Fans Not Quite in Love With Colorized “I Love Lucy” Christmas Special
Colorized 'I Love Lucy' Christmas episode
CBS is taking some heat from "I Love Lucy" fans for messing with perfection.
On Tuesday, the network announced it would air "The I Love Lucy Christmas Special," made up of commercial-free, back-to-back colorized episodes of the beloved show, on December 20.
The episodes picked include the show’s little-seen Christmas episode along with the fan favorite "Lucy's Italian Movie" (aka The One With the Grape-Stomping). According to CBS, each will be "colorized with a vintage look." Flashbacks in the "Christmas Episode" will remain in black-and-white to emphasize the time lapse, the network explained.
B&W 'I Love Lucy' Christmas episode
This isn't the first time CBS has tested the "I Love Lucy" colorized waters … but first, a little background on the rarely seen "Christmas Episode." It originally aired in December 1956 midway through the show's sixth and final season. However, due to concerns about the special’s long flashback sequences, it was not included in the syndication package.
In 1989, CBS execs tracked down the "lost" episode and dusted it off from the vault, airing it during a prime-time special in December. It attracted 29 million viewers. The network aired the "Christmas Episode" again in 1990 in color, keeping flashbacks in black-and-white, which was watched by 18.2 million viewers.
But that was before the Internet and social media.
The episode has since found a home on YouTube, where "Lucy" aficionados have blasted the colorization process in the comments. "I am not sure how I feel about colorization," begins one such critique by a fan called disneyparkjunkie. "While it is more interesting than the b&w version, it is still a little off. It looks so weird." That was one-upped by headly66, who got right to the point: "They look like oompa loompas."
Tuesday's announcement also prompted plenty of Twitter action, including from journalists like Salon's Dan D'Addario and the Los Angeles Times's Yvonne Villarreal.