I Love Lucy S01 E017 – Lucy Writes a Play

(Or: Lucy writes two plays)

**Get the WTFacts here first!**

OMG, Ballers. OMG OMG. This week Lucy writes a play. And when I’m not making the big bucks writing Lucy satire, I have a lucrative career as a playwright.

This is going to be so. much. fun.

We open on Lucy surrounded by books and a typewriter. It looks like “Lucy Goes to Medical School” but that episode never happened because it would have been a break in natural law.

She’s acting out a scene as she writes it, and she looks like a maniac. I actually do this while I’m writing, and it can get a little weird. One time my friend Geoff walked into work while I was practicing a battle scene, and I acted like I was looking out the window talking on bluetooth. Pretty sure he didn’t believe me.

Not the first time she's been in this position on this couch...

Not the first time she’s been in this position on this couch…

So then Ricky comes in to brag about himself. He doesn’t even say hi. And Lucy acts out her own death, which is what I want to do every time I hear that airbag.

Lucy: And there it is! Finished!

Hon, that’s just the first draft. Now go revise, you lazy amateur.

Lucy explains how she’s preparing for a big playwriting conference for her Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League.

Ethel enters, ready to rehearse, in a Spanish señora costume she designed. Hand it to Ethel, girl can design costumes. Remember her work in the seance episode? She’s found her niche in culturally insensitive attire.

Rich white people have too much time on their hands.

Rich white people have too much time on their hands.

Lucy wrote the play in two hours, and it’s a drama. It took me months to finish my last play. So… one of the two of us is a fraud. I’ll give you a minute to guess.

Lucy: Now remember, Ethel, I am a gorgeous, dark-eyed beauty and you’re my fat old crone of a mother.

Vivian Vance is like yeah, you remind me backstage every day.

They start rehearsal and Ethel can’t read the script because of all the typos. My writer’s group would put up with this crap for about 2 minutes.

Then Ricky comes in eating a sandwich, because this show deserves less respect than tuna on rye. What an asshole.

In case you haven’t already assumed, this play is more contrived than A Deadly Adoption, and Lifetime wrote that thing with a color-by-number template. But it turns out the lack of plot doesn’t matter: it’s written as a vanity piece for Ricky, and even has “Babalu” written into the lines.

S01 E17 Ricky waves paper

Ricky holds up the paper to say he won’t help his wife. But he’s not beating her with it, so he’s making progress.

Lucy being married to Ricky was the only reason she was allowed to write the play. Typical women writers, sleeping their way to the top.

Ricky refuses, because doing this play might be construed as helping her.

Desperate, Lucy calls a bunch of actors and asks them to perform, but she has no money so they hang up.

Lucy: Actors are certainly peculiar – they won’t work unless you pay them.

Patently FALSE.

You’re just looking in the wrong places. Go down to the Village and catch one of those NYU freshman experimental plays in some basement where the star throws her own poop and screams “PATRIARCHY!” The cast of that will work for free AND bring weed.

Speaking of poop, Fred enters, dressed to play the lead in the film Zorro: The Disappointment. He claims to speak Spanish but can’t, and Lucy is frustrated; but she’s claiming to be a writer so what right does she have to judge???

Fred looks like Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins had a baby and overfed him.

Fred looks like Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins had a baby and overfed him.

Turns out, there’s a big-time film producer judging the competition. Why this poor man is giving up a perfectly good weekday to sit in NYC and watch plays as bad as this is beyond me. Hollywood types are highly unpredictable.

So Fred offers his delightful British accent, and Lucy decides to change the whole play to take place in England.

You know, this is a classic rookie mistake. Setting affects both plot and character, and should move within the play almost like it’s part of the cast. Lucy, call me. I will work with you on this show, pro bono. We’ll make it great.

Cut to Fred, working on his new role. Ricky comes in:

Ricky: Hi Fred! I just came to see if you wanted to go to the fights. You know Lucy’s going to be in that stupid play.

