes a bet with each other over who can avoid their bad habits longer. The next day, when Lucy goes to return her new hat, she can't resist buying another one that's on sale. She resolves to make Ricky lose his temper before the hat is delivered so she can still win the bet. Ricky ends up calling off the bet, but not before Lucy can sabotage herself.

#57. Country Club Dance

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 189
- Episode: season 6, episode 25
- Air date: April 22, 1957

Lucy and Ethel get jealous after Ricky and Fred dance with a woman named Diana too frequently at a club event. They vow to look their best at the next event, and the men eventually admit Diana is too young for them.

#56. Lucy Raises Chickens

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 192
- Episode: season 6, episode 19
- Air date: March 4, 1957

The Ricardos attempt to earn more money by raising chickens while they're living in Connecticut. They recruit the Mertzes to help, and Lucy and Ethel buy 500 chicks before Fred can finish the coop. The baby chicks end up roaming all over the house, just as the editors from House and Garden magazine arrive to interview the Ricardos.

#55. Lucy Meets Orson Welles

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 194
- Episode: season 6, episode 3
- Air date: Oct. 15, 1956

Orson Welles asks Lucy to assist him in a project in this iconic episode. She eagerly agrees, thinking they'll be performing Shakespeare. Lucy ends up assisting Welles in his magic show, levitating while reciting lines from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Actress Ellen Corby plays her drama teacher. Welles was reportedly not the best houseguest in real life, overstaying his welcome during his stay with Arnaz and Ball.

#54. The Dancing Star

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 196
- Episode: season 4, episode 27
- Air date: May 2, 1955

Lucy hatches a plan to dance with Van Johnson after bragging to a friend that she's chummy with many celebrities in Hollywood. She does so well during the first dance that Van later asks her to stand-in for his sick dance partner. Although Lucy gets stage fright, she overcomes it and does a wonderful job.

#52. No Children Allowed (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 197
- Episode: season 2, episode 22
- Air date: April 20, 1953

A tenant in Fred and Ethel's building threatens to move out when Little Ricky spends all night crying. Ethel stands up for her friends, and the Ricardos stay.

#52. The Star Upstairs (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 197
- Episode: season 4, episode 25
- Air date: April 18, 1955

Lucy disguises herself as a bellboy in order to see Cornel Wilde after learning he is staying in the suite above the Ricardos. The ruse works, but getting out isn't so simple.

#51. Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 207
- Episode: season 3, episode 3
- Air date: Oct. 19, 1953

Lucy and Ethel unknowingly purchase the same dress for their women's club event. When the friends find out, they each agree to take the dress back. Neither woman returns the dress, and the pair ends up fighting during their performance of "Friendship." Ball and Vance remained good friends long after the series ended, lending even more genuine comedy to the scene.

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#50. The Tour

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 211
- Episode: season 4, episode 30
- Air date: May 30, 1955

Lucy and Ethel embark on a sightseeing bus tour of Los Angeles but abandon the group to steal a souvenir grapefruit from Richard Widmark's backyard. Lucy gets trapped in Widmark's backyard and attempts to escape just as he and Ricky return from lunch. Thankfully, when she is discovered trespassing, Widmark is a gentleman and even autographs her grapefruit.

#49. The Diner

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 212
- Episode: season 3, episode 27
- Air date: April 26, 1954

The Ricardos and the Mertzes go into business together and buy a diner. Soon after opening, Fred and Ethel begin to feel as if they're doing most of the work while Lucy and Ricky are glorified hostesses. They gladly sell the restaurant back to the original owner when he expresses nostalgia over the place.

#48. Lucy Changes Her Mind

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 222
- Episode: season 2, episode 21
- Air date: March 30, 1953

When Ricky grows tired of Lucy constantly changing her mind, he challenges her to finish everything she starts. Ever competitive, she takes this challenge to the extreme and decides to finish an old letter to an ex-boyfriend, hoping to incite jealousy in her husband.

