(OR: Lucy is assaulted twice, then traded on the black market.)
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Oh my, Ballers. Where do we even start this week? I’m going to start at the beginning, but be warned: there will be a detour. I’ve been waiting for this episode, and dreading it.
We open on Lucy juicing, which makes me wonder why we haven’t seen that before. I mean, people who juice talk about it constantly and make you taste their stupid beet-carrot creations every time you see them. Lucy shows remarkable self-restraint.
Speaking of things we haven’t seen before, apparently Lucy and Ricky have neighbors. Miss Lewis comes up to visit, and she’s got a crush.
HER??? A crush? That’s not possible, she’s ANCIENT. Like 45 years old!
Literally. The actress was 45 years old. They play her off like she’s this crippled, pathetic spinster (about 60% of the jokes this week). But whether you dress her up like the Katherine Brooke from Anne of Avonlea or like Notorious RBG, our girl Bea Benadaret was a hottie.
Hollywood, incidentally, sucks.
Miss Lewis: As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Ritter is the bee’s knees.
Lucy is shocked – Miss Lewis? Feeling attraction?
Miss Lewis: Just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s no fire in the furnace.
Lucy is even more shocked. Miss Lewis? Feeling a burning sensation?
Apparently Lucy thinks you hit middle age and suddenly believe in cooties again. I’d like to take her to a nursing home today where she could learn all the ins and outs of gonorrhea.
Miss Lewis wants to invite Mr. Ritter – the building’s grocer – to supper so they can do it every which way. But she’s shy, so she gives Lucy a note to pass on to him.
Ricky comes in and Miss Lewis leaves. Either she DOES believe in cooties or she knows Ricky is about to be a total dick and she doesn’t want to deal with dicks until she has Mr. Ritter where she wants him.
The Ricardos are pretty patronizing behind Miss Lewis’ back. They call her grandma and smirk at the idea she might find love. NEWS FLASH, ASSHOLES: People grow old and die, and you’re people, so maybe stop laughing at other human beings’ complex emotional lives.
Ricky then jokes about how horrible it is to be married and tells Lucy not to pass the note on to the grocer. In a stunning display of hypocrisy, he argues she shouldn’t get involved in other people’s affairs.
Wanting, oh, I dunno, a tiny bit of agency in the isolated factory farm that is her day-to-day life, Lucy says she’d like to help her friend and pass the note on to the grocer.
So he tells her she’s being a child, and then says he’s going to throw her over his knee and spank her, but she interrupts him before he can finish because even Lucy is like, “The fuuuuuuuuck you talking about?”
That’s when she tries to leave, he grabs her, throws her over his lap, and spanks her repeatedly.
You know, Ballers, this moment is so upsetting, so totally cray cray fucked up nutzo, that I remember why I started this blog in the first place. I adore this show, but what the blazing fuck. Audiences young and old were eating this shit up by 1952, and I can’t help but wonder how scenes like this might have affected some people’s views on women and marriage for decades to come.
In the next scene, Lucy decides not to sit because she’s in too much pain. How do you write a joke about that? Why did the I Love Lucy writers even try?
How can something like that fly through network censors, but they can’t even say the word “pregnant?”
The equivalent today, in my opinion, is cable TV showing a brutal rape scene but not being allowed to describe a consensual sex act using the correct female anatomy. (On many networks, you can’t say “in” + the word “vagina.”) Why the hell is it OK to show violence against women but not even discuss women’s bodies accurately?
With as much deep love as I feel for the cast and crew of I Love Lucy, the truth is any one of about 10 people could have decided not to make that scene happen. None of them did, because it was a different era and it was for laughs and the entertainment world is shit and I’m moving to a farm and raising goats and sheep and babies and teaching them all sex-positive education and mating habits so this won’t happen to any other mammal on my watch.
Here we reach the end of my rant, Ballers. I’m still ranting in my head, but this is a satire and so back to business.
Back to the ageist, lady-slapping slime pit that is classic television.
Lucy goes to Miss Lewis’ place and tells Mr. Ritter someone has feelings for him. In a classic example of the male ego gone awry, he assumes she means herself. She doesn’t, and she tells him this over and over, but he still chases her around the room and starts to feel a bit like a predator, until he goes FULL predator and pushes her up against a wall and grabs at her body.
Where the fuck is Ethel? Lucy is having one shitshow of a morning.
So now Mr. Ritter thinks he’s coming over for dinner, where he and Lucy will announce to Ricky that she’s divorcing him. Um, I think they’ll have to consummate their affair beforehand, because spousal abuse wasn’t a legal reason for divorce in New York State until 1966.
Lucy really doesn’t want to deal with this douchebag anymore, and frankly, she’s had a day. She just wants to sit on the couch with a huge glass of vodka mixed with a tablespoon of that freshly squeezed juice from breakfast and forget life is even happening.
So Lucy finds out from Miss Lewis everything Mr. Ritter hates, and that night, she does it all. She’s a horrible cook, she’s messy, she pretends to have 31 children. It’s all very funny.
Mr. Ritter won’t give up, though. He sees the mess and thinks Manic Pixie Dream Girl. He sees the kids and thinks Angelina Jolie.
He won’t leave her. He grabs her to prove it. Guys, don’t do that.
Ricky, who has been informed of the situation by Miss Lewis, walks in and acts like nothing has happened at all.
Ricky then trades Lucy to the grocer for a case of lima beans and calls her a “glorious hunk of stuff.” I want to give him a glorious hunk of my fist in his face, but he’s fictional and I still need to cool off some.
Finally Lucy escapes. Miss Lewis comes in, and Mr. Ritter gets to find out what it’s like to be on the other end of a run-in with a sexual predator. Miss Lewis chases him all over the place, then does a horrible rendition of hip-swaying and eye-batting.
In the end, Mr. Ritter gives in. He’s like, “Whatever, I already took like 6 Viagras so what else am I gonna do tonight?”
They leave hand-in-hand.
Now, don’t judge. Sure, this has all the makings of a very dysfunctional relationship. But I guarantee they’ll still last longer than Chris and Whitney did after last season’s finale of The Bachelor.
And even with the physical intimidation and delusional ego, this guy is still waaay better than Fred.
Join me next week for S01 E16: Lucy Fakes Illness. New posts every Friday!