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TV's favorite redhead is in fine form here, but this collection doesn't have the punch of other Lucy comedy offerings....
Paramount / 612 Minutes / 1967-1968 / Unrated / Street Date: October 9, 2012
I Love Lucy has had little trouble maintaining a continued influence on comedy-loving TV viewers, but Lucille Ball's subsequent boob tube offerings are perhaps less continuously influential in our ever-evolving pop culture. Look at The Lucy Show on this TV-on-DVD set - it seems like a skit show in a state of permanent flux: compared to its first season, this go-round has a completely different basic plot setup, and after this season, Ball would reconfigure things into a series called Here's Lucy, again altering the very bedrock of her on-screen status.
Part of the reason The Lucy Show: The Sixth and Final Season doesn't feel as often fresh and rewarding as I Love Lucy is that it's less a story-fueled sitcom than a skit show, a collection of extended bits with frequent celebrity cameos. Ball is a natural, of course, so there's quite a lot of talent to appreciate here - and she sure knows how to surround herself with good performers - but everything feels distant and overly contrived on this set: it's pretty funny, but nowhere near as fun as it should be.
Vivian Vance (another I Love Lucy alum) is no longer Lucy's BFF and constant foil (she shows up a couple times, but isn't a constant mainstay) - no, this one's just about Lucy and her zany life living in southern California and working for a dumb banker (Gale Gordon). And there really isn't much to mention here in terms of plot development or overall season-long story arcs: The Lucy Show loves to showcase its guest stars with long, extended skits. Joan Crawford is this season's most notorious cameo (according to legend, she and Ball did not get along), but folks like Buddy Hackett, Robert Goulet, and Jackie Coogan stop by for a bit. It's a testament to Lucille Ball's prowess as comedienne and show producer, but The Lucy Show doesn't have the resonance it should.