#47. The Fashion Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 234
- Episode: season 4, episode 19
- Air date: Feb. 28, 1955

Lucy blows her budget on a designer dress in order to participate in an upcoming charity fashion show. Scared to tell Ricky how much she spent, she sits outside too long and gets terribly sunburnt before the show. The designer then asks her to wear a tweed suit in the show, on the condition that she'll get her expensive dress for free.

#46. Ricky Asks for a Raise

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 235
- Episode: season 1, episode 35
- Air date: June 9, 1952

Ricky loses his job after asking for a raise, and Lucy schemes to show his boss how popular he truly is. She makes a series of fake reservations at the Tropicana so no one shows up for a big performance.

#45. Redecorating

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 240
- Episode: season 2, episode 8
- Air date: Nov. 24, 1952

Lucy and Ethel enter a contest to win five rooms worth of furniture. She gets a call saying she won, so she sells her old furniture to a dealer—but it turns out she was pranked.

#44. The Gossip

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 262
- Episode: season 1, episode 24
- Air date: March 24, 1952

Ricky gets tired of Lucy's constant gossiping, but Lucy says the men gossip just as much as she and Ethel. The husbands bet the wives breakfast in bed for a month that they can go longer without gossiping.

#43. Men Are Messy

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 282
- Episode: season 1, episode 8
- Air date: Dec. 3, 1951

Lucy gets fed up with Ricky's sloppiness. She divides the apartment in half to prove her point, and to minimize her cleaning. Lucy's plan goes awry when a photographer comes to take photos for a home magazine. The comical apartment dividing scene is referenced in the film "Thick as Thieves," in an episode of the "Jamie Foxx Show," and on "The Simpsons."

#42. Lucy Is Enceinte

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 287
- Episode: season 2, episode 10
- Air date: Dec. 8, 1952

In "Lucy is Enceinte," Lucy finds out she's pregnant with the couple's first child and attempts to find a special way to tell Ricky the good news. In real life, Lucille Ball was five months along with Desi Arnaz Jr. when the episode was being shot.

#41. Lucy Misses the Mertzes

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 173
- Episode: season 6, episode 17
- Air date: Feb. 11, 1957

After years of living as next door neighbors, Lucy suffers from separation anxiety in her big (and too quiet) new home. Little does she know, the Mertzes are feeling the same way and decide to come for a visit at the same time she and Ricky decide to go visit them. They just miss one another—literally and figuratively. In a sign of the times, Ethel mentions a girl using the phone at the train station to drone on about "Elvis what's-his-name."

#40. Lucy's Bicycle Trip

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 175
- Episode: season 5, episode 24
- Air date: April 23, 1956

While vacationing in Europe, the Ricardos and Mertzes go on a long bike ride to the Italian and French border. Everyone is allowed to cross except Lucy, who has forgotten her passport. Lucy finally makes it to France—after some confusion over who has the key to the suitcase containing the passport.

#39. Staten Island Ferry

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 184
- Episode: season 5, episode 12
- Air date: Jan. 2, 1956

Lucy tries to cure Fred of his seasickness before a trip. She suggests trying new seasickness pills and taking a trial run on the Staten Island Ferry. The pills work for Fred, but when Lucy feels nauseous and takes a handful herself, she falls asleep—and almost misses the deadline to apply for a passport.

#38. Lucy Meets Charles Boyer

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 185
- Episode: season 5, episode 19
- Air date: March 5, 1956

Ricky plays a trick on Lucy when she spots actor Charles Boyer. Ricky tells Charles of his wife's reputation around famous people, so Charles pretends to be someone else. He keeps up this charade until she finds out at a meeting at the Ricardos' hotel and lives up to her celebrity-crazed reputation.

#37. Bon Voyage

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 191
- Episode: season 5, episode 13
- Air date: Jan. 16, 1956

The Ricardos are departing for Europe and Lucy literally misses the boat. She also misses her second option, the pilot boat, and is forced to take the helicopter, which can only hover above the deck.

