More than a half century after its debut, I Love Lucy still reigns as the most important -- and perhaps the funniest -- situation comedy ever to grace the airwaves. Aside from being a perfect vehicle for the sheer comic genius of Lucille Ball, the show firmly established the sitcom template that remains the television standard to this day. I Love Lucy: Season 1, Vol. 1 starts at the beginning with the never-aired pilot, financed by Lucy and husband/partner Desi Arnaz to prove to CBS that their oddball alter-ego screen marriage as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo could successfully anchor a weekly comedy series. The pilot's typical I Love Lucy plot has Lucy butting in on Ricky's TV audition, and it closed the deal, setting the I Love Lucy juggernaut on its six-year run. Also included on this disc are the first three episodes that aired in October 1951. The series premiere, "The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub," stages a small battle of the sexes, as Lucy and Ethel disagree with Ricky and Fred on how best to celebrate the Mertzes' wedding anniversary. In "Be a Pal," Lucy fears Ricky is losing interest in her and does her all, including a first-rate Carmen Miranda impersonation, to rekindle his passion. And in "The Diet," Lucy tries to shed a few so that she can appear in one of Ricky's shows. The key elements of the series' winning formula are already in place here: Fred and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance and William Frawley) as the Ricardos' best friends; Ricky's musical numbers; and Lucy's obsession with getting into show business like her bandleader husband -- whose efforts to put the kibosh on every scheme are quaintly patronizing. Indeed, while many aspects of the Lucy-the-housekeeper/Ricky-the-breadwinner marriage seem old-fashioned by modern standards (a sex-role issue common to most sitcoms of the '50s and '60s), the vitality and enthusiasm of Lucy Ricardo distinguishes her from her passive, pragmatic sitcom-wife contemporaries. The big-dreaming Lucy is the quintessential sitcom protagonist, and she's fully drawn from the start. These early episodes provide plenty of laughs and promise bigger laughs to come. The DVD includes flubs, special footage, a behind-the-scenes audio featurette, and radio shows.