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Lucille's Japanese Gardener Impression


Mot Morenzi
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So, I of course got the 4th season Lucy Show set right when it came out back in April.

 

I had read that Lucy did a not so respectful impression of a Japanese Gardener this season and was anxious to see it myself.

 

Needless to say, my jaw dropped when she came out with the buck-teeth and "chop-suey specks".

 

I was genuienly shocked at how over the top it was, and could easily understand why Geoffery Mark Fidelman called it "plain offensive" and how it could be considered politically incorrect.

 

Most of her impressions are quite innocuous, and while the outrageousness of this one is something else, it really is probably one of the few moments in her career that would be considered offensive by today's standards (the other possible exception being I Love Lucy's "Indian Show")

 

What did everyone else think of this one?

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So, I of course got the 4th season Lucy Show set right when it came out back in April.

 

I had read that Lucy did a not so respectful impression of a Japanese Gardener this season and was anxious to see it myself.

 

Needless to say, my jaw dropped when she came out with the buck-teeth and "chop-suey specks".

 

I was genuienly shocked at how over the top it was, and could easily understand why Geoffery Mark Fidelman called it "plain offensive" and how it could be considered politically incorrect.

 

Most of her impressions are quite innocuous, and while the outrageousness of this one is something else, it really is probably one of the few moments in her career that would be considered offensive by today's standards (the other possible exception being I Love Lucy's "Indian Show")

 

What did everyone else think of this one?

Oh for corn sakes, that was what the popular joke was AT THAT TIME, like spanking his wife, it's considered wrong NOW but in a comedy show sixty years ago it was intended as a dad spanking his naughty little girl, not the way it's taken today. Same for the gardener, that's the way it was done on comedy sketch shows, even in movies, see Mickey Rooney doing the same in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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Oh for corn sakes, that was what the popular joke was AT THAT TIME, like spanking his wife, it's considered wrong NOW but in a comedy show sixty years ago it was intended as a dad spanking his naughty little girl, not the way it's taken today. Same for the gardener, that's the way it was done on comedy sketch shows, even in movies, see Mickey Rooney doing the same in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

 

 

Yes, I am aware that back then stereotypical racial jokes were not uncommon. I know society was very different back then, and things were used for humour and weren't meant as insults. Even I agree that the PC police can go a little too far nowadays, but there are some things that just don't make good humour. I know Mickey Rooney has since apologized to anyone who was offended by what he did in Tiffany's.

 

For the record, the "Ricky Spanks Lucy" episodes don't hold up well today either. I usually never watch them. It's disturbing.

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Yes, I am aware that back then stereotypical racial jokes were not uncommon. I know society was very different back then, and things were used for humour and weren't meant as insults. Even I agree that the PC police can go a little too far nowadays, but there are some things that just don't make good humour. I know Mickey Rooney has since apologized to anyone who was offended by what he did in Tiffany's.

 

For the record, the "Ricky Spanks Lucy" episodes don't hold up well today either. I usually never watch them. It's disturbing.

I know, i can't sleep after watching them, so unbelievably traumatic for me, i never expected comedy in a comedy show. Ok, it's almost three thirty in the morning here and i'm off to bed, this is much too serious to discuss when i'm half dead mentally, so adios and pleasant dreams.

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I know, i can't sleep after watching them, so unbelievably traumatic for me, i never expected comedy in a comedy show. Ok, it's almost three thirty in the morning here and i'm off to bed, this is much too serious to discuss when i'm half dead mentally, so adios and pleasant dreams.

 

 

Sorry, I just don't find spanking humorous. That's fine if you do. No need to get sarcastic :(

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I know, i can't sleep after watching them, so unbelievably traumatic for me, i never expected comedy in a comedy show. Ok, it's almost three thirty in the morning here and i'm off to bed, this is much too serious to discuss when i'm half dead mentally, so adios and pleasant dreams.

 

LOL! I agree - I don't see what the big deal is with them, who cares! People have to learn to not take things so seriously! If I got offended evertime someone made a Jewish joke I'd have stayed locked up in my house years ago!

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I can see why people find it offensive but it was different times and different attitudes.

 

I also think people need to retain a sense of humour about themselves. I could easily be offended by the portrail of English people, old beans, but would rather see the funny side than take offensive

 

Well thats by two penneth so tally hoe toodle pip and all that kind of rot :)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjIpMcCohY0

 

How you can find these clips offensive or not funny is beyond me

 

 

Sorry, I just find that kind of behaviour upsetting. I know it was played for laughs, but I don't find it enduring to think that spanking is the only thing one could resort to in order to solve issues like that. The author of "The Lucy Book" felt the same, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

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I can see why people find it offensive but it was different times and different attitudes.

