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Brock

Why does I Love Lucy endure after all these years?

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There is an interesting discussion going on over at the AV Club on the enuring popularity of ILL. The article is extensive and the comments are very unusual. Here's an excerpt:

 

For most of the history of television, the barrier to syndication—and to profitability—has been 100 episodes. The shows that have made it to that mark are an unusual group. Many were big hits. Some found small cult audiences. Still others just hung on as best they could and never posted numbers quite low enough to be canceled. In 100 Episodes, we examine the shows that made it to that number, considering both how they advanced and reflected the medium and what contributed to their popularity.

 

TV writer and blogger Ken Levine has an occasional series in which he asks the above question after posting classic scenes from various TV comedies. Fascinatingly, Levine’s commenters have a tendency to prefer more modern shows. TV comedy is supposed to age better than TV drama—after all, shows like Cheers and The Honeymooners and The Dick Van Dyke Show and M*A*S*H have been running in syndication for decades, with viewers continuing to embrace them. Yet even these established classics are losing some of their ground as the first generation to grow up with television ages.

 

Here’s the thing: You probably know you’re supposed to find those scenes above funny. They’re the most famous comedic moments from I Love Lucy, which is one of the two foundational texts of American TV comedy, along with The Honeymooners. The series is legitimately the most influential in TV history, pioneering so many innovations and normalizing so many others that it would be easy to write an appreciation of simply, say, the show’s accidental invention of the TV rerun. (When star Lucille Ball took a maternity leave in the show’s second season, producers and network CBS slotted first-season repeats in lieu of new episodes, and those repeats proved just as popular as new episodes.)

 

Yet, like so many foundational texts, Lucy can seem a little dusty when viewed through modern eyes, as if it had to be dug out of TV’s attic and cleared of cobwebs.

 

Full Article Here: http://www.avclub.com/articles/why-does-i-love-lucy-endure-after-all-these-years,72062/

 

Thoughts?

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Thanks, Brock! I love the AV Club, but there's a real anti-three camera in front of a live studio audience mentality there. I definitely understand that feeling with the shows of today, but they apply that thinking to any show regardless of when it was produced. They have a hard time of putting things in the context of when they were made.

 

The writer also makes it seem that every episode of the show has a non-plot related musical number. I'm glad one of the commenters defended the musical numbers and pointed out how that they faded away as the series went on.

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Thanks, Brock! I love the AV Club, but there's a real anti-three camera in front of a live studio audience mentality there. I definitely understand that feeling with the shows of today, but they apply that thinking to any show regardless of when it was produced. They have a hard time of putting things in the context of when they were made.

 

The writer also makes it seem that every episode of the show has a non-plot related musical number. I'm glad one of the commenters defended the musical numbers and pointed out how that they faded away as the series went on.

 

Agreed! I'm also glad one of the commenters defended I Love Lucy against the people who say it's overdone and outdated by saying the reason they probably think it's overdone is because practically EVERY comedy since I Love Lucy has borrowed from it in some way.

 

And I know I'm biased, but it's a real pet-peeve of mine when people refer to Lucy Ricardo as an "idiotic ditzy-dingbat", as the author of this article did (even though he was ultimately praising the show). At least this author had the intelligence to separate Lucille Ball and Lucy Ricardo, but the Lucy Ricardo character was anything but idiotic! Zany, absolutely, but ALWAYS extremely clever and capable.

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Oy friggin vey, have a feeling i will have to reread that before i dare post a comment. The author does S E E M to have his facts straight for the most part though. What the hell is the A V Club anyway, amateur viewers club?

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Oy friggin vey, have a feeling i will have to reread that before i dare post a comment. Th author does S E E M to have his facts straight for the most part though. What the hell is the A V Club anyway, amateur viewers club?

 

The A.V. (Audio-Visual) Club is a humorous website about the media that is owned by The Onion. It's mostly dedicated to reviews, but they also do a lot of great interviews with interesting people.

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The A.V. (Audio-Visual) Club is a humorous website about the media that is owned by The Onion. It's mostly dedicated to reviews, but they also do a lot of great interviews with interesting people.

Hope they do better with this than they did with that ONION movie which stank. Thanks for the heads up on this site.

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And, as I once put it in my own words:

 

"Lucy Ricardo makes herself accessible to all because 'her ability to create possibility where others would only recognize restraint, and her untiring optimism that this time her scheme will succeed, above all, keep [her]…alive and at the centre of our popular culture.' Feminist or not, Lucy speaks to the sense of adventure in all of us, the idea that if we take chances no matter what obstacles may be in our way, we just might have a chance to be in the show."

