August 7, 2011

I love Lucy

Even when I was forced on a TV diet, I never missed "I Love Lucy". Thanks to the re-run cycle (this show, which originally aired from 1951-1957, is the longest-running series to air continually in the Los Angeles area, more than 50 years after production ended) pretty much everyone has been exposed to Lucy's high-end savvy. Is there anyone who hasn't seen each episode at least 40 times?

You want a deeper understanding of US culture? Watch "I Love Lucy".

We have Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. And we have Fred and Ethel Mertz. Both couples live in an upper East side Brownstone in New York. The Mertzes are the landlords. And, back in the day, wives were supposed to be housewives. The happy homemaker. A nice, sweet subservient wife who can cook. Well, none of that for Lucy. She wants to break into show business at all costs. After all, her husband is a bandleader, has his own nightclub, the Tropicana. Easy, right? Well, no, not if your husband is insistent upon the aforementioned qualifications, besides the Latin Lover factoring in as well. Lucy is forced to go to any extreme on her endless quest for celebrity. In the aiding and abetting department is Ethel whilst sparing with Fred over eating habits, in-laws, money; the usual debates married couples have.

Lucy used the "with me or against me" tactics way before Bush did. She really cracks the whip when she's got a plan. With no children of her own, Ethel goes along in a sort of motherly-oh dear-hand-wringing way. Yet belts out some indelible one-liners that demonstrate keen observance and caustic wit ie "you can´t bullshit me "

It's an ensemble cast - this foursome. Truly fabulous before anyone else got fabulous. So many comedy shows must have looked to "I Love Lucy" for inspiration. Think Seinfeld, Rosanne, Sex and the City. Any great sitcom - Ricky, Lucy, Ethel and Fred are the Godparents of these shows. And giving this cradle of comedy its perpetual rock - the writers:
Madelyn Pugh Davis, Bob Carroll Jr. , Jess Oppenheimer, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf.

Fred Mertz: She said my mother looks like a weasel.
Lucy Ricardo: Ethel, apologize.
Ethel Mertz: I'm sorry your mother looks like a weasel.

Ricky Ricardo: Lucy's actin' crazy.
Fred Mertz: Crazy for Lucy, or crazy for ordinary people?

[while Lucy is trying out the new mind reading act at Ricky's club:]
Mindreader's assistant: What is your date of birth?
Lucy Ricardo: August 6th.
Mindreader's assistant: August 6th what?
Lucy Ricardo: August 6th period.

Ethel Mertz: Gee, this high altitude sure gives me an appetite.
Fred Mertz: What's your excuse at sea level?

Lucy Ricardo: We have to find Sylvia Collins a husband but where?
Ethel Mertz: I'll make the sacrifice - she can have mine.

Lucy Ricardo: This whole thing is Ricky's fault.
Ricky Ricardo: MY FAULT?
Lucy Ricardo: Yeah, if you hadn't have left Cuba to come to America, we wouldn't have gotten married and we never would've come to Switzerland in the first place.

Ricky Ricardo: [discussing operetta Lucy wrote, but does not know she wrote it] Who wrote this thing, anyway?
Lucy Ricardo: Who wrote it? Have you ever heard of George Gershwin?
Ricky Ricardo: Yeah.
Lucy Ricardo: Well alright then.

Ricky Ricardo: [sees pancakes on his plate] Hey! Tortillas!
Lucy Ricardo: [sarcastically] Yeah. I made them out of Aunt Jemima Tortilla Mix.
Ricky Ricardo: Oh, I keep forgetting here in America you call them Flap Cakes.
Lucy Ricardo: Come again?
Ricky Ricardo: Hot Jacks?
Lucy Ricardo: You were closer with tortillas. They are Hot Cakes!
Ricky Ricardo: Oh!
[tastes some]
Ricky Ricardo: No, these are Cold Cakes.

Ricky Ricardo: I can't afford it.
Lucy Ricardo: Those must have been the first English words you learned.

Lucy Ricardo: How would you feel if Fred was smoldering with jealousy?
Ethel Mertz: Fred wouldn't smolder if he banged into a blowtorch.

Lucy Ricardo: If some other woman were to take Fred away from you, you'd be singing a different tune, too.
Ethel Mertz: Yeah, "Happy Days Are Here Again".

Ethel Mertz: What are you writing about?
Lucy Ricardo: I'm writing about things I know.
Ethel Mertz: That won't be a novel that will be a short story

As a reward, in case you actually got this far, one of the funniest scenes ever. Lucy and Ethel working at a chocolate factory. In another of Lucy's "get-rich-quick" plans to buy something or other.

2 comments:

Midnight Cowgirl said...

I Love Lucy is amazing!

Veronika said...

it really is one of the best shows ever. (thanks for stopping by btw. So much out there I find it very cool when someone takes the time ;)