Here’s a witty compilation from a Youtube poster, a tongue-in-cheek look at advice for a happy marriage from I Love Lucy. The areas of advice are (1) discuss things kindly, (2) never lose you temper, (3) listen to your partner, (4) be honest, (5) be considerate, (6) appreciate your spouse’s work, and (7) never let the flame go cold. Sounds like good advice to me! Of course, when it comes to Lucille and Desi, nothing is that simple. This is one of the most well-known and popular couples in pop culture history. What do you think: do they have a good marriage?
It’s interesting to see the differences in the accepted roles of man and wife 50 years ago versus today. Desi is in control of the finances; Lucy gets an allowance from him. Lucy doesn’t work and is portrayed as a relatively childish, trouble-making girl who is always causing disasters. The two have separate beds! The spouses are constantly playing games with each other in an endless loop of give and take. They insult each other openly. Desi appears to physically threaten Lucy many times, although they never have any violent moments.
When I really think about it, much of the marriages portrayed in the show are disturbing. So what makes them so funny and enjoyable at the same time?
What I like about I Love Lucy, when I get past the sexist faux-pas, is that Lucy is feisty and independent and Desi is infinitely patient. They seem like equals. And they always manage to resolve their problems in a loving and forgiving manner. There’s a lot of passion and understanding between them and they do seem to have a happy marriage.
There’s always danger analyzing something meant to be funny in a serious way because, after all, comedy works by exaggerating normal behavior. Still, it’s fodder for some interesting conversation. So check out this clip and chime in. What rubs you the wrong way about their relationship? What do you like? Is this still, or was it ever, a good model for a happy marriage?