Do You Love Lucy?

I just finished reading galleys for an upcoming bio of Lucille Ball (Ball of Fire, by Stefan Kanfer, due out in August). He makes a case for I Love Lucy being the most influential and popular TV series, ever. I guess he does have a case, though he never claims it was the best series ever.

I admit to being an I Love Lucy fan, maybe because I grew up on the reruns (and new episodes of The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, Leave It to Lucy, The Beverly Lucybillies . . .). I Love Lucy had a great cast—the main foursome was brilliant—and some terrific writers. I find it a fascinating, sometimes terrifying, glimpse into the 1950s, especially how dependent Lucy was on Ricky: calling him “Sir,” groveling for every cent of spending money, not allowed to get a job . . .

Lucy input? Love it? Hate it? Why?

Never watched it. I’m 48, and didn’t see the “classic” version in primetime, but the reruns were ubiquitous when I was growing up.

Slapstick ain’t my idea of comic brilliance.

No, I find her very irritating. The sound of her voice makes me cringe.

Actually, I’m not fond of slapstick, either—but the show has a lot of great old vaudeville gags and just plain funny interplay. If you’ve never watched it, what makes you think it was just slapstick? One exchange (old as the hills but still funny):

English teacher: There are two words in the English language one should never use. One is “swell,” and the other is “lousy.”
Lucy: What are they?

I may have mispoken (the horror!) – it’s more the broadness of the humor: Lucy’s mugging, that “eww” thing she does, the vaudeville gags, etc., in addition to the actual slapstick. Obviously it’s not humany possible not to have seen Lucy in action – I just have never found her funny.

(Gad, this makes me sound like the most dreadful snob, doesn’t it? I wish I could deny that I am. :wink: )

I have loved Lucy for a long long time. Sometimes when I am in a slum, I watch a bunch of reruns and I will always laugh, no matter how many times I’ve seen an episode. While I’m not even really into sitcoms, I find many of them derivative of Lucy and often lift directly from Lucy episodes. Some borrow jokes, some borrow slapstick, some borrow storylines. Sometimes I’m not even certain it’s intentional – I Love Lucy is probably the best blueprint for writers to use. That said I’ll glady take a rerun of I Love Lucy most days over any new sitcoms, save for ones in which stories borrow from personal lives (Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne), the absurdist (Seinfeld), cartoons (Simpsons, etc.), or Will & Grace, which is probably the most efficiently derivative but regardless, one of the most well written current sitcoms.

I used to watch I Love Lucy in reruns every night on Nick at Night, loved it :slight_smile: I also watched the newer one that was in color, I think it was called The Lucy Show with that guy who used to play the brother of the old Mr. Wilson on *Dennis the Mennace * as Mr. Moony. Anyone remember that one?:confused:

I like I Love Lucy. It’s cast was great. Lucy seemed to get progressively worse with each series.

Favorite scenes:

  1. The mirror image “dance” with Harpo Marx.
  2. Then Lucy’s long fake nose caught on fire and she dunked it in the coffee. (I have read that that was not scripted.)
  3. the grape stomping

With ordinary comics, those scenes might not have been particularly memorable. But Lucile Ball was a comic genius!

(Normally I don’t like slapstick either.)

OESGal, if I remember correctly, Mr. Mooney was played by Gale Gordon. He was known for his extraordinarily precise diction.

I can remember when “I Love Lucy” was on primetime. Then again, I can remember going out with my father and coming home with my mother.

While the show seemed funny to me as a child, its dated antics are a bit more difficult to appreciate as an adult. That said, Lucielle Ball deserves great praise for breaking a lot of ground in Hollyweird. Consider these facts:

A female comedienne having her own eponymous show.

Having that show on prime time television, in the 1960s.

Being in an (essentially) inter-racial marriage (for those times).

Playing herself as opposed to assuming a character role.

Successfully bridging vaudeville into television.
Any of these individually would represent significant achievements in their time. She did them all, and without a stunning figure, sonorous voice or exceptional grace. She had pretty good delivery, a well developed sense of comedic timing and a fairly decent rubber face. All of which she milked like the last cow on the farm.

Like her or not, I am obliged to have a deep respect for the path she blazed through an extremely chauvinistic industry during a very conservative era. She is an unlikely but worthy heroine.

Well, it can’t be that bad a slum, if it has a teevee . . .

Zenster, you’re right, all the networks gave her major grief about having a Cuban husband on TV; the Arnazes wound up having to pay for a lot of the show themselves—which worked out to their advantage in the end.

According to this new book, Zoe, the putty nose was very carefully consrtructed to only burn at the tip and Lucy was scared to death. What was off the cuff was her dipping the nose into her tea; the script had her just pulling it off.

Hated her and the show. The voices were irritating, slapstick “comedy” just not funny. Never voluntarily watched the show but was subjected to it enough times to hate everything about it.

I love Ricky. I like to watch I Love Lucy reruns not to see Lucy get into some ridiculous mess, but to see how Ricky reacts to it. Best of all are the episodes where Ricky (usually with Fred as his accomplice) turns the tables on Lucy with some elaborate scheme of his own. I’ve heard some not-so-nice things about Desi Arnaz’s behavior and personality offscreen, but as Ricky Ricardo his charm completely won me over.

I guess that’s why they make chocolate AND vanilla!
I hated “Ricky” almost as much as Lucy. I found his character to be an irritating stereotype. Ugh!

Hated it and still do.

Like the OP said, she was a classic stereotypical housewife of the time, with no autonomy. It just grates on my nerves.

That said, I do like Lucille Ball. Especially in her movies where she was young and you realize, “Hey, she was a BABE!”

But I have always thought that “Maude” was direct antithesis of Lucy’s character.

Loved her and her show and in fact named my Great Dane after her. :slight_smile:

Haven’t watched the show in a while, but I definitely enjoyed it when I did and respect its place in television history.

I love a few of the individual bits, but not the series as a whole.

That said, I’ve come to appreciate that Lucy and Ricky had a wonderful way of gently mocking each other that seemed perfectly natural and unforced. Whether it was the idea of the writers or they just picked up on the way they interacted in real life, I have no idea. But there was a chemistry between them rarely seen in TV.

Yeah, despite the twin beds, you could really believe Lucy and Ricky had sex.

Fred and Ethel, on the other hand . . .