Lucy & Ethel – A Retrospective Appreciation

By: Corey Washburn

I thoroughly enjoyed watching I Love Lucy for last week’s lessons – and have always had an appreciation of Lucy and Ethel’s relationship, but gained a new one after watching them in last week’s episodes as I thought about the ways in which their lively, light-hearted relationship is still applicable to my life in 2016 as a 22-year-old.

Lucy and Ethel’s relationship, as Huffington Post states, was far beyond its time. Lucille Ball herself, as the article also discusses, was extremely revolutionary for her time – proven at the very least through the fact that she still receives praise for her work today. As Rookie Magazine writes: “But even though it was sometimes Lucy and Ethel versus the world (or just Ricky and Fred), they always cooperated with each other. They were around the same age, from similar economic backgrounds, and were both happily married. Their relationship existed on an essentially even playing field, so stereotypical female competitiveness plots – over men or status – never entered the picture. Whether they were snooping, spying, scheming, or going on wild adventures, their relationship was a source of constant mutual support.”lucyandethel.jpg

While Lucy and Ethel represent, at many times, a conformation to conventional women-of-the-house, they also relate in many ways to the working women of today, and portray a beautiful friendship riddled with child-like mischief and appealing comedy to even today’s female (and male) audience. Lucy and Ethel take the rawness of friendship and portray it beautifully, as if it were only the two of them on the whole show.

ethel's birthday.jpg     Still from I Love Lucy’s “Ethel’s Birthday.”

In today’s funny friendships, romantic relationships, social inequalities, and often competitiveness often interfere. Lucy and Ethel remind us what it means to take friendship to the basics and enjoy life’s funny speed-bumps while making the most of them.

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7 Responses to Lucy & Ethel – A Retrospective Appreciation

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I love this blog post! I agree that Lucy and Ethel’s strong friendship prove that their identities were as closely tied to each other as to their husbands…which I think was really progressive at the time!

    Stephanie Rubin

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I loved Lucy and Ethels relationship. In fact I think they are probably the main characters of the show more than Ricky. They were so close to one another and treated each other like sisters. I feel like it was progressive, but at the same time not, because I’m sure women had close friends at the time.

    Laya Mohan

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Lucy and Ethel for the win! They set the standard for female friendships in comedy. We can look to Friends to see their impact on Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe. The idea that women can be friends, independent, and subvert ideology, started with Lucy and Ethel, and thank god for it!
    — Serena Daya

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I totally agree that Lucy and Ethel’s relationship is a main focus of the show and a large part of its success! It is easy to forget Ethel because of the feminist strides Lucy is making, but Ethel is often right beside her making these strides as well. This friendship, like you said, is so different from female friendships we often see on television now with competitive jealousy that has the daily potential to ruin said friendship. It is refreshing to look back at Lucy and Ethel as the way we should strive to support and uplift our female friends and their goals.
    -Lacey Worsham

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I love the relationship Lucy and Ethel had as well! It was so charming and loving and kind. It’s funny that I felt like they were more like soul-mates than I felt Lucy and Ricky were! But perhaps sometimes our friends understand us better than any romantic partner ever could! I think Lucy and Ethel’s friendship is one of the best aspects of the show, and is one of the reasons why I Love Lucy was such a hit. – Kelsey Sierra

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I absolutely love this. I think it emphasizes a point that my best friend and I talk about all the time, that our society today still struggles with- why do we put all the emphasis on romantic relationships? Relationships with best friends and family are also so important, meaningful, and critical to our social and spiritual happiness.

    Karly Morgan

  7. marymdalton says:

    Couldn’t help but notice that all the comments are from women!

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