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Starring: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J. K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Clark Gregg, Jake Lacy, Nelson Franklin, John Rubenstein, Linda Lavin, Christopher Denham
OUR RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Amazon Prime bio-drama written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. Being the Ricardos (2021) follows Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy, as they are threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear, and cultural taboos, that could jeopardize their careers and marriage.
Our Favorite Quote:'The less you talk, the more things you hear.' - William Frawley (Being the Ricardos) Click To Tweet
Older Jess Oppenheimer: It was a scary week. Because here’s what you got to understand. A hit television show today, a big hit television show, what does it get? Ten million viewers Let’s go crazy and say fifteen. Fifteen million viewers, because this is a big, giant hit. Here’s what you got to understand. I Love Lucy, sixty million.
Older Madelyn Pugh: I’ve lived through the Depression, the Dust Bowl. I don’t scare that easy. But, yeah, it was a scary goddamn week.
Older Jess Oppenheimer: This is what you got to understand. It wasn’t small potatoes when Winchell ended his broadcast by saying…
Older Bob Carroll: “Lucille Ball is a Communist.” Just like that. Lucille Ball is a member of the Communist Party.
Older Bob Carroll: What were they doing when they first heard the news?
Older Jess Oppenheimer: What were they doing?
Older Madelyn Pugh: I don’t know what Lucy and Desi were doing, but it was Lucy and Desi. So they were either tearing each other’s heads off, or tearing each other’s clothes off.
Desi Arnaz: You are the only thing I want.
Lucille Ball: Well, then you’re an idiot.
Vivian Vance: They’re both named Rusty. Rusty Williams is played by Rusty Hamer.
William Frawley: And Hamer’s a Communist?
Vivian Vance: He’s seven years-old.
William Frawley: And he’s interested in politics?
Vivian Vance: No, imbecile! I’m saying he’s seven years-old and they made him sign a loyalty pledge.
William Frawley: Uh-huh?
Vivian Vance: This is getting out of hand was my point.
William Frawley: Why isn’t Danny Thomas’s kid named Rusty Thomas?
Vivian Vance: Are you drunk?
William Frawley: It’s 10:00 AM, Vivian. So, you know, of course.
William Frawley: [referring to the script] Believe me, you do not want me to read this sober.
Bob Carroll: I’m starting to get a little tired of your casual insults.
William Frawley: Well, my insults don’t feel like putting on a f***ing tuxedo for you, kid.
Howard Wenke: Lucy, you need to tell me right here and now what the hell is going on.
Desi Arnaz: You don’t want to talk to my wife like that, amigo.
Howard Wenke: Or what, Des, you’re going to beat me up?
Desi Arnaz: Oh, she will.
Lucille Ball: I’m not a Communist, I’ve never been a Communist. But technically, yeah, I am.
Joe Strickland: Jesus Christ. Do you get what’s happening here? Do you know that this is not funny?
Lucille Ball: Yes, I do get what’s happening. And, yes, I know it’s not funny.
Lucille Ball: Fred C. Hunt, my grandfather, was a member of the party. This was in the early ’30s. I was in my early twenties. He never used the word Communist. But he cared about workers, the working man. He raised my little brother and me, and I wanted to please him. So I checked the box. Back then, it wasn’t considered much worse than being a Republican.
Howard Wenke: Maybe we’re out of this. We just don’t know yet.
Lucille Ball: When will we?
Howard Wenke: If you tape a show Friday night, means you still have a show.
Desi Arnaz: You and me, we’ve been through worse than this.
Lucille Ball: We have?
Desi Arnaz: No.
Lucille Ball: That’s what I thought.
Desi Arnaz: Are you being funny right now?
Lucille Ball: That is the second time someone’s asked me that this morning. I’m Lucille Ball. When I’m being funny, you’ll know it.
Desi Arnaz: Everything’s going to be fine. Nothing’s going to happen to you. I won’t allow it. I just won’t.
[Lucille kisses him, wipes the lipstick off his mouth with handkerchief]
Desi Arnaz: You’ve never done that before.
Lucille Ball: I know. I’ve seen other people do it in movies I’ve been in.
Vivian Vance: Rusty Hamer plays Rusty Williams on The Danny Thomas Show. He’s in second grade, and they made him sign a loyalty oath when he signed his contract, which I think is ugly. I don’t know why this is tripping you up. It wasn’t confusing.
William Frawley: There’s no such thing as The Danny Thomas Show. It’s called Make Room for Daddy. Don’t tell me comedy. And if Little Rusty is a Communist, then I’m going to beat the s**t out of a seven year-old kid. I have no problem with that.
Vivian Vance: I’m done.
Madelyn Pugh: [to Bob] That, right there, was funnier than anything you’ve written so far this year.
Jess Oppenheimer: No matter what’s going on, we all support you a thousand percent.
William Frawley: I’d like to find out what’s going on before I make that commitment.
Desi Arnaz: A long time ago, Lucy accidentally checked the wrong box on her voter registration. That’s the first act of a new episode right there.
Bob Carroll: Yeah, “Lucy Gets Blacklisted”.
