I Love Lucy

by admin - November 29th, 2017

By Rosemarie Murray

When people think of the 1950’s, people’s minds jump to Rock n Roll and Elvis, drive-ins, Levittowns, and more. Another thing that many people mention that still has an effect on society today as seen through its syndication and reruns is the show I Love Lucy. The unconventional style of I Love Lucy differed from other T.V. shows at the time caused it to have a long-lasting grip on society.

Lucy and Ricky

Audiences loved the show so much because it was so different from other T.V. shows from the decade. Instead of a T.V. centered around a typical, happy-go-lucky family like other situational comedies in the 1950’s, I Love Lucy from production to air. Actress Lucille Ball (who played Lucy) and her husband, Desi Arnaz (who starred as Ricky), were not afraid to tackle big topics and be different than their predecessors. For their role behind the scenes, “Lucy and Desi’s instincts for what would work on the show were unerring, although often contrary to the desires of advertisers and television executives” (235, Dunar). Ball and Arnaz were instrumental to the implentinting differences into the show, including her “demand that Arnaz play her husband on the show, and the couple’s insistence that Lucy’s pregnancy be treated openly,” (263, Dunar). And though producers were at first hesitant, they gave in and Ball and Desi’s demands were met with “warm responses from audiences . . .” (263, Dunar).

It makes sense why television executives and people from behind the scenes would be at first scared of the repercussions of I Love Lucy. The premise of the show was unlike what any had seen before. The plot was about a wife, Lucy, and her Cuban husband, Ricky, as they navigated through married life in New York city. First, it was different for the time period to have her husband be Cuban and not the stereotypical white, American male. In addition, Lucy was different from other t.v. women in that she was not the perfect housewife: Lucy wanted out of the house and to be a star, and she was not content with staying home. Also, the fact that I Love Lucy showed Ball’s real-life pregnancy and incorporated it into the t.v. show was unprecedented in t.v. history (Bor). A pregnant woman had been shown very scarcely on television before, so I Love Lucy broke ground normalizing women culture and more.

I Love Lucy set the tone for t.v. show comedies for years to come. Some of the best sit-coms and other T.V. comedies to date have been similar to I Love Lucy in that they are different and unconventional. From Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which centered around an affluent black family taking in their delinquent nephew to raise, to Modern Family, a show about the inner workings of a “modern” family that among of variety of other things includes a young stepmother married to a much older man and a gay couple raising a child. I Love Lucy, among other things, normalized family culture and being different, and set a new precedent for doing so that T.V. shows would follow for years to come.

Works Cited

“20 Things You Might Not Have Known About I Love Lucy.” Mental Floss, 15 Oct. 2017, mentalfloss.com/article/71122/20-fun-facts-about-i-love-lucy.

Bor, Stephanie E. “Lucy’s Two Babies: Framing the First Televised Depiction of Pregnancy.” Serial Soluations, Media History, 2013.

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006

2 Responses to “I Love Lucy”

  1. Meagan Sebastiao says:

    It is evident that I Love Lucy is one of the best sitcoms of all time. SO many people still continue to watch it today! I like that you mentioned the repercussions of putting a show like I Love Lucy out into the world and to anticipate the responses and opinions of the public eye. This show did stir up a lot of controversy relating to interracial families. I Love Lucy was a television show of many firsts such as showing a pregnant woman on film, and portraying a couple from two different ethnicities.

  2. Emily Clemente says:

    This post has helped me to understand why this sitcom was so popular then and now. Aside from the comic relief this sitcom provided, it also shed light on different social issues that were not commonly discussed. I think that it was a bold move of the producers to include these debatable topics in the different episodes of the sitcom and I think that this allowed for open discussion about these things. For example, the sitcom included a biracial couple, which would have been frowned upon in the 1950s; however, it is much more common to see biracial couples today.