 

I also think people need to retain a sense of humour about themselves. I could easily be offended by the portrail of English people, old beans, but would rather see the funny side than take offensive

 

Well thats by two penneth so tally hoe toodle pip and all that kind of rot :)

 

Yes, good points. I'm not Asian, and I have not read any opinions by the Asian community on how they interpret the Japanese Gardener impression. Based on the reaction to the whole "Asians in the Library" incident, I doubt it would go over too well nowadays, but I'm glad CBS included it unedited on the DVD for the sake of historical preservation.

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Sorry, I just find that kind of behaviour upsetting. I know it was played for laughs, but I don't find it enduring to think that spanking is the only thing one could resort to in order to solve issues like that. The author of "The Lucy Book" felt the same, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

 

It's a TV comedy show for heaven sake!

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It's a TV comedy show for heaven sake!

 

I don't think that exempts it from containing something "disturbing."

 

Ricky spanking Lucy has always bothered me. As VBagley said, it just seems to suggest that physical punishment is the way to solve issues. I understand seeing Lucy and Ricky sitting down for a talk would be dull, but the show almost always found much more creative ways to tie up an episode. And to add to things I've always been bothered by in I Love Lucy, I always find Ricky's flirting with/showing blatant interest in other women to be in poor (and awkward) taste.

 

As far as racial stereotypes within the show(s), well...even if the stereotypes portrayed in the show were in keeping with the zeitgeist, it doesn't make them right. If you can choose to look beyond it, marvelous; for some of us, however, they're glaring reminders of a less tolerant, less compassionate time. I tend to stay away from these episodes because they make me feel uncomfortable. And Rooney was right to apologize for his ghastly portrayal in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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In my opinion, people just need to lighten up. That was the way it was back then. Look past it. I can see Ricky spanking Lucy as demeaning to women nowadays (don't really think it qualifies as domestic abuse though). I always raise my eyebrows to it because it seems a bit naughty. What about the "Lucy as a Laundress" episode of Here's Lucy? That was racist too if you look at it that way.

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True, but at least the daughters in the show were there to prove how ridiculous the stereotypes were.

 

Exactly, there was a counterbalance.

 

Like I said, for me its as simple as never watching certain episodes more than once...maybe an accidental viewing when I hit "play all." But what offends someone quite simply offends them.

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In my opinion, people just need to lighten up. That was the way it was back then. Look past it. I can see Ricky spanking Lucy as demeaning to women nowadays (don't really think it qualifies as domestic abuse though). I always raise my eyebrows to it because it seems a bit naughty. What about the "Lucy as a Laundress" episode of Here's Lucy? That was racist too if you look at it that way.

Thank you Taylor and Mikidiki for restating for the thousanth time that it was a friggin T V Show, that it was a C O M E D Y and that in it, Lucy behaved like a child, so therefore, her hubby who behaved like the father figure in these cases of her behaving like a child, would J O K I N G L Y spank her as a daddy would a misbehaving child. It was sixty years ago and back then people did not LOOK for ways to find politically incorrect humor or things that shocked them, they just laughed at a situation that was just played for laughs. I apologize to you Ms Bagley is you were offfended by my obvious sarcasm, i like you and really did not want to offend, i was tired, extremely tired, and i am so tired of always having to defend the same damned arguments we have been having about these same damned subjects for decades now.

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As for the subject at hand, any show or sketch from that time period would show the same steriotypical Japanese exaggeration for laughs, that does not mean it's right, it's just part of the humongous area that can no longer be joked about, you just have to keep in mind that BACK THEN, over fifty years ago, it was happening, it was a source of humor and if it bothers you that much, just skip that episode and go on with your life, there are lots more important things that are wrong in this world that you can deal with instead. That Japanese Americans were put in internment camps during the war, that the Japanese were allies with Germany during that war and bombed Pearl Harbor, that they committed atrocities during that war, that they just suffered through that terrible earthquake and tsunami recently, those are important things, joking decades ago about how people from a certain area talked or behaved is really irrelevant at this point in time because BACK THEN, it was a way to get easy laughs.

