Original Air Date: December 8, 1952
We open on Lucy preparing her purse to go to the doctor because she’s been feeling “dauncy.” I dunno what dauncy means, but I’m assuming it means blatantly lacking a period because our girl is pregnant.
She doesn’t know it, though. She sleeps in a twin bed… I doubt she knows her body all that well.
Maybe the censors cut the line where she says, “I mean I’m three weeks late but then I haven’t had a heavy period since I started the pill and besides I wouldn’t be able to tell anyway because I put an extra large diva cup in a few days early this time.”
Ethel: Maybe you need a liver shot?
(Kids these days call them Jager Bombs.)
Husband:1950’s medicine was just short of putting leeks on your arm.
Me: That would be delicious.
Husband: Are you gonna write what I actually meant?
Of course the audience knows Lucy is “having a baby.” It was all over the news at the time. But they weren’t allowed to say “pregnant” or even “expecting.” The censors rightfully knew that whenever people think of babies they think of sex. And by people I mean Donald Trump.
Lucy comes back from the doctor elated.
Lucy: Ethel, we’re going to have a baby.
Ethel: We are!? I’ve never had a baby before. (Fred and I just hold hands and that’s awful enough.)
Lucy’s super excited to tell Ricky her own way, and she tells Ethel to keep it a secret.
Today Lucy would plan some elaborate flash mob that would result in her falling into a fountain and about 37 million YouTube views.
But back in 1952, all she wants is to sit on Ricky’s lap and tell him nicely. Ricky has other plans.
Lucy: How’s everything, darling?
Ricky: Everything’s terrible. Nothing good happened today.
Fifty bucks says Ricky comes home like this every damn day.
Lucy sits on his lap but gets interrupted by the phone. Ricky answers, threatens to sue a guy, and then says he might move back to Cuba and work a plantation.
Haha good luck with that, Ricky. Cuba is just dying to hand your family back the farm it stole.
Ricky: I don’t like to get you all involved in my affairs, but you should be happy you’re a woman.
Lucy: I am.
Ricky: Believe me, if you traded places with me, you’d be surprised.
Lucy: If you traded places with me, YOU’D be surprised.
Ricky wouldn’t last 5 minutes in a woman’s body. One overnight with cramps and he’d shoot himself in the head.
Fred and Ethel interrupt. Ricky drags Fred in and starts lecturing him about how much better Fred’s life is than his, too. The frustrating part of this episode is how a guy like Ricky gets to make more of himself.
Ricky eventually rushes out, angry about union business, and tells Lucy:
Ricky: Use your own judgement. If you think it’s a good thing, go ahead with it.
Pssh like she really has a CHOICE in 1952.
So Ricky is gone and Lucy’s stuck dealing with the baby stuff all alone. Some might call that orientation for the next 18 years of her life.
Fred comes in with a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio. They laugh him off, but that ball is worth $700 today. That would almost cover one semester of books at college, so who’s laughing now?
Fred: Nothing too good for little Fred.
Ethel: You mean little Ethel.
OK so now we go to the club. Important update on that: Nancy the Harpist is on the right side now after they redecorated. I wonder if Nancy had kids. I hope so. The world needs more Nancy the Harpists. I’ll bet her children are neurosurgeons by day and poets by night. I’ll bet they speak with interchangeable British and French accents. I’ll bet they use cardamom and only drink pour-overs. I’ll bet they carry NPR tote bags for their groceries as backup for their fair trade woven baskets because they’re that fucking cool.
Oh boy we get to watch Ricky sing. He hears his own voice and he’s suddenly in a better mood.
Lucy comes to the club to tell him the news, but she keeps getting interrupted. So Ricky silences everyone and tells them to listen to whatever Lucy has to say. Even Nancy’s listening.
Then when Lucy gets upset and leaves.
Ricky: You try understanding women.
No, YOU TRY. By listening.
And finally: the climactic scene, one of the most iconic scenes in classic television history.
Lucy’s crying. I’m crying. You’re crying. Shut up YOU’RE crying.
Here’s what gets me every time about this scene: Lucy is so overcome, and for this brief moment in her life, she really does have it all. This was her second child after a long and frustrating time trying. She and Desi hadn’t always been happy together, but they were then. Her show was historically popular and she was nationally beloved. She had, for one moment, that bliss we all imagine where everything comes together all at once, like the last piece of a puzzle. And that moment was captured on camera for us.
Sadly it all falls apart…
Ricky: (Singing) By and by, when he grows / Maybe he’ll live in the White House.
…when their sweet Cuban son grows up to be the Zodiac Killer / Ted Cruz.
Join me next week for S02 E11: Pregnant Women Are Unpredictable. New posts on Fridays!