(I suspect that this routine actually predates sitcoms. Plautus?)
You've seen it a million times. Lucy does something really, really stupid, like answering an ad to Make Big Bucks by raising alligators. She wants to keep Ricky from finding out about the three dozen baby alligators in the kitchen, so she concocts all sorts of elaborate schemes to keep him out of the kitchen. She enlists Fred and Ethel to help with the deception, even though they don't approve of (or even understand) what she is doing. The thing that makes it comedy is that Lucy is an utterly incompetent liar. She stutters, rolls her eyes, and yells "AAAAAAAAAA" a lot. Fred and Ethel can't agree on the story, even from sentence to sentence. Ricky, of course, doesn't notice a thing until the whole thing falls apart. Everything gets fixed. Ricky forgives Lucy. Fred and Ethel go home to bandage their alligator bites and fix the hole in their roof where the bowling ball went through.
This is the basic story line of every sitcom ever made. Unfortunately, it is also turning out to be the story line for the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
Georgie Bush (Lucy) wants to invade Iraq and kill the guy that tried to assassinate his father. He comes up with a cock-and-bull story to convince the American public and Congress (Ricky) that Saddam Hussein (the alligators) has <echo_chamber> Weapons of Mass Destruction</echo_chamber>. He gets Tony Blair (Ethel) and the US Press (Fred) to go along, although they don't realize what they're getting into. Lucy counts on the fact that Ricky will always love her no matter what crazy stunts she pulls; Georgie counts on the fact that the American public and Congress will still listen to what the Rove political machine says, rather than look at what is actually happening. Is this true? I'm very much afraid that it is. Tony Blair and the press are extras; any problems they have as a result of this are of no interest to Georgie & company. And the bowling ball hasn't shown up yet. There's always a bowling ball in there somewhere ...
With Ronald Reagan, we had a Western. (Hey, I liked Death Valley Days.) With Georgie Bush, we have a sitcom. Tells ya something.
(A tip of the hat to Billmon, who came up with a whole script for a more modern comedy ...)