OR: Lucy Shows Her Stems
Happy Friday, Ballers!
Enough with the chit chat.
We open on Ricky looking through a bunch of papers as the rest of the gang enters. Lucy wants him to hurry up because “the picture starts at 8:22.” That’s awfully specific. Was that really how it worked back in the 50s? No wonder people hate millennials. A millennial hears “8:22” and has a panic attack mixed with a peanut allergy.
Ricky can’t go, though. He’s having trouble finding acts. He needs a ballerina and two comics.
Lucy can do it, she pleads! This won’t be like the other 18 times (we’re on episode 19). Ricky says no for the 35th time (we’re on episode 19).
Lucy: Give me one good reason.
Ricky: You have no talent.
Lucy: Give me another good reason.
She claims she knows ballet and was even in a recital in high school. Fred points out that she does have “nice stems.”
Like all us women should, she appreciates this unsolicited male opinion about her body and says, “Thank you.”
Ricky doesn’t think she’s a good fit, because apparently the former prima ballerina of the Paris Ballet or something is staging this. Oh for fuck’s sake. They’re still renting their one-bedroom apartment. He’s not that big a deal.
Lucy has her old ballet costume in her costume trunk, which is the second time they’ve mentioned having special storage for their costumes. I used to think they should declutter. But she uses it as often as the rest of us use the bathroom, so I guess I take it back.
Ricky asks Fred what do with Lucy. Fred recommends putting her in a basket and leaving her on someone’s doorstep. I guess because she’s a baby? But he just said he likes her stems. So he’s a pedophile. I win.
Lucy comes out as Petunia Ricardo and dances pretty well if she was on drugs. She’s not, of course.
Ricky: Well you’ll do for the comic but who am I gonna get for the ballet dancer?
Lucy swears she’ll find a way into the show, and the next morning, she does. She tells the choreographer she’s a great dancer.
In reality, Lucille Ball was a chorus girl. But Lucy Ricardo is a tutu-clad pile of poop on legs.
This whole scene is very funny and a bit famous so I’m including it below.
**NOTE: The choreographer is played by Mary Wickes, who’s a bit of a Hollywood legend and one of Lucy’s best friends. Didn’t know that? Maybe you should be reading my Episode Watch Party posts every Wednesday!)**
What I want to know is what the fuck are those dudes wearing? Apparently 1950’s male ballet dancers had to wear work khakis and women’s button up shirts tied in a knot? Was that really necessary? They look like boys doing an offensive, old-fashioned drag routine (you know, like the whole premise of the show “Work It”… in 2012).
Anyway it turns out Ricky went ahead and hired a ballet dancer, so her whole plan goes to shit and she has to settle for being a comic. Which is actually the backstory of every comic.
Unfortunately, “comic’ in the 1950’s didn’t mean Amy Schumer. It meant a clown who talks.
And he only wants to work with a dude. Fortunately Lucy convinces him to act with her, even though she has the serious handicap of a gaping hole between her legs.
But at least this guy knows the appropriate use of makeup:
The comic tells a charming story about how he discovered some stranger was banging his wife, and how he stalked them all over the world. And how whenever he hears his bitch wife’s name he’s overcome with a murderous rage and violently assaults people. And how he has a terrible mental illness he can’t control and needs help.
You know, clown stuff.
So Lucy learns the routine, which is called “Slowly I Turn” and is basically just a clown doing mean things to anyone who says the name Martha. It ends with a pie in Lucy’s face.
That’s always been my dream. The best would be either lemon meringue or pavlova, with whipped cream on top and no fruit. In my dream, it would happen at a house party I’m throwing, and I’d run into the bedroom fake-crying, where I would eat it.
Come to think of it, I could just make a pie and eat it straight up.
Next Ricky performs with background dancing. So this episode we get ballet, clowning, a concert, and another ballet. CBS really gave people a bang for their buck, back in the day. This was long before the infected wound that is Two and Half Men.
Husband: Oh good we get to hear Ricky perform.
Me: Were you being sarcastic?
And here’s where everything comes together: One of the ballet dancers falls sick, and Ricky is backstage uncertain of what to do. Ethel calls Lucy and tells her to get down there to do the act.
Lucy: You mean “Slowly I Turn?”
Ethel: Yeah, all that turning stuff.
Lucy rushes out! No time to waste! There’s a show to ruin!
This episode, our lady harpist gets MAJOR AIRTIME. I’ve learned a lot more about her this week, Ballers. For starters, her name is Nancy. From now on, I will call her Nancy. Unlike that weird Desi Arnaz orchestra site that still calls her “the lady” even though they know the names of EVERY OTHER BAND MEMBER.
So Ricky’s up there singing a song called “Martha,” and you can see where this is headed.
He’s also holding a dose of 1950’s Singer’s Saving Grace – a cigarette – and smoking between stanzas. Even this guy’s lungs are arrogant.
So the ballet dancers come out first, and then Lucy runs out as a clown without even checking where they are in the show.
And she’s SO IN CHARACTER that she simply MUST assault people when she hears the name Martha. This girl should really give up method acting before she kills someone.
But the best part of all of this is whatever the fuck she’s hitting people with. Guys, I’m totally serious – that thing is an actual nut sack.
To end the performance, Lucy throws a pie right in Ricky’s face on his final note. So back home, Ricky pranks her by hiding a water bucket over the door.
And she laughs it off and says, “Now we’re even!” And they kiss.
HOW ARE THEY EVEN? She still can’t be in show business, and now she has to clean up a whole bucket of water. Ricky got a free pie out of the deal. This is some bullshit.
Join me next week for S01 E20: The Young Fans. New posts every Friday!