Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ruts and Routines - I Love Lucy: Vacation from Marriage (2.6)



It is finally time to write for something other than Jeff Goldblum I know you're all grieving, as am I, but it is time to move on. Sorry, Jeff!

And I figured there was no better way to move on than my post on I Love Lucy for the Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon. Vacation from Marriage is one of my favorite episodes from the show, although if given my druthers, I could have  written about 20 different episodes and never run out of ideas. Still, I chose this one for a very particular reason.

I'm not married, and I find Vacation from Marriage to be particularly fascinating. Anything can become routine if we let it, and then we must even consider that not all routines are bad. You get into the routine of brushing your teeth twice a day, of jumping on the treadmill for an hour, or putting your books back tidily in the bookcase, of vacuuming the house when the clumps of hair actually start to show on the carpet. Routines are a part of life and they usually make life better because they bring a sense of order. Of course, I think this because I am an ISFJ who, in some cases, really loves routine. Not when it comes to jumping in the car and driving somewhere, then I'm a free spirit, but when it comes down to needing a basic routine every day, I love it.

Ruts, on the other hand, are bad. Can you tell the difference in the way the words sound? Routine has a positive lilt on the end compared with the harsh spitting t sound at the end of rut. You just know, whether you're in one or not, that ruts are not a good thing.  And that's where the Ricardos and Mertzes are in this episode . . . a big, fat rut as Lucy puts it.

Despite the ending of the episode, I firmly believe that when one lives in a rut, where the magic of a relationship is ebbing away, then you need to do something about it. Maybe not quite to the extreme as Lucy and Ethel, but still, there are ways to keep a relationship fun and exciting. My parents, who have been married for 40 years, go on driving tours twice a year. They fish, they rockhound, they get out in nature and enjoy harmonizing with it, with God, and with each other. They keep their marriage from going stale by doing something new . . . TOGETHER.

If Lucy had thought of doing something new with her spouse, then maybe her hopes to get out of the rut of marriage would have worked. Still, have any of Lucy's plans ever worked? Love her anyway!


Here she is, moping around because she knows that Ethel is going to come through her kitchen door any second, just like she does every morning, after calling through the open window. Little does Ethel know that this time Lucy locked the door.


Ethel agrees that maybe they are in a rut. A fact proven when Fred comes up to the Ricardo apartment in a dither because he can't find his glasses to read the morning paper. They're on top of his head. Just like they have been every morning of their married life. After gut-splitting laughter, Ethel finally sputters that they're on top of his head and he says, "How do you like that. If they'd been a snake they'd a bit me." Just like he does every morning.


Here you have proof that libraries can spawn some dangerous notions. Yep, Lucy and Ethel picked up several books on marriage that all recommend married couples to take a break from marriage for a week when they're in a rut. In true Lucy fashion, she won't take no for an answer and after getting a semi-reluctant Ricky to agree, the married couples part, with Lucy and Ethel living in the Mertz apartment and Fred bunking in with Ricky.


You guessed it. The plan isn't working out so well. There's only so many times you can go to the movies in a week before you run out of films to see. In Lucy's words as she turns to her roommate, "Ethel, nothing personal, but I'm sick of the sight of your face."


Lucy's next grand idea is to impress upon the boys that she and Ethel have hot dates to the ever-popular 21 Club. Which, of course, they don't, but the boys buy it, hook, line, and sinker. The plan backfires because, really, all the girls wanted was for the boys to get jealous and take them out on a date themselves. Yeah, well, nice try. Instead of the plan working, Ricky tells the girls they have dates too, which makes him at least as big a fibber as Lucy.


Hence the reason that Ricky is playing solitaire in the middle of the night and keeping Fred awake with the slap of the cards. He's fretting that they really had dates, but Fred is wise to the girls and is starting to suspect they were only trying to make them jealous. I always knew Fred was smarter than Ricky.


Just as the boys sneak downstairs to check on them, the girls sneak upstairs to check on their spouses. Via different routes. So, naturally they miss each other and both sets suppose that the other set had told the truth and actually had dates.


Note to self: never, ever, ever lock myself on the roof, especially in blustery weather. Lucy and Ethel decide to go back downstairs the warm way, meaning inside the apartment building, except that the boys are now coming up. The door to their apartment locked magically and now their only alternative is to dash for the roof. Because it would be so terrible for the hubbies to find their little wives in pjs and curlers stranded in the hallway, with nary a date in sight. Oh, yeah, and the roof door locks too. My those locks are finicky.


Another of Lucy's grand schemes going up in smoke. Or down the drain, whatever. Locked on the roof, she has the brilliant plan to shimmy over this board to the apartment building next door and go down those stairs. Except that Ethel has a thing about heights and as soon as she yanks Lucy back over to their own building, down goes the board.


Fortunately for the girls, all their fuss and ruckus raised the attention of a neighbor across the alley who knows them. And who called the boys. In a fit of payback, as Lucy and Ethel are trying to doze, the fellas turn on the hose, tricking their wives into thinking it's raining. I'd almost feel sorry for the girls except this whole hullabaloo was their own idea.


Awww, don't you just love a happy ending! Lucy admits that taking a vacation from marriage was a lousy idea, and she's totally right. She wants to be stuck in a rut with her husband. Next time, I hope they take up dance lessons or some other sort of hobby together to liven things up a bit. It's taking marriage counseling a little far to try living apart when what you really need is a way to bring you closer together.

4 comments:

  1. I have always loved I Love Lucy. There is a very good reason it is still watched over 60 years after its debut! And while I'd have trouble picking a favourite episode, "Vacation from Marriage" is one of the best. It is not only funny, but it does have a bit of a moral to it as well! And the whole sequence with Lucy and Ethel on the roof is so funny!

    Thank you so much for taking part in the blogathon!

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    1. As shows go, you can't get much more classic than I Love Lucy.

      Thank you for hosting the blogathon. It was tons of fun. Now I'll have to go read what everyone else has written. :)

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  2. I remember this ep! I didn't until they went up on the roof, and then it all came back. "It's not raining over there!" My brother and I used to say that all the time.

    I'm sloooooowly making my way through the blogathon entries. Very slowly, as you can tell :-)

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    1. It's such a fun episode, high up there on my favorites list. I almost picked The Freezer, but wanted something that had a little moral lesson to it too.

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