#35. The Passports (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 193
- Episode: season 5, episode 11
- Air date: Dec. 19, 1955

Lucy's chance to go on Ricky's European trip is threatened when she can't find her birth certificate, meaning she can't get a passport. Officials tell her the birth certificate requirement will be waived if she can find two people to sign affidavits swearing they have known her since birth. This turns out to be unnecessary when her mother mails her the document.

#35. The Business Manager (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 193
- Episode: season 4, episode 1
- Air date: Oct. 4, 1954

In the premiere episode for season four, Ricky hires a business manager to put Lucy on a strict household budget. Of course, Lucy finds a way to get extra cash.

#33. Lucy Does the Tango (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 195
- Episode: season 6, episode 20
- Air date: March 11, 1957

Ricky and Fred get into an argument over the raising of the chickens, because no eggs have been laid yet. To resolve the disagreement, Ethel and Lucy decide to sneak in a bunch of eggs into the hen house. Just as the ladies finish stuffing their clothes with eggs, Ricky comes home and asks to practice a tango routine with Lucy. In a fan-favorite moment, Lucy's shirt becomes full of smashed eggs while tangoing.

#33. Lucy Raises Tulips (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 195
- Episode: season 6, episode 26
- Air date: April 29, 1957

Lucy endeavors to win a garden contest in Connecticut, but she has to beat the three-time champion to do it. She accidentally mows down her competition's tulips and replaces them with wax tulips. On the day of the contest, she discovers her tulips are wax, too, a result of Ricky mowing the lawn in the dark.

#32. Home Movies

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 196
- Episode: season 3, episode 20
- Air date: March 1, 1954

The pilot for a music TV show starring Ricky is given the green light. In retaliation, Lucy, Ethel, and Fred make their own "Western-musical-drama" in the Ricardo living room. Their performance gets mixed up with Ricky's, but it works in his favor.

#30. Ethel's Birthday (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 203
- Episode: season 4, episode 8
- Air date: Nov. 29, 1954

Fred recruits Lucy's help with finding a birthday gift for Ethel. Lucy is insulted when Ethel doesn't like the gift she picks out, and she confesses to being the one who chose it, not Fred. The friends bicker and stop speaking to one another for a time. Ethel and Lucy make up after sitting next to each other during a sentimental production.

#30. California, Here We Come! (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 203
- Episode: season 4, episode 12
- Air date: Jan. 10, 1955

The Ricardos deal with drama over their impending road trip to California. Lucy's mother wants to come along, but she ends up staying behind to look after Little Ricky. After sorting everything out, the gang gets on the road and sings "California, Here I Come." Critics have since praised the move by producers to send the gang to Hollywood for a number of episodes in a bid to boost sagging ratings, which worked.

#29. The Golf Game

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 206
- Episode: season 3, episode 30
- Air date: May 17, 1954

Fred and Ricky become obsessed with golf after Lucy gifts Ricky with a set of clubs. Lucy and Ethel decide to join in the fun, but their husbands invent a set of crazy rules to keep them from enjoying the game.

#28. Lucy and Bob Hope

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 207
- Episode: season 6, episode 1
- Air date: Oct. 1, 1956

Ricky wants Bob Hope to make a guest appearance at the grand opening of his new club, but Lucy fears he won't show because of her reputation as a jinx. The episode follows Lucy as she tries to convince Bob Hope she won't cause any problems. It's the first episode in season six, which brought a number of changes to the show's dynamics, such as a much older version of Little Ricky. Ball and Hope were good friends who worked together both before and after the series.

#27. The Camping Trip

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 220
- Episode: season 2, episode 29
- Air date: June 8, 1953

Ricky takes Lucy on a camping trip with plans to deter her from joining his own summer trip. She figures out that he's deliberating ruining the experience, and vows to show what a great camper she is. Ethel helps her fake achievements at outdoor sports, but Ricky finds out.

