BEING THE RICARDOS Review – Never Say It Was Easy

Lucille Ball was more than just a comedian, studio executive, and producer. To remain a starlet on the big screen is tough, so she turned to producing and being involved in every part of the development process of a successful sitcom. Even today, not many talents are as beloved as this actress–who passed away in 89. Her life and times are examined in a pseudo-documentary cum drama, BEING THE RICARDOS.

In the 40s, she met Desi Arnaz. They became a powerhouse couple in the entertainment industry despite different careers. She was an actress, and he was a musician / orchestra conductor. Their love was genuine. The later acts show the romance dying, and all they had left was more of a business partnership while I LOVE LUCY stayed a hit. By second season, there were rumours about pregnancies and other problems. Ball was accused of being a Communist and she suspected her husband was committing adultery.

This dramatised biography looks at Lucille Ball’s desire to be part of the Hollywood elite. The sweetest thing her husband did–and is the highlight–was to prove she has no political agenda. Although not revealed in this work, many fans of STAR TREK know her as that producer who took a chance on Gene Roddenberry when he tried to get his series off the ground. We mustn’t forget MISSION IMPOSSIBLE began on television, produced by this studio, before becoming a massive movie franchise.

Aaron Sorkin’s film shows adulation for this master crafter. Lucy’s acting teachers said she wouldn’t amount to anything in the entertainment industry, and this story perfectly details how she proved them wrong. Although the cost was substantial, BEING THE RICARDOS went more beyond exploring the behind-the-scenes drama of two personalities. It was also in how well they worked with others. The modern day “interviews” give this work a sense of reality rather than speculative fiction about their relationship. 

The best dialogue came from William Frawley (excellently played by J. K. Simmons), a veteran entertainer. He’s experienced it all since 1914, warts and all. His wisdom helped Lucille understand why Desi is what he is; it’s tough to be an equal to this lady. Without his insights, who knows what would’ve become of the Ricardos while this show lasted. Although it’s widely known they divorced after the end of the series (1960), their relationship improved as a result. 

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