I enjoyed a recent Post by Parade.com columnist Dr. Nancy Berk entitled I Love Lucy and the Family Legacy of Nostalgic TV. I want to state for the record that I love I Love Lucy. It is one of my favorite all-time shows, so I was tickled pink to read this fine column.
But I think there is another side to Lucy that few people want to address. Sure, Lucy displays traits of intelligence, humor and loyalty. Who can forget that infamous line when she thinks Ethel is Madame X the burglar and she is wrestling with her on the couch begging her to give up her life of crime: “Ethel, if it’s money you need, I’ll pay you what I owe you.” That is indeed a testament to true friendship. So, what is the other side to Lucy to which no one admits? Lucy is a criminal.
If there was any chick who deserved to do serious jail time it was Lucy Ricardo. Technically, Ethel Mertz should have served some years in the big house too for being an accomplice, but I think any judge would have conceded that she was under duress during most of the capers. And these were not local, penny ante misdemeanors which would get someone an orange jumpsuit and a day of cleaning trash off highways. No, we are talking major felonies that became federal crimes because they crossed state borders. Let’s look at the facts:
Lucy wants to be cast in Ricky’s show as a dancer. What‘s so bad about that? Well, she does go to great lengths to get this part. She starves herself into a size 12 (yes, it’s apparent a then size 12 is far different from today’s size 12 which is probably now a size 2, but we will address that whole issue some other time). In order to dance in that one song, she ambushes the poor actress already cast in the role, ties her up, gags her and throws her in a locked closet. She is found after the show is over and no charges are ever filed. We don’t even hear a mention of a lawsuit in subsequent episodes. For those keeping track, we have assault, kidnapping and maybe even attempted murder because if that poor girl wasn’t found that night, she might have died by regurgitating on her own vomit. Hey, I watch Criminal Minds.
Let’s head to Hollywood:
Lucy and Ethel use a crow bar to pry John Wayne’s footprints out of the ground at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Even back then, that concrete slab had to be worth mega bucks. So we have trespassing, destruction of private property, grand larceny and the use of that crow bar might meet the requirements for armed robbery. Any jail time? Nope. This is a case where Ricky’s connections saved her from a day in court. Somehow, the “Duke” found her charming and helped them replace the concrete slab not once but three times.
Lucy sneaks into Cornel Wilde’s hotel room and Richard Widmark’s house so she can look around and get souvenirs. Now we have hit the mother lode: Trespassing, burglary and the federal crime of stalking. There should have been about 100 restraining orders with her name on it in Hollywood alone, but did any of these stars file a lawsuit or a police complaint?
Lucy did what she wanted and never had to pay the consequences and in the end Ricky loved her even more. If that is not the most bizarre marriage, I don’t know what is. How did social services not come for Little Ricky? Dear God, the way they dumped that kid on poor Mrs. Trumble or Mrs. McGillicuddy for such long stretches of time, there should have been charges of abandonment.
Okay, I will stop picking on Lucy, because as I said, for some odd reason, I still love her, but the next time I need a new hat and my husband says we can’t afford it, I might have to resort to some Lucy tactics too. If you don’t hear from me, just assume I’m serving 10 to 20 in the women’s state prison. I wonder if anyone from Hollywood will bail me out.