I Love Lucy

Season 4 Episode 9

Ethel's Birthday

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 29, 1954 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Despite Ricky's qualms, Lucy decides to help Fred pick out a birthday present for Ethel. The present turns out to be toreador pants, which Ethel decides are not only unflattering but "unfitting." Relations between the two women become strained almost to the shattering point.

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    Featured Episode Clip

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (2)

      • William Frawley's alcoholism was well known and would occasionally cause hand tremors.  The scene where he sneaks back to discuss Ethel's present is one of those occasions.  You see his hands shaking badly as he pulls money out of his wallet to give to Lucy.

      • "Lucy's Last Birthday," "Too Many Crooks," and "Ethel's Birthday" are the only episodes of the series that prominently feature or mention the birthdays of the main characters Lucy, Fred and Ethel, respectively. Alas, there isn't an episode centered around Ricky's birthday.

    • QUOTES (9)

      • Fred: Well, this is a switch. You open your present and find out that you don't like it. Now you can exchange it before I even give it to ya.

      • (referring to the gift Fred bought Ethel
        Lucy: I think Fred made a very good choice.
        Ethel: Oh, don't try to defend him, Lucy. Let's face it. All of his taste is in his mouth.

      • (After seeing the hostess pants Lucy picked out)
        Lucy: I saw them last month in Harper's Bazaar.
        Ethel: Well, they're certainly bizarre!

      • Ricky: What birthday is it, Ethel? (Ethel doesn't answer). Ethel, what birthday is it?
        Ethel: Oh, it's mine.

      • Lucy: I just hope he'll give you something nicer than he gave you last year.
        Ethel: Wasn't that awful? You know I never did figure out what that was supposed to be.
        Lucy: Neither did I. It was too long to be a stole and too short to be a volleyball net.

      • Ethel: I'd rather have a terrible present than no present at all.
        Lucy: You're right. It's not the present that counts, it's the lack of thought behind it.

      • Lucy: How about that gold lame' jacket of yours?
        Ethel: You mean that green lame' jacket of mine?

      • Lucy: Happy birthday, Mrs. Mertz, and I hope you live another seventy-five years!

      • Ethel: She called me a hippopotamus.
        Lucy: I did not. I said you're a little hippy. On second thought, you do have the biggest potamus I've ever seen.

    • NOTES (1)

      • It is interesting to note that every principal character has a birthday during the series except for Ricky: Ethel's is in this episode, Fred's was in episode #75, and Lucy's was in episode #60.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)