American Icons: I Love Lucy
Originally aired: October 8, 2010
Friday, August 05, 2011
This is where television invented itself.
It set the model for the hit family sitcom. Lucy was a bad girl trapped in the life of a ‘50s housewife; her slapstick quest for fame and fortune ended in abject failure weekly. Both the antics and the humiliation entered the DNA of TV comedy, from Desperate Housewives to 30 Rock — writers can’t live without Lucy. Rapper Mellow Man Ace celebrates the breaking of an ethnic taboo; a drag performer celebrates Lucy as a freak. With novelist Oscar Hijuelos, producer Chuck Lorre, The Office’s Mindy Kaling, and a marriage counselor who has some advice for the bickering couple.
David Krasnow edited the show.
Test your classic sitcom knowledge with our I Love Lucy quiz!
Bonus Track: Everybody Loves Lucy
Lucille Ball knew however big the star, TV was a writer’s medium. Indeed, every gesture, every glance, and every step was written into the script. In this bonus track, Gregg Oppenheimer — son of creator, producer, and head writer Jess Oppenheimer — reads a bit of the stage direction from the classic episode “Lucy is Enceinte.” Jess and Gregg Oppenheimer are the authors of Laughs, Luck... and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time.
Click on the image at right to read an excerpt from the script.
Bonus Track: Notes on a Scandal
In 1955 Confidential Magazine, a Hollywood scandal rag, reported on Desi Arnaz’s supposed philandering. Dartmouth Film and TV professor Mary Desjardins explores the less desirable side effect of being a celebrity couple…
Click on the image at right to read the complete Confidential Magazine article.
Bonus Track: Mindy Hearts Ricky
Mindy Kaling — writer, producer, and star of The Office — grew up thinking I Love Lucy was “one of the many black and white things that people keep telling you is so great... and you’re just sort of bored and annoyed by it.” Then her Office boss Greg Daniels ordered her to watch it. She came away with a pretty serious crush on Ricky Ricardo. And she says she's not bothered by jokes about his accent.
Video: Lucy's famous mirror scene with Harpo Marx
Lucille Ball was a talented, fearless physical comedian. In this scene from the episode titled simply "Harpo Marx," she brings down the house without saying a word. (The bit is an homage to the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup.)
Slideshow: A Peek Behind-the-Scenes of I Love Lucy