Why I Love Lucy

Watching “I Love Lucy” is…therapeutic…and informative…and necessary. It is difficult to pin down a single word that expresses how I feel about Lucy. I love Lucy.

I watched “Lucy” every so often as a kid. I was a bit of an old soul to begin with. My Great Aunt and I spent hours (and probably the equivalent of entire weeks) watching Shirley Temple and the Three Stooges. My father introduced me to the likes of Gene Wilder, Lily Tomlin and Lesley Anne Warren.

A few months ago, I decided to buy a season of Lucy. I’d always enjoyed watching the incredible Lucille Ball (who would have been 100 years old this year) and since the DVD set was reasonably-priced at Target, I figured, “What the hell?”

One of the best decisions of my life. Honestly.

I have since completed my Lucy collection and have all six seasons of one of the most-loved television shows to have ever graced the silver screen.

If I had a bad day or the whole day to myself, I’d pop in one of the seasons and laugh til it hurt. I laughed hysterically when Lucy got rat-ass drunk after “selling” a product for a TV commercial (“Lucy Does A TV Commercial”). When she and her lovable sidekick, Ethel (Vivian Vance) got jobs at a chocolate factory, only to be fired for hiding chocolate in their blouses, mouths and hats (“Job Switching”), I was simply amazed. I was amazed at how fresh and hilarious the scene was after 60 years.

Since the show first premiered on CBS 60 years ago, audiences all over the world have become instant fans. Generations of viewers have had the privilege of seeing one of America’s original, leading female comics court disaster and hysterical misfortune season after season, decade after decade.

When I first set out to write a blog post about Lucy, I had the intention of writing about all my favorite episodes. However, I quickly discovered that unless I wanted to list the dozens of episodes I had picked, I’d be better off simply writing about why I love Lucy.

Perhaps one of the best things about Lucy is that she broke the mold for what a stereotypical American housewife was. If she wasn’t challenging her Cuban, hot-headed husband, Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), she was writing a play where her character was a toothless gypsy (“The Operetta”). Or she was dressed in drag to hide the fact that she had accidentally glued a large beard to her face (“The Mustache”).

There were so many hilarious situations she somehow got herself into. Through all of them, we saw a woman who was not content in staying barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. In an era where the glass ceiling for most women was above a secretary’s desk, Lucy was busy trying to bust out in theatre and Hollywood. While most doting housewives were told that they should always obey their husbands, Mrs. Ricardo was playing tricks with and defying hers.

And that’s what I love about Lucy. She was her own woman. Her brilliantly-written character coupled with the legendary comical talent of Lucille Ball make her one of the best women in the world. So, Lucy Ricardo is a fictitious character. Fictitious or not, she’s impacted me and millions of others. Her comedy is hilarious and her ambition admirable. There will never be another. We all will always love Lucy.






The Not-So-Modern Housewife

I love watching television shows made decades-ago. As a member of Generation Y, it fascinates (and saddens) me to think that women were once confined to housework and jobs they had no chance to advance in. What’s most peculiar: the women look absolutely thrilled to be inferior to their sexist husbands and bosses…at least that’s what media propaganda of the time portrays.

I Love Lucy is quite interesting. Lucy may be a WASP housewife but she’s also smart and sassy. She frequently disagrees with and challenges her Hispanic husband, Ricky…in the early 1950s! Oh yes…the whole television show is essentially about her, a female, in a male-dominated industry in the middle of the 20th century.

In the episode, “Job Switching” (the famous chocolate factory episode), Lucy challenges Ricky by switching household positions – he the housewife and she the breadwinner. Scandalous. Lucy’s girlfriend, Ethel, makes the same deal with her sexist husband, Fred.

Initially, both men make fun of the women and vice versa. Both parties think the other “has it easy.” By the end of the episode, Fred and Ricky have failed at all their domestic chores and Lucy and Ethel have been fired from their first job (with plenty of laughs in between).

That’s a good display of fairness for 1950s America. In a time when women, African-Americans, homosexuals, and other minorities were shoveled to the outskirts of society and made to feel like outsiders, a show like I Love Lucy came along and contributed to changing attitudes.

My two cents while watching I Love Lucy. 😉