#26. Equal Rights

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 221
- Episode: season 3, episode 4
- Air date: Oct. 26, 1953

At dinner one night, Lucy and Ethel demand to be treated like men. They're left washing dishes when their husbands take the request literally and make them pay their own checks. When they realize they don't have a ride home, they pretend to get robbed so Ricky and Fred will pick them up.

#25. Breaking the Lease

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 252
- Episode: season 1, episode 18
- Air date: Feb. 11, 1952

The Mertzes get mad at the Ricardos for making too much noise when they're trying to sleep. It escalates into a big quarrel, and the Ricardos try to break their apartment lease. Although they succeed in doing so, they ultimately decide to stay and apologize.

#24. Lucy's Schedule

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 256
- Episode: season 1, episode 33
- Air date: May 26, 1952

The new Tropicana boss is considering promoting Ricky to club manager in this popular episode. The only problem is that Lucy's habitual tardiness messes up a dinner with the boss. Ricky puts Lucy on a strict schedule to remedy the situation.

#23. Paris at Last

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 188
- Episode: season 5, episode 18
- Air date: Feb. 27, 1956

Lucy is tricked when she exchanges her American money abroad and ends up spending counterfeit francs around Paris. When she is arrested, Ricky's bilingual abilities help free her. The humorous scene where the dialogue is translated into Spanish, and then into another language, is duplicated in the "Breaking the Ice" episode of "Frasier."

#22. Lucy Learns To Drive

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 202
- Episode: season 4, episode 11
- Air date: Jan. 3, 1955

Lucy wants to learn how to drive so she can help on the road trip to California. After having one lesson, she tries to teach Ethel how to drive; Ethel wrecks the car before it has insurance.

#21. Building a Bar-B-Q

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 207
- Episode: season 6, episode 24
- Air date: April 8, 1957

Lucy wants Ricky out of her way, so she builds a barbecue in hopes that he will take over the project himself while he's on vacation. Things don't go as planned when she loses her wedding ring in the process—she later finds it in a burger that was cooked on the new grill.

#19. Off to Florida (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 213
- Episode: season 6, episode 6
- Air date: Nov. 12, 1956

When Lucy loses her and Ethel's train tickets to Florida, they catch a ride with a woman whom they suspect to be a murderer.

#19. Lucy Visits Grauman's (tie)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 213
- Episode: season 5, episode 1
- Air date: Oct. 3, 1955

Lucy wants more Hollywood souvenirs. Conveniently, she notices that John Wayne's footprints are loose when she visits Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Lucy pries the cement block out of the ground and takes it back to the hotel. The usual mayhem ensues. The follow-up episode in the series appears at #7 on this list.

#18. Ricky and Fred Are TV Fans

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 233
- Episode: season 2, episode 30
- Air date: June 22, 1953

Ethel and Lucy can't get their husbands to stop watching boxing matches on television. They decide to cut the TV antenna wires and power lines for the apartment building and are arrested. Lucy is mistaken for a notorious criminal, but the friends are released and return home just as the match is ending.

#17. The Handcuffs

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 242
- Episode: season 2, episode 4
- Air date: Oct. 6, 1952

Inspired by Fred's magic tricks, Lucy tries what she thinks are trick handcuffs, putting one end on her wrist and the other on Ricky's wrist, only to find out they actually can't be taken off until morning. Lucy whines and tries various acrobatic moves to get comfortable in order to change into her pajamas and sleep, much to Ricky's chagrin. The scene with Lucy filling in for Ricky's handcuff arm has been used on a number of different sitcoms since this episode aired, and the gag was even repeated on one of Ball's later series.

#16. Lucy Tells the Truth

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 247
- Episode: season 3, episode 6
- Air date: Nov. 9, 1953

Ricky and the Mertzes bet $100 that Lucy can't go one day without telling a lie, but they aren't ready for her candid honesty. Ricky takes her to a TV show audition and Lucy manages to stretch the truth enough to land the job and win the bet.

