For many, WandaVision has awakened early sitcom nostalgia. Those of us who grew up with Nick at Nite shows like I Love Lucy, Bewitched and The Dick Van Dyke Show recognize the style WandaVision is using to tell the audience that while things seem well, they actually are not. It’s a clever way of taking something a lot of us know so well and tweaking it slightly to underscore the potential danger Wanda Maximoff is in.
TV sitcoms would not be what they were today if it weren’t for I Love Lucy. Starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, I Love Lucy is a pop culture juggernaut.
And while there’s a lot to dive into and dissect from the latest from the MCU, we can take the time to pay homage to one of the shows the first two episodes of WandaVision are clearly referencing. If watching WandaVision has got you craving some I Love Lucy episodes, we’ve got some suggestions for you to stream.
1. “Lucy’s Schedule”
In Episode 1 of WandaVision, there’s a mystery heart on the calendar that neither Wanda nor Vision remember what it’s for. Wanda assumes it’s a reminder of their anniversary, while Vision figures out that it was shorthand for his boss, Mr. Hart, coming to dinner. The boss and his wife coming to dinner to gauge the husband’s management potential is the premise of a Season 1 episode of I Love Lucy called “Lucy’s Schedule.”
Ricky’s boss, Mr. Littlefield, invites them to dinner first, and Lucy accidentally makes her and Ricky an hour late (she literally turned the clock backward to get an extra hour), so Lucy and Ricky are positively starving when they arrive. Similarly, Mrs. Hart on WandaVision nearly faints because she’s so hungry while waiting for the Visions to get dinner together… but at least she doesn’t get a wax fruit stuck to her mouth like Lucy does in this episode. Because Lucy is constantly running late, Ricky puts her on a strict schedule where every minute of every day must be accounted for.
Lucy and Ricky get one more chance to impress the Littlefields when Ricky invites them to have dinner at their place. However, at the encouragement of Mrs. Littlefield who calls Lucy a “Benedict Arnold for the housewives of America” (since Lucy’s schedule is working so well), Lucy decides to make the dinner as hectic as possible.
The guests are rushed into their seats, bowls and plates of food disappear as soon as they touch the table, and Ethel even chucks hot biscuits out the kitchen window to Lucy with a baseball mitt. You know, for efficiency. It’s great physical comedy much like the kind WandaVision employs in its own dinner scene.
2. “Job Switching”
“Job Switching” is another episode where dinner goes awry, but this time it’s because the husbands and wives have switched jobs. The husbands do housework while the wives go out and get jobs. While WandaVision didn’t employ this exact storyline, the scene where Ricky and Fred prepare dinner goes hilariously wrong, much like the chaos that ensues in WandaVision’s kitchen in Episode 1.
There are a couple of cringey lines about gender roles that don’t go over well today (this was filmed in the 50s after all), but once you get through it, you get to the hilarious physical comedy of the men cooking arroz con pollo for dinner and the women going to work at the chocolate factory.
Like WandaVision’s lobsters that fly out the window, Ricky’s chickens almost fly the coop entirely as they explode from the pressure cooker and get stuck on the ceiling. Meanwhile, Lucy and Ethel have a difficult time keeping up with the conveyer belt when they’re wrapping chocolates, which is, other than the Vitameatavegamin commercial, the most famous I Love Lucy scene.
3. “Lucy Meets Orson Welles”
Wanda and Vision do a magic act for charity in the show’s second episode. The magic can, of course, be very impressive if Wanda decides to use her powers, but all she wants to do is fit in. So, they go with the disappearing person in the cabinet illusion, and while everything goes well in rehearsal, there are several malfunctions at the actual charity event thanks to Vision getting chewing gum stuck in his inner parts.
Like Wanda, Lucy also is an assistant in a magic act, but for Orson Welles. Yes, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time also dabbled in illusions. It wouldn’t be an I Love Lucy episode without a misunderstanding that leads to hijinks, and this Season 6 episode has just that. Lucy believes Orson Welles is performing Shakespeare at the charity event for which he needs a co-star, which leads to Lucy reciting Juliet’s balcony scene while being suspended between two brooms. Now, the stereotypical Asian music that accompanies the act is not great, as well as Lucy’s stage name of “Loo-See,” but the levitating illusion is still impressive.
4. “Lucy Gets Chummy with the Neighbors”
In WandaVision’s second episode, Wanda just wants them to fit in and get along with everyone, so she makes an effort to make a good impression on Dottie, the HBIC who has power over the things that matter in the community, like getting into the country club. At the same time, Wanda is still getting to know Agnes, her next-door neighbor played sublimely by Kathryn Hahn. Agnes does not yet know the truth about Wanda and Vision, but at the same time, we still haven’t seen Ralph, Agnes’ husband.
In Season 6 of I Love Lucy, the Ricardos move to the country, and their new neighbors are Ralph and Betty Ramsey. Little Ricky gets along with their little boy, and Lucy quickly befriends Betty. Lucy wants to buy a couple pieces of furniture for their new place, and because Betty thinks Ricky is a rich celebrity, she encourages Lucy to redecorate the whole house, leading Lucy to spend thousands of dollars. The Ramseys have deep connections in the community, including the country club, so Lucy doesn’t want to accidentally insult them.
Mary Jane Croft, the actress who plays Betty Ramsey, has a great comedic voice, so if Kathryn Hahn studied her, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.
5. Bonus: “Hollywood Anniversary”
While the above entries can be found streaming on Hulu or CBS All-Access, this episode can only be found if you have the DVDs or happen to catch it on cable. In this Season 3 episode, Ricky forgets when his wedding anniversary is and goes to great lengths to figure it out before Lucy suspects. The opening scene of WandaVision Episode 1 definitely has similar vibes with the characters trying to figure out the mystery on their calendar.
WandaVision is streaming now on Disney+. I Love Lucy is streaming on Hulu and CBS All-Access.