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I was just about to post this article. I'm really not enthused about it either. The author seems to not think to highly of the comedy of I Love Lucy, except about Lucy and Desi's love. I really dislike the whole bashing of The Lucy Show, Life With Lucy, and Here's Lucy, it is getting very old. I love all of her other shows but of course prefer ILL out of the bunch. Plus why does the whole world think Lucille Ball had a huge alcohol problem after ILL? Dear lordy. Then the comments on this site, ohmygod. One that stands out to me the most is "Having sat through many of the shows, especially when Here's Lucy originally aired, frankly I gotta say kids today ain't missin' sh*t." I am 19 years old, I started watching classic television on my own when I was younger. Starting with I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. I watched the 50th Anniversary special of ILL and I was hooked from then on. I went on with watching more and more classic shows, I adored it and continue to love it. Which is where I found my love for slapstick comedy then I fell in love with all things retro. I honestly really don't like any of the television today besides a few series. All of TV today is corupted with Jersey Shore and The Kardashians. It's sickening, they are missing more now then back in the golden age. This is honestly like saying the generation of today should not even be exposed to The Beatles, Elvis Presley Queen, Rolling Stones or any classic music, they should stay with their mainstream new crap. It's disgusting.

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[quote name=DroopyDrawers :D' timestamp='1334030818' post='36930]

I was just about to post this article. I'm really not enthused about it either. The author seems to not think to highly of the comedy of I Love Lucy, except about Lucy and Desi's love. I really dislike the whole bashing of The Lucy Show, Life With Lucy, and Here's Lucy, it is getting very old. I love all of her other shows but of course prefer ILL out of the bunch. Plus why does the whole world think Lucille Ball had a huge alcohol problem after ILL? Dear lordy. Then the comments on this site, ohmygod. One that stands out to me the most is "Having sat through many of the shows, especially when Here's Lucy originally aired, frankly I gotta say kids today ain't missin' sh*t." I am 19 years old, I started watching classic television on my own when I was younger. Starting with I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. I watched the 50th Anniversary special of ILL and I was hooked from then on. I went on with watching more and more classic shows, I adored it and continue to love it. Which is where I found my love for slapstick comedy then I fell in love with all things retro. I honestly really don't like any of the television today besides a few series. All of TV today is corupted with Jersey Shore and The Kardashians. It's sickening, they are missing more now then back in the golden age. This is honestly like saying the generation of today should not even be exposed to The Beatles, Elvis Presley Queen, Rolling Stones or any classic music, they should stay with their mainstream new crap. It's disgusting.

WELL SAID AND SO TRUE!

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Well, it's lasted this long for many reasons, one is it was the funniest comedy ever made for television, some supposed comedy movies today don't have half the laughs it did. Then there was the greatest comedienne of all time doing comedy that had never been done so well and for so long by anyone before or since. Then there was the genius writing that was all about regular people and their foibles and that humor is timeless. So, basically it endured because generation after generation found it to be the funniest tv show of all time. AND they could identify with the characters, the supporting players were top notch also. And the writers tried not to include too much topical humor as it would not play well sixty years later. Lucy's later shows suffered by comparison BECAUSE the original was the best ever and how many times could she replay those same situations and insert something new, even though she was the QUEEN of the medium, she herself always rightly stated that she was only as great as the material she was handed.

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Well, it's lasted this long for many reasons, one is it was the funniest comedy ever made for television, some supposed comedy movies today don't have half the laughs it did. Then there was the greatest comedienne of all time doing comedy that had never been done so well and for so long by anyone before or since. Then there was the genius writing that was all about regular people and their foibles and that humor is timeless. So, basically it endured because generation after generation found it to be the funniest tv show of all time. AND they could identify with the characters, the supporting players were top notch also. And the writers tried not to include too much topical humor as it would not play well sixty years later. Lucy's later shows suffered by comparison BECAUSE the original was the best ever and how many times could she replay those same situations and insert something new, even though she was the QUEEN of the medium, she herself always rightly stated that she was only as great as the material she was handed.

WELL SAID TO YOU TOO CLAUDE!

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I think the shows Brilliance came from Oppenheimer and The entire Writing Staff's ability to

create a humanistic, innocent, exciting world that mirrored ours, but had the ability to work itself out with a child like innocence at it's core.

For example- The authoritative roles, like a judge, a boss, a policemen are projected as parental figures-Lucy's enemies are often played like child hood rivals- and so on. If you think about it- Lucy is not the only character that has child like moments, & That child like vulnerability is at the core of every human being, and seeing that in these funny characters make it fun and nice 2 see on SO MANY LEVELS.

I think the success of the show also had a lot to do with the creative energy that came as a result to the NEWNESS of it all.

They were now taking the radio show-that was already funny as a radio show and now putting it to stage and filming it- Can you imagine taking a fun, exciting show

like My Favorite Husband, and giving it a budget to become a huge theatrical show every week? The camera's were tolerated, the theatrical appeal of the show was the main goal- The show went from a few mic stands- to these huge gorgeous backdrops

and very well decorated sets-and then to have 150-200 people see it ? ah! Oh the excitement!! I Love Lucy IS The Golden Era of TV lol

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