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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I Love Lucy is a still-hilarious (and ubiquitous) 1950s comedy classic that is entirely tame by contemporary standards, though some episodes do show the characters smoking or drinking. In one famous episode, Lucy gets more and more drunk as she films a commercial for Vegameatavitamin, showing alcohol consumption in a funny light. Also, old-fashioned family stereotypes (like the clueless housewife and the patronizing husband) form the basis of the show's narrative structure, and some racial stereotyping occurs, with Ricky's Cuban accent often becoming the butt of jokes.
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What's the story?
As Lucy Ricardo in I LOVE LUCY, Lucille Ball charms audiences with her clownish pranks and vaudevillian charades, She stars alongside her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, who plays Lucy's husband, Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo. In a running theme of the series, Lucy tries all manner of disguises and tricks to gain a part in Ricky's nightclub show. William Frawley and Vivian Vance co-star as their neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz, who are often recruited into Lucy's many schemes. In one classic episode, Lucy and Ethel get jobs on the assembly line at a candy factory. But as the conveyor belt moves faster and faster, the duo can't keep up. So Lucy pops passing candies into her mouth as fast as she can -- and hilarity ensues.
Is it any good?
Despite its dated references and old-fashioned family dynamics, this show remains hilariously entertaining. Lucille Ball was one of the greatest comic actors of all time and so her physical comedy is timeless. Her antics in this pioneering show have made I Love Lucy one of the top sitcoms in TV history. If younger viewers can get past the black-and-white presentation, even the littlest kids will enjoy her goofy faces and silly mishaps.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between families in the 1950s and today. What do kids notice was different in the '50s, as demonstrated by I Love Lucy?
How have things changed for the better (or the worse)? Specifically, how have the roles of women and minorities changed? What changes have parents been most affected by?
What makes Lucille Ball so funny?
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