Your RDA of Irony

I Pity Lucy

This day would have been the 67th wedding of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Unless you are a blind Amish, you have seen episodes of their 1950’s television series. Even today, with our post-Eisenhower sophistication, the show is still quite funny. However, a modern perspective does offer two remarkable revelations. First, oh my God, Lucille Ball was really attractive. Second, yuck, Desi Arnaz was really unbearable.

Even in the 1950s, there was no secret that Desi was talentless and charmless. You had to conclude that Ethel Mertz(Vivian Vance) had better taste in men. Now, however, Desi seems more than just a drag on the show. He is an offensive, abusive pig. We might coin the term “cockpecking.” He is always badgering and bullying that poor lovely woman. “Lucy, where my dinner?” and of course, the immortal “Lucy, you got a lot of ‘splaining to do.” Granted, Lucy Ricardo’s mind isn’t as bright as her hair. Didn’t he notice before the wedding that she could earn him a Green Card but not a membership in Mensa?

Now, if a kindly(?) Jewish liberal has this visceral reaction to such tyrannical Latino machismo, imagine how your typical Republican would respond. We’d have another Spanish-American War. Those old video clips of Ricky Ricardo could well incite one. Most of us really do not care if Juan Carlos or Mario Vargas Llosa are sneaking across the border just to mow our lawns. But we wouldn’t want our sisters or daughters subjugated to these cockpecking Hispanic louts!

So, to protect our borders and women, “I Love Lucy” episodes should be required viewing. (The Justice Department can tell whether or not you are watching.) And, if the series seems a little dated, we can always remake it with Alberto Gonzales and Anne Coulter.

  1. Tosh says:

    Unrelated issue that I thought might be right up your alley.

    If, as extreme pro-lifers say, the collection of adult DNA equals born person does that mean that no one has died whose body is retreivable? Their DNA is still retrievable so aren’t they people? Does this mean that the Neolithic man they found in the Alps is still alive? We have his DNA. I want to be his attorney so I can claim original ownership of Switzerland, France and Italy. The 10% fees would be plenty juicy.

    It might be serious ridicule that is needed to sway this argument. Americans (especially stupid ones) don’t like to be seen as stupid. I think there
    is an inverse correlation.

  2. Catherine Ramen says:

    I agree about Desi Arnez’ talent with a few caveats: he (along with the rest of the cast) did have a good sense of timing, and as a producer he really was original and talented–Desilu studios was a cash cow for years, and he invented the three-camera setup that is now standard for almost all television sitcoms.

  3. Leah says:

    I’m no expert on the Arnaz family, but I think you’re allowing sitcom convention— I was about to cite The Bickersons from radio and, of course, The Honeymooners, but really it goes back to Punch and Judy– to read as an offerred reality, which I don’t thnk it was. It was just a comic convention that spousal friction was funny– which it still is, kind of, if you’re not one of the spouses. And while you may be immune to some aspects of Arnaz’ charm, it was there– you should see what he was like in Too Many Girls, the movie on whose set I believe the two of them met. From a sex appeal perspective, he made the leading man look like chopped liver, believe me. Arnaz also produced and directed many of the TV shows, so he deserves some real creative credit for that, although I believe that she was the one truly in control.

    They say he absolutely adored her (although not enough to overcome his ingrained habit of casual affairs, which she finally got fed up with) and was completely devastated when she divorced him.

    And what do you mean, not bright? Doean’t the phrase “Wait a minute Ethel, I have a plan” mean anything? I think she’s actually meant to be fairly sharp, with her tragic flaw being desire for fame– kind of nice when you reflect that Ball in real life never quite got up to megastar status in the movies, and was able to make herself more famous than almost everyone else when TV was ascendant. She was able to buy the studio where she had been a glorified extra in the ’30s.

    So while I think you’re right in most of your points, I don’t think even now Arnaz should be seen as an offensive lout but rather as one in a long line of nominally dominant husbands who really are not. If you want to talk offensive, though, I won’t argue with you on Petruchio.

  4. Tosh:

    I think that Michael Crichton had this idea first, and did very well with it.

    Continuing with your speculation, imagine if there is any DNA on the Sacred Shroud of Turin. That could be His second resurrection.

    Catharine and Leah:

    I did say that my reaction to Desi was visceral.

    Nonetheless, it is not my fault if either or both of you end up in an abusive relationship with Juan Carlos. “Catalina, Leahita, the Prado needs vacuuming.”

  5. Referring to Mr. Arnez’s talent as a product, Catharine has inspired me with a great idea for a television pilot.

    Lucy finally murders Ricky, and the crime is solved by Eliot Ness. After all, “The Untouchables” was a Desilu production, and this would be a great tie-in to promote the show.

    However, my idea might be 47 years too late.

  6. Leah says:

    I’d rather see her jailed by Andy Taylor, with Sheldon Leonard as the clever lawyer who gets her acquitted.

  7. By contrast, no one would say that George Burns is abusing Gracie Allen.

    (Of course, one could claim that he was defiling Aryan womanhood but that is another story–which Mel Gibson would love to film.)

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