Original Air Date: February 16, 1953
Hey Ballers! It’s election day down in Alabama, and would you believe it? Our next episode of I Love Lucy is an election episode. In honor of my mother’s home state, I’m going to give credit to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for bringing an election episode on election day. There is simply no other explanation for this miracle. Now let’s share some sweet tea and bitch about the new assistant pastor.
I’ll also pre-empt anyone’s fears. Yes, this is the episode where Little Ricky appears for the first time (in a bundle). No, I’m not going to make a Roy Moore-dates-babies joke. That would be obvious, exaggerated, and frankly, gross. I’m going to make a Roy Moore and malls joke instead, because that’s a hotter take.
Lastly, thoughts and prayers to all y’all voters out there today. Remember, no matter what you decide or how bad it might make you look, Alabamians invented windshield wipers and the portable electric hearing aid, and no one can ever take that away from you.
We open on Ricky holding a baby. A BABY! That’s right, THE BABY IS HOME! Lucy is back, sitting in a hot toilet sitz bath keeping her anal fissures at bay.
Nope JK she went out shopping because babies do not change the fundamental truths about a person, and shopping is Lucy’s fundamental truth.
Sadly, the baby looks like a flower bouquet or maybe a wrapped turkey.
Ethel comes in looking for Lucy:
Ethel: The Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League is meeting on Friday this week.
Ricky: Why couldn’t you meet on Wednesday?
Ethel: We tried that but no one could make it.
Then out of nowhere the three-week-old starts talking. That baby sounds like Harvey Fierstein threw up a gremlin and they both started singing “Down in Fraggle Rock.” Do they accept return orders on these things?
Ricky recommends cancelling the club altogether, and he’s not wrong. The Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League (or, perhaps, WAFAL) is neither fine, nor artsy, nor a league. And it doesn’t meet on Wednesday. It’s nonsense, like that baby’s weird alien noises.
Then we move into a flashback. These keep happening because Lucille Ball was on maternity leave at the time. In preparation, they filmed some episodes in advance so she could have time to recover from her real-life birth of Desi Arnaz, Jr. (Because despite what TV tells you, bitch ain’t out shopping. She’s sitting on that hot toilet sitz bath keeping her anal fissures at bay!)
WAFAL wants a clubhouse. Ricky wants them to meet on the back fence “like the other cats do.” What does that even mean? Does he mean they keep themselves clean and are hard to please and particular about where they poop because if that’s women hear us roar.
Lucy got an amazing sweater and bag that cost her three months’ worth of allowance, and all the women love it. Pay attention, for it returns later like some haunted cashmere ghost.
Lucy wants to vote in Ruth Knickerbocker, while Ethel thinks she’s quiet and mousy. But apparently Ruth has a punch bowl with a ton of cups, so they let her in. This is what I keep trying to explain to my husband when he wants me to Marie Kondo the punch bowl away. I clutch that crystal monstrosity to my chest and tell him I NEED THIS TO KEEP MY FRIENDS.
WAFAL Member: Have you heard the dirt about Marian?
Lucy: Marian Strong?
WAFAL Member: Yes! You know how she’s always trying to pretend she’s “somebody?” Well she got her come-uppance. I ran into her in the street the other day, and she had on the most – MARIAN!!!
They start gossiping about Marian, and then Marian comes in and you realize these are the women who hate women. These are the ones with the fresh new Medium post about how we’re in a warlock hunt right now and women should learn to take a rape joke.
Lucy keeps hoping for a nomination. But when they don’t give her one, she talks down all the positions as being beneath her, because screw these people. She was also gonna be Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, but she wouldn’t agree to an interview. SAD!
And then they nominate Ethel for president.
Any of us who have best friends know how awful it is when they succeed or experience happiness. So naturally, Lucy stands and asks for more nominations – you know, to be fair and everything. This isn’t Lucy’s best moment. In fact, this is a high speed train wreck that will end in flames the color of Lucy’s hair.
Lucy: I would like to caucus.
Lucy: Didn’t you watch the conventions on television?
No. No, Lucy, this is WAFAL, not NARAL. These women permanently elected their representatives on their wedding day.
