14 September 2010

Lucy, you gotta lotta splainin ta do!

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie

Day 03 — Your favorite television program

Day 04 — Your favorite book

Day 05 — Your favorite quote

Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy

Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy

Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fictional book
Day 15 — A fanfic
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy
My favorite television show is the classic sitcom I Love Lucy. It ran from 1951 to 1957 with six seasons and has never been taken off the air. It's probably safe to say that it's the most famous television show of all time and  it influenced literally every other sitcom to ever exist since.   
As I'm sure most people know, it revolved around Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball), her bandleader husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz), and their friends  Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley and Vivian Vance).  Lucy is desperate for her chance to get into show business, but Ricky, who knows the difficulties of the business wants nothing more than for Lucy to stay home and be a normal housewife. Lucy is convinced that she can be a great star, but her only talent seems to be getting herself into loads of trouble. Somehow though, she always gets her way out of it.
What was  amazing about I Love Lucy was how the writers could take a normal everyday problem and somehow manage to have it lead to some outrageous adventure. For example, in the most famous episode, Ricky and Fred are convinced that if a woman knew how difficult it was to make money, they would be more careful about spending it so quickly. This leads to a place-switching bet. Lucy and Ethel go to work and Fred and Ricky stay home and clean the house. As it turns out, the only job the girls can get is at a candy factory, wrapping the candy as it goes past on a conveyor belt. In true I Love Lucy fashion, the conveyor belt moves too fast and Lucy and Ethel can't keep up. So they literally stuff themselves with candy- down their shirts, up in their hats, and in their mouths. The supervisor is pleased and famously shouts to the belt operator to "Speed it up!"
Lucille Ball produced the show and had a big hand in the Lucy character.  She wanted Lucy to be somebody that people could relate to. So Lucy's problems (an overdrawn bank account for example) and the things she wanted (a new hat or a new dress) weren't too far from the things that most American women in the 1950s wanted. That's why Ricky Ricardo wasn't all that famous- people could believe that the Ricardos just didn't have enough money for that new electric washing machine. 
Pretty much any celebrity who was anyone was on an episode of I Love Lucy. Lucy nagged John Wayne for his footprints, threw a pie in William Holden's face at the Brown Derby, danced with Van Johnson, and played Harpo Marx's mirror image. 
Of course what really made the show work was the cast itself. They worked together perfectly, and  although there was quite a large amount of backstage drama, they always managed to pull it together and give a great show every week. They always stayed professional and never let any personal demons get in the way of what they knew was really important- the show. Although they may not have liked each other sometimes, there was always professional admiration and respect between the four principles. It's as if they knew that they were all a part of something much bigger than they were and their problems didn't matter as much as the show. 
I'm quite sure I've seen every episode of I Love Lucy and it's never failed to make me laugh. No matter how many times I've seen my favorite episodes, it's still funny to me every time. I must have seen Lucy advertise Vitameatavegamin at least fifteen times, and I still laugh like I've never seen it before. 

 I can't think of any show that has lasted as long as I Love Lucy. Everyone recognizes it, no matter how old they are, no matter if they have ever even watched it. It's been spoofed and has been straight-up ripped off on other shows. I don't think that it's an exaggeration to say that it's the most famous, recognizable and important television show in the history of television shows.  

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