#15. First Stop

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 250
- Episode: season 4, episode 13
- Air date: Jan. 17, 1955

On a road trip to Ohio, the Ricardos and Mertzes aren't sure about how to find accommodations to suit everyone's tastes—or how to keep Ricky happy while he tries to get good gas mileage. Instead, they come across a questionable diner and motel, owned by a character that sends them in circles with his tricky signage. Something unique about this episode: both couples are shown at different times in the episode actually sharing a bed.

#14. Ethel's Hometown

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 259
- Episode: season 4, episode 15
- Air date: Jan. 31, 1955

The Ricardos and Mertzes visit Ethel's hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Things get awkward when it becomes clear Ethel told her friends and family she is the one on the way to make a film in Hollywood, not Ricky.

#13. Pioneer Women

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 285
- Episode: season 1, episode 25
- Air date: March 31, 1952

Lucy and Ethel think it's time they have a few modern conveniences in their homes, like dishwashers. Ricky says they have it too easy, and the Ricardos and Mertzes live without using anything invented before 1900 to see who caves first. Lucy and Ethel churn butter and bake bread (there's a famous gut-busting moment when it explodes into the kitchen) before Ricky calls off the bet.

#12. Deep Sea Fishing

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Votes: 188
- Episode: season 6, episode 7
- Air date: Nov. 19, 1956

In Miami, Lucy and Ethel make a bet with Ricky and Fred that they can catch the biggest fish. The day before the contest, each pair buys a large tuna and hides it in the hotel bathtubs to make sure they win. They catch each other and laugh it off, but the next day Ricky goes overboard, literally, and Lucy has to drag him in with her fishing line.

#11. Lucy Gets a Paris Gown

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Votes: 202
- Episode: season 5, episode 20
- Air date: March 19, 1956

After attending a fashion show, Lucy goes on a hunger strike to force Ricky into buying her a designer dress. Ricky creates an outfit out of a burlap sack and passes it off as a designer dress from Paris. Lucy and Ethel are convinced, and even wear the burlap fashion out in the Parisian streets.

#10. Return Home From Europe

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Votes: 206
- Episode: season 5, episode 26
- Air date: May 14, 1956

Lucy disguises a large block of cheese as a baby so she can smuggle it on the flight home from Europe. On the flight, she learns that children do not travel free and she will have to pay $30. To avoid paying, Ethel and Lucy attempt to eat the entire block of cheese.

#9. Lucy and Superman

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Votes: 289
- Episode: season 6, episode 13
- Air date: Jan. 14, 1957

Lucy tries to get Superman star George Reeves to attend Little Ricky's birthday party. When Reeves can't make it, Lucy dresses up as Superman and tries to leap in through a window to surprise the children. Instead, she gets stuck on a window ledge high above the city, but the real Superman shows up just in time. She reportedly didn't credit Reeves in the episode because she was worried young viewers who couldn't yet read would be disillusioned to learn the superhero was played by an actor.

#8. Lucy and Harpo Marx

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Votes: 295
- Episode: season 4, episode 28
- Air date: May 9, 1955

Lucy dresses up as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and other Hollywood stars to fool the near-sighted Carolyn Appleby into thinking she's at a party with celebrities. But when Lucy dresses up as Harpo Marx (of the Marx Brothers), he turns out to already be there, creating an iconic mirror sequence with the two comedic legends. Sadly, Marx reportedly suffered heart attacks both before and after filming the episode.

#7. Lucy and John Wayne

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Votes: 278
- Episode: season 5, episode 2
- Air date: Oct. 10, 1955

Lucy must find a way to replace John Wayne's stolen footprints from Grauman's Chinese Theatre or charges will be pressed. Ricky persuades the actor to redo his footprint in the cement, but Ethel and Lucy ruin the replacement—and Little Ricky thwarts John Wayne's third attempt.

