most widely anticipated new series – and most embarrassing flop – of the 1986
season was this ill-conceived comedy that marked the return of Lucille Ball to
series television after a 12-years. In order to get her, ABC had to promise a
huge salary, complete creative control, no pilot or testing before preview
audiences, and a guarantee time slot on the fall schedule. What it got was an
unimaginative rehash of the Lucy shows of many years before, only this time with
a 75-year-old star.
Lucy was cast
as a free-spirited grandmother whose husband Sam had died, leaving her half
interest in M&B Hardware in South Pasadena, California. Lucy decided to move in
and help run the place, but her idea of "help" – like arranging all the
merchandise in alphabetical order on the shelves – was not appreciated by her
late husband's partner, blustery old Curtis McGibbon (played by Ms. Ball’s
longtime foil Gale Gordon, then 80). To further complicate matters, Lucy's
daughter Margo was married to Curtis’s son Ted, a law student, and all of them,
including Lucy's young grandchildren Becky and Kevin, lived in the building
together. With one bathroom. Leonard was an employee at the store.
plenty of slapstick, sight gags, and Lucy celebrity chasing, as in days of old;
Ms. Ball was in fine shape, but unfortunately the scripts were not. The series
disappeared abruptly after less than two months, never to be seen again.