They all start fighting while Lucy takes a fellow member into the kitchen and gives her fabulous sweater away. She quite literally strips for the job and gets the nomination. If we demanded that as a country, we’d have Martin O’Malley as president right now, and you’d hear zero complaints from me. “We just chose whoever was hottest” is a lot better than “Boom oops the world just ended.”
The next day, Lucy and Ethel gather with Ricky and Fred to play cards. If both women leave that room with their eyes still in their sockets, we should make them secretaries of state.
Their husbands show off their wives’ campaign slogans:
“Happy you will be with Lucy, cast your vote and wait till you see.”
But they get gradually worse:
“Nertz to Mertz!”
“A vote for the redhead is a vote for a deadhead.”
Really low, but also sorta true? Like how these days the slogans say “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T VOTE FOR THE PEDOPHILE!”
And then a huge fight ensues. Both of these women will connive their way to the top to win the coveted presidency and its all-powerful control of the 13-person WAFAL gang.
Lucy and her friend take a poll, and it’s tied 6-6. Maybe they should try pandering to the Jewish vote. LOLOLOL just kidding. Jews weren’t allowed in this club.
Ricky is eating pork and beans (see? not into Jews) out of a can, presumably because Lucy and Ethel are so busy campaigning and Ricky can’t make himself anything besides an open can of mush. No PB&J, no grilled cheese. Not even a damn banana. This man is going to be a father and if Lucy gets stuck in traffic one day, his entire family will starve to death.
Ruth Knickerbocker is the tiebreaker for the WAFAL election. So Ethel and Lucy have been busy taking her all over town, wining and dining her like a couple of lobbyists.
Fred: Just think how involved my life will be if Ethel is president of that club!
Ricky: Just think how involved my life is with Lucy just being Lucy. Boy, she’s not going to be elected president of that club if I can help it.
He brainstorms some way to torpedo Lucy’s ambitions. Might I recommend tapping into a systemic culture of harassment and abuse? It’s worked for you before. He decides to sway the Knickerbocker vote. So he calls information.
Ricky: I don’t know how to spell it. Maybe Nikerboker?
Hey! That’s my IKEA desk lamp!
But Ms. Knickerbocker has a date with Fred Mertz already.
Later at the club, both men try to sway Ms. Knickerbocker away from voting for their wife. Ricky romances her by singing about Havana and how broke he is carrying people around in his taxi. Yes, nothing gets rich, white Upper East Side socialites going like a poor latino cab driver begging for “dinero.”
He starts singing seductively to Ms. Knickerbocker and then brings her up to dance.
Ricky features Ms. Knickerbocker more than he’d ever feature Lucy in his show, and all for the goal of making sure this stranger votes against his wife and allows him to retain his power as husband.
This is some serious Francis Underwood shit.
But then Lucy and Ethel come in. It turns out the club tied the vote, and both women won. And somehow Ethel is gracious about it. Her crap friend stole half the glory from her but she just smiles and holds it in until Christmas, when she can finally ask Santa for some better friends.
And then they find out the boys have been seducing the wrong Knickerbocker. They’ve been going after Ruth’s elderly mother-in-law. But because of rich white women’s classist, racist fetish for the exotic, the impoverished taxi driver act totally worked. That horny MILILF is ready to take her Cuban singer home and be una chica sucia por toda la casa.
As for WAFAL, they’re screwed. They should disband immediately. Lucy and Ethel running a club together makes that club by its nature corrupted and a danger to world affairs. They will not rule in dignity like the Narnia kids, let’s be clear. This is no benevolent dictatorship. They will likely not concede the next election, which will lead the group into constitutional crisis and cause a permanent rift, if not all-out civil war.
Hopefully Lucy survives, because otherwise Ricky is just gonna feed that baby canned pork and beans every meal until he’s a teenager and inevitably takes his father to court to demand full emancipation.
And when his claim goes to trial and becomes a groundbreaking moment for the future of family law, we can just hope and pray we’ve elected good judges. Or at the very least, that by then Ricky’s children still live far, far away from a certain judge in the great state of Alabama.