Year of Revisiting #14 – I Love Lucy
“Being his girl Friday’s not so bad. It’s what you have to go through Saturday and Sunday.”
I finally finished watching the last 3 seasons of I Love Lucy when the show became The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. The last time I consumed this much Lucy I was a teacher grading papers for about a million hours per week and needing something enjoyable and undemanding in the background. For whatever reason my DVD player at the time wouldn’t play the Comedy Hour episodes properly, so I never got to the end.
I love this show. As a kid, I wanted to live on the world of I Love Lucy. I literally cried when I found out Lucy and Desi in real life ended up divorcing. Their bond seems to have remained even after their divorce, though. I remember seeing footage of Desi, much older, singing the theme song on some late night talk show. I’ve searched for the video repeatedly and can’t find it, but I’m pretty sure this is the audio.
Some 25 years later, I find I Love Lucy just as entertaining as I did when I was young. I’ve laughed at loud at this show more than any other.
Of course, Lucy is a product of its time. In “Lucy Wants a Career,” Lucy tries to get a job in show business as a “girl Friday” and, to put off her younger, prettier competitors, she makes up stories about how fresh and forward the boss is. Fifty years later, this description of workplace sexual harassment remains startling … and all too current.
Also, for a bit, I was taken aback at how mean and sometimes truly awful Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel are to each other; in some episodes, they lie, connive, and backstab with abandon. Yet they always make up in the end. And as I watched episode after episode, I began to see this as hopeful: people can be truly terrible to each other and still end up as friends.
It also took me years to read my last Jane Austen novel, Mansfield Park, because I didn’t want to be done with Jane. I wanted there always to be more to discover. But as revisiting all these things I love has shown me, just because I’ve seen everything doesn’t mean there isn’t more to discover. I look back to starting again with episode 1 some day.