"I Love Lucy" episode
"The Diet"
Season 1, Episode #3
#3 in Series
The Diet
Series: I Love Lucy
Network: CBS-TV
Air date: October 29, 1951
Written by: Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Davis, & Jess Oppenheimer
Guest stars: Marco Rizo
Directed by: Marc Daniels
Production code: 1x3 / 004
Episode guide
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Episode chronology
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"Be a Pal" "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her"
The Diet is the third episode of Season 1 of I Love Lucy, also the 3rd overall series episode. The episode, ehich was directed by Marc Daniels, and co-written by Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Davis & Jess Oppenheimer, first aired on CBS-TV on October 29, 1951.

"The Diet"
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Ricky provides an incentive for Lucy's diet by telling her she can appear in his show if she can fit into a size 12. Can Lucy resist the temptations of eating?

Plot summaryEdit

Lucy finds out that she's gained 22 pounds since she got married 10 years ago. But that doesn't stop her from wanting to be in Ricky's new show. Trying to find any excuse he can to keep Lucy out of the act, Ricky tells her that's she too fat to be in the act, since she can't fit into the size-12 costume. Lucy asks if she can do the number if she loses enough weight by Saturday night. Ricky agrees, as a way to shoo Lucy away from bothering him.

Ever determined, Lucy goes on a mission to lose 12 pounds in 5 days. She does everything from jumping rope to running laps around the apartment building to starving herself with a celery-only meal while the Mertzes and Ricky eat a delicious dinner of steak and potatoes. By Saturday, Lucy still has some weight to lose, so she rents a steam box and stays in there all day. Weak, malnourished, and dehydrated, Lucy has lost enough weight from the steam treatment in time for the number at the club.

At the Tropicana, Ricky is surprised when none other than Lucy comes out to perform during the Sally Sweet portion of the Cuban Pete number. The two dance fabulously, and Lucy does a bang-up job. Sadly, after the performance, she is laid up on a stretcher, suffering from weakness as a result of starving herself all week. Before she is wheeled away, she gives a key to Ethel and motions for Ethel to open the nearby closet door. Ethel finds out how Lucy was able to procure doing the number with Ricky- the girl who was supposed to do the Sally Sweet number is bound and gagged inside the closet.

Did You Know?Edit


  • Fred's dog Butch never appears or is mentioned again.
  • Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz perform parts of their 1950 traveling stage show in this episode. It was that stage show that made CBS want to have series starring both of them.
  • This episode is based on an episode of Ball's radio show, "My Favorite Husband" titled "Iris and Liz's Easter".


Revealing mistakes

The showbill placard Ricky brings home spells his last name with two 'c's.

Alternate VersionsEdit

During the second series, Lucille Ball took some time off after she gave birth to Desi Arnaz Jr. During this time, CBS re-ran several of the first season episodes. The re-broadcast of episode #1.03 "The Diet" on the 9th February 1953 featured a new opening "Flashback" sequence which ran for around two minutes. The flashback sequence involves Ricky, Ethel and Fred discussing the health of Lucy's new born baby. Ethel offers some homemade cookies for Lucy, but Ricky explains that Lucy is worried about her figure, and would like to go on a diet. The three then remember the last time Lucy went on a diet. This leads into the opening scene of "The Diet". This flashback scene has been restored for the 2002 DVD release of I Love Lucy.


  • Cuban Pete (1946 film) - Desi Arnaz is performing 'Cuban Pete', the song he sang in the movie and Lucille Ball is joining him.
Spoofed in
  • The Mask (1994 film) - The Mask (Jim Carrey) sings Ricky Ricardo's "Cuban Pete from this episode.


Soundtrack Credits
  • Cuban Pete - Performed by Desi Arnaz (uncredited)
  • Theme from "I Love Lucy" (Instrumental) - Written by Eliot Daniel, Performed by Wilbur Hatch and the Desi Arnaz Orchestra
  • Sally Sweet - Performed by Lucille Ball (uncredited)

Scene excerptsEdit


  • Lucy: [getting weighed] How much do I weigh?
  • Ricky: 47 pounds and stop leaning on me.

  • Ethel: What if I cried every time I put on a pound?
  • Fred: We'd be up to our ears in tears.

  • Ricky: [Lucy was hiding under the table with the dog to steal tablescraps] What do you have to say for yourself?
  • Lucy: [holds her hands up like a dog] Arf arf arf!

  • Lucy: I'm going to get rid of this fat if I have to chop it off with a cleaver.

Cast (In credits order)Edit


Guest StarringEdit

More External LinksEdit

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