As I’ve mentioned before, I Love Lucy is something my entire family loves and it is one of the rare shows I watch on a near daily basis. Some may think I started watching I Love Lucy because it’s about a Latino married to a gringa but I’ve been watching it since I was a little girl, which makes me wonder if it had some hand in the destiny I pursued.
After I got married, I Love Lucy took on new meaning to me, and it was one of the first shows I introduced Carlos to. Surprisingly, he never saw it in El Salvador, although they had a dubbed version of everything from Friends, Saved By the Bell, and Golden Girls to Smurfs, Beverly Hills 90210, Dukes of Hazzard and MacGyver.
As I watch this show with my boys, sometimes I forget that our sons are growing up in a household similar to the one on the screen – similar to the one “Little Ricky” grew up in – bicultural, bilingual, Spanish-speaking father and an Anglo mother. It doesn’t matter how often I watch and re-watch I Love Lucy, I never quite get over how completely ahead of their time they were. It’s strange to me that my boys can’t fully relate to any characters on today’s TV shows, yet they can relate to I Love Lucy which aired in the 1950’s.
Where are today’s bicultural, bilingual, Spanglish speaking characters? There definitely aren’t enough. I’ll admit that children’s programming has come a long way and Latinos are well-represented in cartoons, but my boys aren’t exactly Dora the Explorer’s target audience anymore. Mun2 and Tr3s, likewise, have done an amazing job with bilingual shows like RPM Miami and Quiero Mi Boda, but the themes are much too mature for adolescents. Where is the programming for the modern familia Latina? Where is the show that will do for Latinos what The Cosby Show did for blacks? Where are the sitcoms for families like us, or are we supposed to be content with re-runs of The George Lopez show?
Until then, I Love Lucy makes us feel that we are normal, at least as much as a bicultural, bilingual household can be.