"I Love Lucy" episode
"Breaking the Lease"
Season 1, Episode #18
#18 in Series
Breaking the Lease
Series: I Love Lucy
Network: CBS-TV
Air date: February 11, 1952
Written by: Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Davis & Jess Oppenheimer
Guest stars: Bennett Green
Barbara Pepper
Hazel Pierce
Directed by: Marc Daniels
Production code: 1x18 / 018
Episode guide
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Episode chronology
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"Lucy Writes a Play" "The Ballet"

Breaking the Lease is the eighteenth episode of the first season of [[I Love Lucy]], also the 18th overall episode of the series. The episode, which was directed by Marc Daniels, and co-written by Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Davis and Jess Oppenheimer, first aired on CBS-TV on February 11, 1952.

"Breaking the Lease"
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Full Credits Transcripts More Images


Everyone is having fun at a mirth-filled "at home" evening with the Ricardos and Mertzes. But when the Ricardos continue singing after Fred and Ethel go back downstairs to their apartment, the Mertzes, as landlords, decide that the Ricardos' merrymaking has gone too far.


Lucy finds out Ricky needs both a ballet dancer and a burlesque comic for his new act. She first tries her hand at ballet, and while she shows clear talent in learning the ballet routine, she gets too tired and sore from getting her leg stuck in the barre and being forced by dance instructor Madame LeMond to plie 500 times. So, she decides to hire a burlesque comic to teach her the other routine. The comic teaches her the routine "Slowly I Turn," and Lucy is battered with getting hit by a fake "rock," soaked with water from a seltzer bottle, and pied in the face whenever she says the name of the comic's ex-lover, Martha. Right after being pied, Ethel calls and tells Lucy that Ricky just hired a burlesque comic, so Lucy's torment was all for naught.

The night of the show, Ethel calls Lucy again. She tells Lucy that one of the performers is sick and can't make it. "You know the routine, right?" Ethel asks. Lucy thinks Ethel means "Slowly I Turn," when, in reality, Ethel is talking about the ballet routine. Lucy rushes down to the club in her burlesque costume and can't believe her eyes when she sees the ballet dancers from Madame LeMond's studio. Not to be denied her time in the spotlight, Lucy starts performing the ballet routine, until she realizes that the song Ricky is singing in the background is the ever appropriate song "Martha." She beats the dancers and squirts them with seltzer water, until the two male dancers carry her out at the end of the song. But Lucy managed to pick up her pie on the way out, and she hits Ricky squarely in the face the final time he sings "Martha." When Lucy goes home, Ricky gets even by dousing her with a bucket of water he hid above the front door..

Did You Know?Edit


  • In this episode, as in another, you can see Lucy reading magazines with Lucy and Desi on the covers. In this episode, "Breaking the Lease," when Lucy is packing to move out after a fight with the Mertzes, on the coffee table is a magazine with Lucy and Desi on its cover. In another episode, Ricky is Jealous," Lucy is resting in a chair, being very pregnant. She is reading a magazine featuring an article listed on its cover about Lucy and Desi expecting their baby in real life. The magazine can be clearly seen.
  • When Ricky opens the door to Fred and Ethel for their final goodbye, the audience apparently starts to laugh because the light in between the door and the door frame makes it appear that Fred has a large band-aid on his forehead after getting hit by the falling light fixture the night before, but when they walk into the apartment it becomes clear that he isn't wearing one.
  • When Lucy and Ricky are preparing to move, Ricky is packing items in a large wooden barrel marked "Diversol Disinfectant", a brand which survived into the XXIst century, marketed for sanitizing winemaking equipment, among other uses.



When Fred and Ethel come upstairs to 'throw in the towel' in the lease battle; Fred has a light fixture on his head and shoulders that apparently fell on him. It was sitting in an upside down orientation; 180 degrees from what it should have been if it had actually fallen from the ceiling.

  • Throughout the series, Lucy's (allegedly) atrocious singing voice is a recurring plot point, but when she's singing with Ricky and the Mertzes (as well as in episode I Love Lucy: California, Here We Come!) her singing voice sounds fine.
  • When Lucy suggests that Ricky have his late-night rehearsal in the apartment instead of the club in order to annoy the Mertzes into breaking their lease, Ricky at first scoffs: "Honey, are you crazy? I've got a sixteen-piece band. I'll blow the roof off the joint." When Lucy counters that "It doesn't look like rain", he decides to take her suggestion. The band in the apartment, however, is missing a few from Ricky's 16 - there are thirteen - four saxes (doubling flute), 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 percussion, bass and piano - fourteen if you count the harp, which is there, but nobody plays it.
Revealing mistakes

When Fred and Ethel leave the Ricardo apartment after singing Sweet Sue, they go off in separate directions in the "hallway."

  • When the band is playing in the Ricardos' apartment, a flash can be seen from a flash photograph taken by an audience member.


Edited into


Soundtrack Credits
  • I Want A Girl (Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad)

Sung by Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley (uncredited)

  • Theme from I Love Lucy (Instrumental) - Written by Eliot Daniel, Performed by Wilbur Hatch and the Desi Arnaz Orchestra
  • Sweet Sue, Just You - Sung by Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley (uncredited)
  • El Cumbanchero - Sung by Desi Arnaz (uncredited)
  • The Mexican Hat Dance (uncredited)

Scene excerptsEdit


  • Lucy: [to Ricky] Think harder, we can be nastier than that.

  • Lucy: [Ricky wants the window closed] A little air's not going to hurt you you hot house plant.

  • Lucy: Ethel was just up here and she made me so darn mad.
  • Ricky: What now?
  • Lucy: She said they're going to hold us to our lease. We have to pay them five month's rent before we can leave. I guess we're stuck here.
  • Ricky: Well, now, that all depends.
  • Lucy: On what?
  • Ricky: On whether we can break the lease or not. We are going to become the two most unpleasant, disagreeable nasty people in the whole world.
  • Lucy: How?
  • Ricky: We'll force ourselves.

  • Ricky: I won't be home tonight. I've got to rehearse a couple of hours after the club closes.
  • Lucy: Why don't you have the rehearsal here?

Ricky Ricardo: Are you crazy? I've got a 16 piece band. I'll blow the roof off the joint.

  • Lucy: Well... It doesn't look like rain.
  • Ricky: I'll do it.

Cast (in Credits Order)Edit


Guest StarringEdit

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