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As for the subject at hand, any show or sketch from that time period would show the same steriotypical Japanese exaggeration for laughs, that does not mean it's right, it's just part of the humongous area that can no longer be joked about, you just have to keep in mind that BACK THEN, over fifty years ago, it was happening, it was a source of humor and if it bothers you that much, just skip that episode and go on with your life, there are lots more important things that are wrong in this world that you can deal with instead. That Japanese Americans were put in internment camps during the war, that the Japanese were allies with Germany during that war and bombed Pearl Harbor, that they committed atrocities during that war, that they just suffered through that terrible earthquake and tsunami recently, those are important things, joking decades ago about how people from a certain area talked or behaved is really irrelevant at this point in time because BACK THEN, it was a way to get easy laughs.

 

 

Yes, well put. There are, of course, far more important issues to get worked up about, and the subject of this board is one that certainly doesn't irk me too much. Considering, however, how it's possibly her one and only impersonation that may NOT be acceptable nowadays, I was curious for reaction to it. Most of her work is quite harmless and fun, as this one was obviously intended to be. Instead, it now reflects back on a far more intolerent society that poked fun at things in careless ways that should not have been approached.

 

No biggie, it is what it is, and I am, of course, willing to accept it in the context in which it was filmed, keeping in mind how it may affect others nowadays.

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Oy vey, now everyone thinks I'm a stuffy, overly PC prude. I'm not, seriously! Was merely curious how others thought her impression held up today, and wanted to share my view that there are a few elements of I Love Lucy that haven't aged well. So sorry if I made any tempers flare up! :lucydaze:

Doesn't bother me! It's just interesting how you feel about this stuff based on your age, experiences, background, etc. I'll be totally UN-PC and admit I kinda think that caricature -- and IMHO that's what it is, a caricature, meaning I don't think any harm was truly intended -- was funny. Tasteless perhaps in today's PC-filled world, but funny -- but then this was 45 years ago when mores, attitudes, race relations, civil rights, etc., etc. where all in a much different place: You're too young too recall, Viv, how truly shocking to those of us raised on Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, Bewitched, Donna Reed, The Flying Nun, etc., it was to tune into this new show called All in the Family where the lead character spouted racial ephitets, cursed like a sailor and everyone -- despite being a close-knit family -- yelled and screamed at one another because none of them could agree with one another -- and if that weren't enough, it proved popular enough to foster another loud-mouth just a few months later -- and he was black!! OMG! And if that weren't enough, a year after that, there was a another show with a WOMAN, a loud-mouthed, opinionated liberal woman in the lead role -- who had the audacity to have an abortion in her character's middle age (about 45, 46) and just a few months into her first season!

 

Whatever happened to Donna Reed??? ;)

 

So given all that, we forget sometimes how far we've come and where we came from. So, that being said, I don't think one episode out of literally hundreds of variations of this character is such a bad track record if she was truly offensive therein -- I don't think it was any more intentional than Rooney's portrayal in the now classic Breakfast at Tiffanys. I doubt he came up with that himself -- it was probably written that way. Now whether a middle-aged white male should have been cast in that part is another story. But again, it was a different time, with different attitudes.

 

We've come a long way, baby! :professor:

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Doesn't bother me! It's just interesting how you feel about this stuff based on your age, experiences, background, etc. I'll be totally UN-PC and admit I kinda think that caricature -- and IMHO that's what it is, a caricature, meaning I don't think any harm was truly intended -- was funny. Tasteless perhaps in today's PC-filled world, but funny -- but then this was 45 years ago when mores, attitudes, race relations, civil rights, etc., etc. where all in a much different place: You're too young too recall, Viv, how truly shocking to those of us raised on Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, Bewitched, Donna Reed, The Flying Nun, etc., it was to tune into this new show called All in the Family where the lead character spouted racial ephitets, cursed like a sailor and everyone -- despite being a close-knit family -- yelled and screamed at one another because none of them could agree with one another -- and if that weren't enough, it proved popular enough to foster another loud-mouth just a few months later -- and he was black!! OMG! And if that weren't enough, a year after that, there was a another show with a WOMAN, a loud-mouthed, opinionated liberal woman in the lead role -- who had the audacity to have an abortion in her character's middle age (about 45, 46) and just a few months into her first season!

 

Whatever happened to Donna Reed??? ;)

 

So given all that, we forget sometimes how far we've come and where we came from. So, that being said, I don't think one episode out of literally hundreds of variations of this character is such a bad track record if she was truly offensive therein -- I don't think it was any more intentional than Rooney's portrayal in the now classic Breakfast at Tiffanys. I doubt he came up with that himself -- it was probably written that way. Now whether a middle-aged white male should have been cast in that part is another story. But again, it was a different time, with different attitudes.

 

We've come a long way, baby! :professor:

 

Very well said!!

