Nicole Kidman y Javier Bardem, los protagonistas de “Being the Ricardos” (Glen Wilson/Amazon Content Services)
In the fifties of the last century, the population of the United States reached 150 million inhabitants, after the 2nd War and in full baby boom. Let’s say that, according to the historical average of the censuses in that nation, twenty percent of the population was under 14 years of age: something like 30 million of those 150 million. If calculations were made and our INDEC were compassionate with us, these figures would indicate a potential television audience for a weekly sitcom of 120 million American men and women. Well: every Monday at six in the evening, a third of those North Americans – forty million people – tuned in on their black and white televisions to the sitcom I love Lucy (I love Lucy) with a religiosity that many churches would like to match among their acolytes. The weekly series starring the capocomic Lucille Ball and the Cuban Desi Arnaz, her husband, literally stopped the country and, on the other hand, made it laugh.
Seventy years after the premiere of the show, in 2021, the Prime Video platform premiered Being the Ricardos, which refers to the Ricardo surname used by Desi (played by Javier Bardem) for his character Ricky Ricardo, husband of Lucy (Nicole Kidman, in a role that earned her the Golden Globe for her performance as best dramatic actress), Beyond The season of discredit that the award is going through due to the accusations of corruption against the Association of Foreign Critics, the film is postulated as one of the favorites for the 2022 Oscars.
Under the direction and script of Aaron Sorkin – who has a style in his dialogues that makes them recognizable to his fans from the series The West Wing The The Newsroom or movies like Red social, about the creation of Facebook, or Steve Jobs, the excellent biography of the founder of Apple–, Being the Ricardos focuses on the week of filming an episode of I love Lucy that will be crossed not only by the usual setbacks for a weekly sitcom, but will confront Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz with their destinies.
“Being the Ricardos brings behind the scenes of the hit 1950s series “I love Lucy” to the screen (Glen Wilson/Amazon Content Services)
If the first mishap could be labeled as “ideological” in an age of censorship, the next one should be characterized as human physiology: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are expecting a baby and strive to convince the series’ biggest sponsor, the Phillip Morris cigarettes, that it is good and kind –and not sinful– for a star to appear pregnant on television and, even more so, for her to integrate pregnancy into the show’s script. Ah, the fifties: until that moment, the couple of the characters Lucy and Ricky slept, of course, in separate beds and puritanism marked that one should not even insinuate in a show aimed at the family masses gathered in front of the television that could exist something similar to “intimate marital relations”, not to mention the word: “sex”.
The third problem is the most existential, since, for reasons that the public will have to appreciate, Lucille is forced to act to save, or not, her marriage with Desi.
And all in seven days of scripting, reading, rehearsing and filming the chapter.
Alia Shawkat, Nicole Kidman and Nina Arianda in vintage looks (Glen Wilson/Amazon Content Services)
With interventions in front of the camera by Ball’s contemporaries through a mockumentary and outstanding performances by Kidman and Bardem, the film manages not only to convey the spirit of a woman as talented as Lucille Ball, but also the spirit of the times of American television. of then and, even, the technical and production contributions with which Desi Arnaz contributed to the industry and that remain until today. The recreation of classic episodes of the sitcom (which still holds the historical record for the longest laugh produced in the public that witnessed the filming live) produces nostalgia for a forceful and effective humor, which no longer belongs to television these days. –although later the viewer searches the web for those chapters that marked several generations of Americans and that also reached Latin American stations at that time, dubbing through–. Sorkin’s film fulfills its objectives and allows us to investigate and discover why forty million viewers each week loved Lucy so much.
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