Marriage, I Love Lucy-style

Lucy Ricky argue I Love Lucy

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz argue as Lucy and Ricky on the show I Love Lucy

It seems cliché that I, a gringa married to a Latino, should identify so much with I Love Lucy, but some scenes feel like watching home movies of our marriage that I didn’t know anyone was taking.

One episode in particular gets to me every time it’s on. This same scene, which I’ve seen dozens of times, makes me laugh at the familiarity, but it has also made me cry on occasions.

The episode is called “The Matchmaker“, (not to be confused with “Lucy is a Matchmaker” which is another episode.) In “The Matchmaker” episode, Lucy invites an unmarried couple over for dinner with plans to show them what a happy marriage looks like. Unfortunately, the baby cries, dinner burns, and when Ricky finds out what Lucy is up to, he sabotages the effort by pointing out and exaggerating all the negative aspects of marriage – As a result, Lucy and Ricky have a big argument right in front of their guests.

Ricky Ricardo, I Love Lucy

The next morning Ricky waits at the kitchen table for his breakfast, but Lucy hasn’t forgiven him for ruining everything the night before. Another argument unfolds where some pretty harsh words are spoken.

Lucy, I Love Lucy

Lucy: Well for once I decided not to do what you told me!

Ricky: For once?! You never do what I told you!

Lucy: Then why don’t you quit tolding me?!

Ricky: Ay qué barbaridad, por qué tiene la cabeza mas dura de ninguna mujer que yo conocido en toda la vida entera!?

Lucy: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Spanish names won’t hurt me!

Ricky: Sometimes I wish I never left Cuba!

Lucy: That makes two of us!

Ricky and Lucy fight on I Love Lucy

It’s just a TV show, and yet it’s not. Lucy and Desi’s off-screen marital problems are no secret. They were passionately in love but they couldn’t always get along. I guess it scares me sometimes because Carlos and I are the same way. Even after fourteen years of marriage, our relationship still resembles an episode of I Love Lucy more often than not. Each episode is full of humor, plans gone wrong, misunderstandings, arguments, hurt feelings, and ultimately, the realization that despite it all, they not only love each other – they can’t live without each other.

In this particular episode, after that argument in the kitchen, Ricky goes out, saying he’ll never return. When night falls and he still isn’t home, Lucy begins to wonder if it’s true. At Fred and Ethel’s apartment she seeks comfort and Fred assures Lucy that Ricky is just doing what any man would do – he’s just staying out late enough to give her a good scare.

Lucy crying, I Love Lucy

Lucy decides she’ll give Ricky a scare of his own by not being in their apartment when he returns and sends Fred up there to watch the baby so she can stay downstairs with Ethel. Fred goes upstairs, crawls into Lucy’s bed and falls asleep but soon Ricky has come home with a box of chocolates and flowers.

Ricky brings home candy and flowers, I Love Lucy

Sitting on the edge of his bed, Ricky apologizes to who he thinks is Lucy, but, as we know, is really Fred beneath the blankets.

Ricky apologizes, I Love Lucy

“Lucy, Lucy…” he says sweetly, “I’m home. Sweetheart, I guess I owe you an apology. I shouldn’t have said all those awful things that I said. I was in a bad humor and I just blew my top, that’s all. But darling, you know I love being married to you, honey. You are the dearest, sweetest, most wonderful person in the world. You know, I wasn’t going to come home tonight just to teach you a lesson… And then I got to walking around and I, I started thinking about all the wonderful times that we’ve had together and how much we meant to each other and well… I brought you some flowers and some candy. Honey, I won’t blame you if you never spoke to me again, but sweetheart, please say you forgive me, darling?”

At this point, Fred pops out from beneath the blankets, and Lucy and Ethel appear, laughing, having overheard the whole thing. Embarrassed and angry, Ricky puts his hat and coat back on, ready to leave once again. Lucy blocks the door and begs him to stay.

Lucy begs Ricky to stay, I Love Lucy

Just at that moment, the doorbell rings – it’s a telegram from the unmarried couple they had invited for dinner at the beginning of the episode. Lucy reads the telegram aloud:

“We figured if you two characters could put up with each other for thirteen years there must be something to this marriage business so we’re giving it a try.”

Everyone laughs, Ricky and Lucy kiss, and they all live happily ever after… until the next episode.

I Love Lucy heart - blank

Note: All images are screen captures of video still frames. The rights to I Love Lucy are owned by CBS.

History of Spanglish + A Spanglish version of Little Red Riding Hood

Sometimes we think of Spanglish as a modern invention – something that the younger generation has created as the Latino population grows in the United States and American culture becomes increasingly popular in Latin America. The truth is, Spanglish has been around a long time. The term, “Spanglish” was first coined by a Puerto Rican linguist named Salvador Tió in the late 1940s. Tió also came up with the word “inglañol” – which is not nearly as popular, (my guess is because it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the same way.)

While the term “Spanglish” first started being used in the late 1940′s, its roots go much further back to the 1800′s, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the 100,000 Mexicans left on the new U.S. side of the border – Mexicans who later became known as “Chicanos.”

Honestly, while I suspected the origins of Spanglish to be something similar to what I found, I wasn’t prompted to research it until recently. Watching I Love Lucy with my little boy before he goes to school is one of my favorite parts of the day. An episode called “Ricky Minds the Baby” aired one morning and in this episode, Ricky tells the story of “Caperucita Roja” (Little Red Riding Hood), to Little Ricky – and he tells it entirely in very charming and amusing Spanglish.

1/18/54: “Ricky Minds the Baby”
I Love Lucy Episode 80 – Filmed 12/3/53
Story: Ricky decides that Lucy deserves a rest, so he offers to take care of Little Ricky.

Links:

Hispanicla.com – Spanglish I
Living in Spanglish: The Search for Latino Identity in America By Ed Morales
Wikipedia – Spanglish
Latinaish – Spanglish Songs
About.com: Caperucita Roja – Vocabulary