 

And yes, even I have to admit that her caricature is rather funny. In poor taste nowadays, perhaps, but funny. I don't believe for a minute Lucille was prejudiced against anybody.

 

Another reason I may feel about it the way I do is this: I read about that episode and someone's opinion that it was offensive before I ever saw it myself. Therefore, I went into viewing it with a predisposition to be offended by it. I think that played a major part in forming my opinion. True, I probably would've found it in bad taste regardless, but even I admit I laughed a little at it (but immediately felt kinda guilty!) It was more the shock value; I'd never seen Lucille do such an outrageous caricature before! So in that regard it's funny, but the subtext of the impression reminds me what era we're dealing with here and how much things have changed since then.

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Yes, well put. There are, of course, far more important issues to get worked up about, and the subject of this board is one that certainly doesn't irk me too much. Considering, however, how it's possibly her one and only impersonation that may NOT be acceptable nowadays, I was curious for reaction to it. Most of her work is quite harmless and fun, as this one was obviously intended to be. Instead, it now reflects back on a far more intolerent society that poked fun at things in careless ways that should not have been approached.

 

No biggie, it is what it is, and I am, of course, willing to accept it in the context in which it was filmed, keeping in mind how it may affect others nowadays.

Listen, someone might mention that being an older person, I myself might be quite put off by her OLD LADY shtick, dressed hideously, grey or white hair in a bun, talking funny as if she had dentures or maybe not even having teeth at all, but i don't get offended at that as i treat it as a comedy SHTICK that was relevant BACK THEN. How about when she portrayed a hillbilly, making fun of the stupidity of those characters, you know, the people that voted for bush the second time or the palin or bachmaan supporters today in election campaigns, LOL!

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Oy vey, now everyone thinks I'm a stuffy, overly PC prude. I'm not, seriously! Was merely curious how others thought her impression held up today, and wanted to share my view that there are a few elements of I Love Lucy that haven't aged well. So sorry if I made any tempers flare up! :lucydaze:

You did NOT, and everybody knows you as an insightful and quite brainy poster, I'm the one who has a BIG mouth and was overly tired and I apologize to YOU, i was wrong and YOU were right.

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Listen, someone might mention that being an older person, I myself might be quite put off by her OLD LADY shtick, dressed hideously, grey or white hair in a bun, talking funny as if she had dentures or maybe not even having teeth at all, but i don't get offended at that as i treat it as a comedy SHTICK that was relevant BACK THEN. How about when she portrayed a hillbilly, making fun of the stupidity of those characters, you know, the people that voted for bush the second time or the palin or bachmaan supporters today in election campaigns, LOL!

Hmmm, not quite the same thing, I don't think but nice try. :lucysmirk:

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Doesn't bother me! It's just interesting how you feel about this stuff based on your age, experiences, background, etc. I'll be totally UN-PC and admit I kinda think that caricature -- and IMHO that's what it is, a caricature, meaning I don't think any harm was truly intended -- was funny. Tasteless perhaps in today's PC-filled world, but funny -- but then this was 45 years ago when mores, attitudes, race relations, civil rights, etc., etc. where all in a much different place: You're too young too recall, Viv, how truly shocking to those of us raised on Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, Bewitched, Donna Reed, The Flying Nun, etc., it was to tune into this new show called All in the Family where the lead character spouted racial ephitets, cursed like a sailor and everyone -- despite being a close-knit family -- yelled and screamed at one another because none of them could agree with one another -- and if that weren't enough, it proved popular enough to foster another loud-mouth just a few months later -- and he was black!! OMG! And if that weren't enough, a year after that, there was a another show with a WOMAN, a loud-mouthed, opinionated liberal woman in the lead role -- who had the audacity to have an abortion in her character's middle age (about 45, 46) and just a few months into her first season!

 

Whatever happened to Donna Reed??? ;)

 

So given all that, we forget sometimes how far we've come and where we came from. So, that being said, I don't think one episode out of literally hundreds of variations of this character is such a bad track record if she was truly offensive therein -- I don't think it was any more intentional than Rooney's portrayal in the now classic Breakfast at Tiffanys. I doubt he came up with that himself -- it was probably written that way. Now whether a middle-aged white male should have been cast in that part is another story. But again, it was a different time, with different attitudes.

 

We've come a long way, baby! :professor:

Well said. And i miss Donna reed so much, i'd love to see those shows again, i grew up with those and i miss Cara Williams also, first unseen ut talked about on Pete and Gladys and then in the series itself which was written by Bob and Madelyn and Lucy once chided them for giving loads of great material to that other redhead, LOL!

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