#6. Lucy's Italian Movie

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Votes: 287
- Episode: season 5, episode 23
- Air date: April 16, 1956

Lucy is offered a part in an upcoming Italian film, which she assumes will be about the winemaking industry. She ventures out to a vineyard to make wine and stomp grapes. While working, she accidentally stomps on a woman and it turns into a full-on war in the vat, and Lucy loses her movie role because she's covered in grape stains. Behind the scenes, the production team had difficulty getting a local vineyard to donate grapes and a language barrier caused Ball to nearly being drowned in the fight scene. The famous grape-stomping scene appeared in "Pretty Woman" when Vivian watches it in the penthouse and was mentioned on an episode of "The Amazing Race" episode during a kiwi stomping scene.

#5. The Freezer

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Votes: 307
- Episode: season 1, episode 29
- Air date: April 28, 1952

Lucy and Ethel accidentally order 700 pounds of meat and try to sell it to customers at a butcher shop. They can't get rid of it, so they have a big barbecue when the furnace starts cooking the beef.

#4. The Great Train Robbery

- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- Votes: 268
- Episode: season 5, episode 5
- Air date: Oct. 31, 1955

Named after the famous 1903 film, "The Great Train Robbery" episode is a perennial favorite. A jewel thief is onboard Lucy's train bound to New York, and he manipulates her into cooperating with him by claiming he's with the FBI. When Lucy realizes her mistake she tries to pull the emergency brake, which she's already pulled multiple times throughout the journey. Chaos ensues, but Lucy winds up a heroine.

#3. Hollywood at Last

- IMDb user rating: 9.5
- Votes: 399
- Episode: season 4, episode 16
- Air date: Feb. 7, 1955

It's Lucy's first time in Hollywood, and she finds William Holden while celebrity-hunting at the Brown Derby. He gets annoyed at her gawking and Lucy leaves in a fluster, only to find William at her house later after asking Ricky to meet her. Embarrassed by her behavior at lunch, Lucy tries to disguise herself but her fake nose catches fire. Writers Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Davis, Bob Carroll Jr., Bob Schiller, and Bob Weiskopf were nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Comedy Writing in 1956 for the iconic episode. It was featured in season five, episode two of "The Ren & Stimpy Show" when Kowalski watches it on TV.

#2. Job Switching

- IMDb user rating: 9.5
- Votes: 493
- Episode: season 2, episode 1
- Air date: Sept. 15, 1952

In an attempt to prove housework isn't easy, Lucy and Ethel try to hold down a job at a candy factory while their husbands take care of the household chores. While working on the factory's conveyor belt, Lucy and Ethel struggle to keep up with the speed and have to stuff chocolates in their mouths and clothes. The hilarious factory scene is one of the most referenced in modern pop culture, making appearances in "Little Shop of Horrors," "Saturday Night Live," and the "I Love Sushi" episode of "Drake & Josh." The "Oh What a Tangled Spell She Weaves" episode of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" spoofs it, as does the "Burning Down the Bayit" episode of "Family Guy" and a 2017 episode of "The Simpsons."

#1. Lucy Does a TV Commercial

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Votes: 616
- Episode: season 1, episode 30
- Air date: May 5, 1952

Lucy stars in a medicine commercial for "Vitameatavegamin." Instead of being the picture of health, she unintentionally gets drunk off the product, which is 23 percent alcohol. In one of the most famous scenes of the show, Lucy repeatedly attempts to control her slurred speech but completely botches the advertisement. This episode has been referenced in two episodes of "Jeopardy," and clips of the commercial scene were aired during the 33rd Annual Emmy Awards and the 2009 Screen Actors Guild Awards. It's been listed on a number of fan-favorite lists, though Ball reportedly wasn't able to enjoy performing it much at the time due to her perfectionist nature (she later recognized its comedic genius). The episode ranked No. 2 on TV Guide's list of the 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.

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