Desi Arnaz: That’s not a joke, Bob.
Lucille Ball: I wanted to make sure, because you haven’t been here in a while. Is it because you’ve been going through puberty?
Donald Glass: I look young, yes, but I went through it a long time ago. And I haven’t been here because I’ve been directing at Danny Thomas.
William Frawley: With the Communist kid? F*** off.
'We've been through worse than this.' - Desi Arnaz (Being the Ricardos) Click To Tweet
Lucille Ball: You do need to know that Danny does jokes, few people do it better. I do physical comedy.
Donald Glass: I’ve seen every episode of the show.
Lucille Ball: So have sixty million other people. Are none of them professional television directors?
Desi Arnaz: She’s kidding.
Donald Glass: I can tell.
Lucille Ball: I’m hazing you a little, Donald. It’s just my way of saying, I have no confidence in you at all.
Older Madelyn Pugh: [referring to Lucille] Look, she was always tough on the writing, she pressed down hard on each beat, but that week, it was like her life depended on whether a joke was a B or B-plus.
Lucille Ball: [meeting each other for the first time] “Do you remember the first time we met? You were rudely attentive, but now you’re obnoxiously indifferent.”
Desi Arnaz: What?
Lucille Ball: It’s a line from our movie, dumb-dumb.
Desi Arnaz: Do we know each other?
Lucille Ball: No.
Desi Arnaz: My name is Desiderio Alberto Arnaz…
Lucille Ball: Ah. I don’t have that kind of time.
Desi Arnaz: And you’re Lucille Ball.
Lucille Ball: Use a line on me you’ve never road-tested on anyone. I dare you.
Desi Arnaz: Would you like to learn how to rumba?
Lucille Ball: Alright. Nice. And, yes, I would. But there’s absolutely no chance you haven’t used that before.
Lucille Ball: I live in a small house.
Desi Arnaz: And your ambition is to live in a bigger house.
Lucille Ball: My ambition is to live in a home.
Desi Arnaz: Like for old folks?
Lucille Ball: Not a home, not an institution. A home. With a family and dinnertime.
Lucille Ball: I’m a contract player at RKO. I play the roles I’m told to play. My career’s gone as far as it’s going to go. It’s hit cruising altitude. And I’m at peace with that. So I’d like to be at peace. I want a home.
Desi Arnaz: You have a lot more talent than the roles you play have allowed you to exhibit.
Lucille Ball: Now, how would you know I have talent?
Desi Arnaz: Because I have talent.
Lucille Ball: [after spending the night with Desi, calls her fiance] It’s me. Hey. You don’t love me, and I don’t love you. And you cheat on me every chance you can get, and I pretend I’m stupid. So I’m moving out. I’ll send someone to pick up my clothes, okay? Love you. But, you know, not really.
Lucille Ball: Before the table read. You told them I checked the wrong box.
Desi Arnaz: Well, it takes fewer words to say that than the truth.
Lucille Ball: Doesn’t make me look like a simpleton who’s ill-equipped to participate in democracy?
Desi Arnaz: It was simpler, and it’s nobody’s goddamn business.
Lucille Ball: Well, no. Pretty obviously it’s everybody’s goddamn business.
Vivian Vance: In your life, have you ever taken this stuff seriously?
Lucille Ball: I take my marriage seriously.
Vivian Vance: And Desi said?
Lucille Ball: “Lucy, I ain’t been with no girls since the moment I saw you.”
Vivian Vance: Then believe him.
Lucille Ball: I do believe him.
Desi Arnaz: I don’t care what your first thoughts out of the gate were, but your first words out of the gate were no good. And what was with you at the table read?
Madelyn Pugh: I’m sorry. She was jumping on every stage direction.
Desi Arnaz: It’s her process.
Madelyn Pugh: But that process usually happens in private. And following your advice, maybe every once in a while, the first words out of her mouth could be “good script”.
Lucille Ball: [from the newspaper] “Exactly what makes a husband leave home is something that has been baffling wives since Adam and Eve.”
Desi Arnaz: Enough.
Lucille Ball: “For an outstanding example, let’s take one of the nation’s most famous husbands.”
Desi Arnaz: You’ve memorized it?
Lucille Ball: I’ve memorized worse writing than this.
Lucille Ball: Twenty million readers want to know.
Desi Arnaz: Lucy.
Lucille Ball: Twenty million and one.
Lucille Ball: You don’t come home anymore. Did you know that?
Desi Arnaz: You change subjects faster than…
Lucille Ball: Keep up. It’s not hard. I asked, “Did you know you don’t come home anymore?”
Desi Arnaz: Of course I come home.
Lucille Ball: [to Desi] You once asked me what my ambition was. You remember? And you liked my answer.
Lucille Ball: I did the calculation. In the course of one week, I see you one-twenteith as much as your second trombone player.
Desi Arnaz: Well, learn to play the trombone, and I’ll give you his job.
Lucille Ball: Well, how hard is the trombone?
Desi Arnaz: Maybe it’d be better if we didn’t spend the little time we have arguing about why we don’t have more time.
