(Or: Good Thing Lucy Never Watched The Jinx)
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Ah, Ballers. I hate to disappoint you.
I know, I know. You came here for a fun read. But Ricky has ruined everything for all of us, because in this episode Ricky fucking jokes about killing his wife. How does one ignore that?
One doesn’t. So thanks a lot, Ricky. You scare the fun away, you creepy creep.
Perhaps I should back up.
See, this week we open on Lucy reading a mystery novel. It’s 2 AM, and since we can assume she started reading a good bit earlier, you’d hope she’d be past the third page! She’s not.
Ricky walks in and takes off his shirt. I don’t have much to say on that subject, but I didn’t want any of you to miss it. It’s not often I can use the tag “shirtless.”
This is the first time we get a significant view of the Ricardos’ sleeping situation, which is great for sleeping and highly inconvenient for any other bedroom behavior, because Lucy and Ricky sleep on two separate twin beds.
In this episode, the beds are shoved together. Practically an orgy in there. Watch out, Lucy: if sheets from 2 different beds touch for too long, the stork brings a baby and you get syphilis.
Lucy is scared from reading her murder mystery.
So obviously Ricky responds by giving a long speech about how much the character’s husband probably wanted to kill her. He says husbands want to kill their wives when they don’t let them sleep after a long night of work. Then he starts describing all the possible tools a husband might use to do away with his wife:
A gun? Nah. Makes too much noise. A knife? Too sloppy.
He settles on strangling said wife in her sleep. Hypothetically, of course.
So now you’re caught up. And now you can say it along with me: What. The Actual. Fuck.
I am sooooooo glad I know in advance that every single week for the next 9 years, Lucy is going to spend Ricky’s money, ruin his performances, embarrass him in front of his friends, and otherwise torment every aspect of his daily life.
Don’t joke about domestic violence. That goes for Ricky Ricardo and every other POS out there who thinks a partner’s black eye is totes adorbs. Either the cops will find you eventually via an extremely unwise on-camera interview you give that airs on HBO, or 64 years later a kickass satirical commentary will come along and WASTE YOU.
Problem is, Lucy now thinks Ricky really will murder her; which makes sense, because he basically said he might.
It doesn’t help when Ethel reads Lucy’s fortune and tells her death is coming. …Then flees, because she’s about as brave as she is psychic.
Lucy also overhears Ricky talking about a gun in his desk and making a list of women’s names who might replace him, ending with Theodore.
Lucy is particularly worried about Theodore. Which I don’t really get. First of all, Ricky is clearly not gay. A gay man would peace out after 2 seconds of Fred Mertz’ company. And also, shouldn’t she be more worried about the whole “I’m gonna kill you” part, and not which flag Ricky flies? If he’s into dudes, who cares? She won’t be able to see the abomination anyway for the maggots in her eyes. Priorities, Lucy.
But we know the gun is fake, and we know the names are show dogs’ names. Ah, dramatic irony! We’re lucky this didn’t go full-on Romeo and Juliet by the end.
Lucy prepares for Ricky to shoot her. Which is strange because technically he chose strangling her in her sleep during his hypothetical.
1) She tells Ethel so she has an ally.
2) She puts a skillet over her stomach and a trash can lid over her butt.
3) When Ricky comes home she hops around like a frog on molly and her skillet shield falls out.
And so Ricky is like, huh? The look on his face says, “It seems something I’ve done has deteriorated the trust in my marriage, but I can’t for the life of me think what it could be…”
IT WAS THAT TIME YOU JOKED ABOUT MURDERING HER.
Lucy, truly terrified, fortifies herself in the bathroom. Ricky is worried about her.
Then Fred walks in and we’re reminded what a horrible, horrible human being he is. To calm Lucy down, he casually suggests Ricky “slip her a mickey” – you know, a date rape drug. At the time it was better known as a drug bartenders would slip customers in order to rob them. And that really makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing.
“Well not really a mickey, unfortunately. Just a mild sedative.”
Unfortunately? Fred, you’re the actual worst.
Then Fred leaves. That was his whole appearance this week. Thanks for stopping by, buttnozzle.
My husband and I both saw this episode growing up, and both wondered the same thing: “Is this, like, OK? Do married couples actually do this?”
The answer, child us, is no and no. Also no. And add a no.
Note: If you’re a married couple who does this, I’m sorry. Not for offending you. I’m sorry you’re married.
Lucy, who according to the opening scene is barely literate, still has her street smarts. She watches Ricky pour the sedative, and she assumes it’s poison. So she distracts him by dancing in order to switch the glasses.
But crafty Ricky switches them back, and when Lucy realizes what’s happened (technically nothing since Ball actually drank from the wrong glass), she prepares for her imminent demise.
First, she tells Ricky:
No matter what you’ve done, I forgive you.
Then she pretends to die a very long death before falling half-asleep on the couch.
Lucy is a long-suffering saint: When she thought the poison was in Ricky’s glass, she wouldn’t let him drink it; and she used her last breath to tell Ricky she forgives him. What a woman.
I wish Ricky realized what was going on, felt like total shit, and spent the rest of his week keeled over in despair – but no. He smiles and skips away like the asshat he is.
Ethel comes in and, seeing Lucy on the couch, figures Ricky has murdered her. Rather than, oh, I dunno CALLING THE POLICE, Ethel just covers her with a blanket and stands there at the crime scene.
Lucy wakes up and grabs the gun. She decides to drag her exhausted body to the nightclub and take Ricky out before some other woman – or heaven forbid Theodore – can have him.
She arrives with Ethel just in time to see Ricky playing with the show dogs. (This variety show sounds like shit, BTW.)
And thank goodness everything works out at the end. Ricky doesn’t actually kill his wife, leaving us to enjoy another episode of I Love Lucy and not I Love Theodore.
But seriously. You want to talk groundbreaking classic TV? “Coming to CBS, Fall 1951: Two zany gay men get into NYC-style trouble. But one of them has a dark secret about his former lover…”
I would’ve watched the hell out of that.
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8 thoughts on “I Love Lucy S01 E04 – Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her”
“First of all, Ricky is clearly not gay. A gay man would peace out after 2 seconds of Fred Mertz’ company.”
F-ing hilarious as usual.
The ILL episodes, in hindsight have all been somewhat disturbing and dark (Lucy’s mental problems involving her completely normal weight, the weird idea that the women are going to go out on a date with different men because their husbands won’t go out to the nightclub with them, Ricardo completely ignoring his wife almost to the point of it being a mental disorder) which I think is all added by the creepy 50s laugh track but this episode HAS to take the cake as far as being creepy. Ricky jokes about murdering his wife and the whole episode Lucy’s running around scared for her life AND TRIES TO MURDER HER HUSBAND AFTER HE SLIPS HER A SEDATIVE!!!
The 1950s were a very different place… I couldn’t see the script for this episode being OK’d by tv execs today.
God, I Love Theodore sounds like a great show