Lucille Ball Essay

2565 words - 11 pages

Carter 1Breanna CarterSmith-ParrisEnglish 1000/84May 4, 2014The "Funny Girl" on Suburban America: The Impact of Lucille BallToday, the coined term "nuclear family", refers to the ideal white husband and wife, along with their well-behaved children, that life in the lovely suburban neighborhood with a loving home and a white picket fence. There was a lot of hype that this was the "American dream" that every man in America strove for. However, during this era, there was a strong gender divide in what it was to be a man, and what it was to be a woman. Men were the dominant beings, making the money for their families and laying down the rules within their home. Women consisted of the "typical" ...view middle of the document...

Prior to this era, information and entertainment consisted of newspapers and radio broadcasts. People began tuning in daily to consume the entertainment that came along with television, at one point pushing I Love Lucy to the highest watched television show of the decade. David Halberstam continued,"At the same time, the line between what happened in real life and what people see on television began to merge… Nothing showed the power of this new medium to soften the edge between real life and fantasy better than the coming of Lucille Ball" (Landay 32).The lives portrayed on television embodied the lifestyle so many Americans lived daily, but how accurate was this portrayal and what differences did Lucille Ball have in comparison to the millions that tuned in to watch? As a cultural icon, Ball was able to utilize her power and ideas to shape herself as the woman she wanted to be portrayed as on screen. Was there another side off? Like majority of celebrities, there is always two sides to someone or two a story, but whether the other side is made public is something of its own.Starring Lucille Ball as "Lucy", and her husband Desi Arnaz, the sitcom I Love Lucy would allow the two would shine a light onto the lifestyles that many Americans of the era could relate to. Ball was the "funny girl"; the housewife that was outspoken, but at the end of the day would look to her husband for guidance or help out of any sort of trouble. In 1956, the I Love Lucy episode entitled Home From Europe, had Lucy and her loved ones returning home from a long vacation in Europe. Lucy wanted to bring a 30-pound block of cheese to her mother, but her husband is not willing to pay the extra charge for baggage. In the end, Lucy ends up bringing the cheese anyway, but disguised as a baby, which inevitably bring chaos to her and those with her (Home From Europe). Using the little power she had within the show, Lucy's actions led to domestic disputes with her husband Ricardo. The tiffs made the couple more relatable to the public eye, agreeing with the point made by Landay in saying that the gap between reality and television was diminishing. It was these that brought viewers back each week. Within each episode, Lucy goes against her husband's wishes, knowing that it could and most likely does lead to trouble later. Within a marriage there are bound to be arguments between a husband and his wife. As many as Ricardo and Lucy? No, but the realism of their marriage portrayed on I Love Lucy allowed the young suburban housewives to tune in and make little steps in going against their husbands, just like Lucy had.The outspoken and humorous wife with her own personality was a characteristic that many chose to bury deep within themselves. Deliberately going against her husband separated Ball's character from the millions that watched her weekly, but even then there was a boundary that could not be too far crossed. Rosie White of Northumbria University, known for her work...

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