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Laughing For The Love Of Lucy

1841 words - 8 pages

Situation comedies have steadily multiplied and evolved throughout the years to accommodate the varying tastes of a growing and changing population. Most sitcoms, as they are commonly known, are inevitably canceled and forgotten once they are outgrown by society to the point that they are no longer relevant, and their humor begins to feel stale. However, there are a select few that survive the test of time and have the ability to keep people laughing for long after their production ends, in rerun after rerun, regardless of how much society has changed since they originally aired. One of the funniest of these select timeless comedies is the I Love Lucy series. I Love Lucy is pure comedy gold, even after all these years, because of the believability of its characters, their relationships, and the realistic situations they face that grow logically into absurdity; and because of the unrivaled, genuine comedic talent of Lucille Ball and her costars. All of these elements combine in perfectly hilarious harmony to give the show a genuine feel and keep the laughs coming in a way that never grows stale or boring.
The I Love Lucy characters play roles that are stereotypical to American society, highlighting the humor in the incongruities of recognizable, though sometimes outdated, social norms, ideals, attitudes, and behaviors. Of these, the most notable is Lucy’s incessant desire to break out of her constraining role as ordinary housewife, in order to pursue success and a career of her own, which was a common sentiment for women of the 1950s. In “The 1950s: Gender and Some Social Science,” Wini Breines points out that gender roles were beginning to change, but had not yet received the approval of society: “During the 1950s the traditional domestic role of women was sentimentalized and glorified at the same time that growing numbers of middle-class women went to college and mothers and married women entered the labor force.” Therefore, the deceit that Lucy often resorts to in order to sneak her way around the social rules was funny during that period of history because it was crazy, yet plausible for someone so desperate. While the humorous effect of Lucy’s desperation remains, American Studies scholar, professor, and author George Lipsitz says that the reason people find it funny in modern times stands in direct contrast to the original reasoning: “The more Lucy’s antics are recast in the past, the funnier her trickery becomes because the social conditions that necessitated her trickery have changed” (quoted in Landay 29). Both of Breines and Lipsitz’s claims can also be directly applied to Ricky’s role as patriarch and provider, another standard of the conservative gender roles that remained favorable in the post-war era of the setting. The humor from his role comes when he has to remind Lucy that he is the boss and even punishes her occasionally for her behavior. In “The Quiz Show,” Lucy loses the allowance that Ricky normally gives...

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