He talks about his wife like he’s a third grader at recess.

Ricky finds out Fred is acting in the play, and he falls to the table laughing.

Ricky’s so egomaniacal he thinks the table is in love with him.

Ricky’s so egomaniacal he thinks the table is in love with him.

So Fred tells him the big-time producer is judging the contest it’s in the morning paper.

The enema with a heartbeat decides to sweet-talk Fred and steal his part.

Ricky: I’m not going to let them make a boob out of you. I’m going to let them make a boob out of me.

You mean the life-giving, milk-secreting glandular organ that inspires art and nurtures most every mother’s child? Because that’s the appropriate definition of boob, you dick.

Ricky: These women’s club plays are terrible, and Lucy’s will be worse than any of them.

He’s winning major points with me this week.

He convinces Fred this is a great opportunity, then tells him not to tell Lucy because heaven forbid she thinks he WANTS to be involved.

Fred reminds Ricky the play will be a flop.

Ricky: Well Fred, you’re forgetting. With me in it, how could it possibly be a flop?

Has Ricky been listening to his ego boost playlist on a loop all day? Someone shut him up.

Sure, Ricky, Fred’s in love with you too. Whatever keeps giving you that swagger.

Sure, Ricky, Fred’s in love with you too. Whatever keeps giving you that swagger.

So this festival is pretty unusual: They’re doing one full length play after another. I once went to three Fringe Festival shows in a row. They were only 40 minutes long and I barely made it through without ripping out my toenails and bleeding to death through my feet. So how in the world did these people make it through “Much Ado About Knitting” without at least pulling the fire alarm and saving themselves from this mess?

They introduce the playwright as Mrs. Ricky Ricardo, and every woman in the Dramatist Guild cries a collective tear. Lucy. You’re name is LUCY.

Lucy has rewritten the play to feel more Jane Austen, but the costuming is a mix between Revolutionary France and a fox hunt at Downton.

Ethel: You’ll take this up with Pater… later.

Lucy: Mater!

Jolly good show so far.

Ricky comes in completely unrehearsed, the arrogant buttworm. He’s dressed in the original costume as a Cuban tobacco picker.

A 1920s British woman tells her Revolutionary French mother she’s in love with a Cuban tobacco picker. In a different playwright’s hands, this might win the Tony.

A 1920s British woman tells her Revolutionary French mother she’s in love with a Cuban tobacco picker. In a different playwright’s hands, this might win the Tony.

They call an emergency intermission and run offstage. Oh to be reviewing theater again.

To keep people entertained, the hostess starts reading Longfellow’s “Hiawatha.” You only THOUGHT this event couldn’t get worse.

So now they start the whole play over again, but in Spanish style. And Ricky comes in dressed like a French tart from Scarlet Pimpernel.

They’ve miscommunicated AGAIN! What a fiasco! They sit down and sort of whine and the curtains close.

Careful, Ricky. If those pants split, Ethel will see your ego.

Careful, Ricky. If those pants split, Ethel will see your ego.

Still, a better play than about 60% of what’s out there.

I ask my husband what the worst play is he ever saw:

Husband: I was in it. It was a children’s show in New York. People hated the director so much they were dropping out throughout the run. We lost about half the actors. And we got to the point where people would tell the director a few hours before the show would go on. And so there were times we’d get up there, and no one would have any clue what was going on, and we were all just trying to follow each other.”

Me: You were in the worst play I ever saw, too. Different play.

Nah, I didn’t say that. Actors can be sensitive. I kept it to myself.


Join me next week for S01 E18: Breaking the Lease. New posts every Friday!

And follow WTF Lucy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Don’t worry, Lucy. You can be whoever you want to be, as long as Ricky says yes.

Don’t worry, Lucy. You can be whoever you want to be, as long as Ricky says yes.

3 thoughts on “I Love Lucy S01 E017 – Lucy Writes a Play

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s