Monday, August 08, 2011

Lucy's Cultural Legacy

This weekend was Lucille Ball's centenary. There was a big celebration up in Jamestown, New York, Lucy's hometown. Included a series of performances by prominent female stand-up comics, including Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone. Lucy was a ground-breaker for women in show business in many ways. She and Desi formed Desilu Studios and after the divorce it became her ship to run, making her the first female head of a studio in Hollywood. She may have been wacky and impulsive on tv, but she was smart, tough, and insightful in real life. Her show was in many ways the illustration of the Feminine Mystique. Lucy was the prototypical housewife of the post-war era, trapped in a middle-class life that left her unfulfilled. She was always trying to get a job, to reach beyond herself, to fill the void that our culture left in the lives of women at the time.

Who are the Lucy's after Lucy portraying in different ways the plights of those who are stuck in the culture, trying to give voice in funny or poignant ways to those we usually do not hear from? Rosanne Barr in the late 80s did this for blue collar families. Others?