Thursday, May 5, 2011
The Meat Freezer Routine
One of the most popular episodes of I Love Lucy was "The Freezer" (1952), in which Lucy accidentally locks herself in a walk-in meat freezer and becomes frozen stiff. This comic business did not entirely originate with Lucy. Curly Howard became frozen while locked in the back of a refrigerated ice cream wagon in the Three Stooges' Violent Is the Word for Curly (1938).
Still, it was through the influence of the I Love Lucy episode that getting trapped in a meat freezer turned into a stock sitcom premise. Nearly the same scene is played out in a Car 54, Where are You? episode called "Boom, Boom, Boom" (1962).
Writers expanded on the premise for a number of other sitcoms, including Brady Bunch ("Big Little Man," 1972), Three's Company ("Baby, It's Cold Inside, 1984), It's Garry Shandling's Show ("Go Go Goldblum,"1988), Due South ("They Eat Horses Don't They?," 1994), Kenan and Kel ("Freezer Burned,"1999), Desperate Housewives ("Into the Woods," 2007), and Trailer Park Boys ("I Fuckin' Miss Cory and Trevor," 2007).
The Brady Bunch
A frozen cod makes a funny prop in the Kenan and Kel episode.
Due South's heroes remain warm by wearing meat jackets.
A married woman falls into the embrace of a co-worker to keep warm in Desperate Housewives.
A meat robbery goes wrong results in the hapless Bubbles being locked in a freezer in the Trailer Park Boys episode.
A quirky Belgium comedy, L'Iceberg (2005), uses this incident as the jumping-off point for an entire feature. Fiona, the manager of a fast-food restaurant, accidentally locks herself in the restaurant's walk-in freezer overnight. She escapes only to find that her family didn't notice she was missing. Depressed, she looks to her near-death experience to find meaning in her life and develops a strange affection for ice and cold. One morning, she climbs into a frozen goods delivery truck and leaves home in search of an iceberg.