Lucille Ball: Don’t make me feel like a b**ch because I want to see my husband.
Desi Arnaz: I could stay home and be kept by my wife. I mean, that’d really complete the picture Americans have of Cuban men.
Lucille Ball: What home are you talking about?
Desi Arnaz: Or you could quit the film business, and just be my wife. But you you’re not going to do that, right?
Lucille Ball: No.
Howard Wenke: They’re uncovering something new. They’re chasing the original testimony, something, but there’s another shoe.
Lucille Ball: There’s nothing more to uncover. There are no more shoes.
Desi Arnaz: Lucy’s pregnant.
Lucille Ball: Well, that.
Joe Strickland: What?
Desi Arnaz: Lucy’s pregnant.
Joe Strickland: With a baby?
Roger Otter: I’m not sure what words to use. How much pregnant are you?
Lucille Ball: Why did you think you didn’t know what words to use?
Howard Wenke: He means, how far, as a percentage of nine months, where are you on the timeline of the…
Lucille Ball: Someone should point a goddamn camera at this.
Desi Arnaz: She’s twelve weeks pregnant.
Joe Strickland: So that means…
Lucille Ball: Twelve weeks ago, I f***ed my husband.
Howard Wenke: You can’t have a pregnant woman on television.
Desi Arnaz: Why not?
Howard Wenke: Because it’s television. We come into people’s homes.
Joe Strickland: Pregnant women often vomit.
Lucille Ball: I know I could any second.
Lucille Ball: Look, we’ve made thirty-seven episodes. You do thirty-seven of anything, one of them’s going to be your thirty-seventh best. Ours was directed by Donald Glass.
Vivian Vance: Honey, the committee. They’re not going to base their findings based on how this week’s sh…
Lucille Ball: F*** the committee. I said that. I’m talking about the show. And unless you count his wardrobe, Donald Glass doesn’t understand the moving parts of physical comedy.
Vivian Vance: No one’s going to stop loving Lucy when you’re pregnant. You’re not a pinup girl.
Lucille Ball: Thanks for that, Viv.
Vivian Vance: I’m saying take it easy, that’s all. Everyone here stands shoulder to shoulder with you, and no one feels funny because we’re scared to death. And you’re not helping by jumping up and down on everyone who works here, and doing it in front of the whole crew!
Lucille Ball: Goddamn it, Viv, most American women look like you, not me. They want to see themselves on television.
Vivian Vance: Don’t worry about it. The weight always comes back. I can’t keep it off anymore.
Lucille Ball: This conversation went poorly.
Vivian Vance: Oh, I thought it was great. I definitely feel like performing for tens of millions of people now.
Lucille Ball: I honestly had no idea this place was here.
William Frawley: They like to keep a low profile.
Lucille Ball: I can’t imagine why. Kind of people go to a bar on a Wednesday morning?
William Frawley: It’s an eclectic group.
Lucille Ball: I thought you and Desi had a deal. You don’t drink at work.
William Frawley: Desi and I have a deal that I won’t be drunk at work. Have you ever seen me drunk at work?
Lucille Ball: Would I know?
William Frawley: No.
Lucille Ball: [referring to the people at the bar] Are they being polite or do they not recognize us?
William Frawley: They don’t own television sets.
Lucille Ball: Why didn’t I think of that?
William Frawley: In none of those seven newspapers have I read anything about Lucille Ball being a Communist. I don’t hear anyone talking about it.
Lucille Ball: Since when do you talk to anyone?
William Frawley: I got news for you. The less you talk, the more things you hear. And I haven’t heard anything.
Lucille Ball: [referring to Desi] I’d like very much to have problems at home, but my problem’s not home that much. Few times a week.
William Frawley: Your husband is in love with America like no man I have ever known since George M. Cohan, who loved America so much he wrote the same song five times. Okay? Desi loves America as much as that guy. But that doesn’t mean he’s not Cuban.
Lucille Ball: I know that.
William Frawley: The world he’s from has a very narrow definition of manhood.
Lucille Ball: I know that too.
William Frawley: The man is the man. And not for nothing, but the women are happy.
Lucille Ball: You’ve asked them?
William Frawley: They look happy
Lucille Ball: I see.
William Frawley: [referring to Desi] He has to spend time away from you, so that he can feel like he’s not the…
Lucille Ball: Second banana.
Lucille Ball: Let me tell you something about Desi. He runs this show. Every creative decision goes through him. Every business decision, the network, Philip Morris. And if that wasn’t enough, he is camera-ready on Monday. Takes me five days to get a laugh. He’s killing it at the table read. And that man, believe me, is nobody’s second banana.
William Frawley: How many people know that?
Lucille Ball: Know what?
William Frawley: That Desi runs the show. How many people know that?
Lucille Ball: Should we open the champagne, take our clothes off, and go skinny-dipping in the pool?
Desi Arnaz: That bottle of champagne is basically a grenade now, but all your other ideas were good.
Charles Koerner: That was a whole new side of you we’ve never seen. Where’s that been?
Lucille Ball: It’s been buried under bad movies.
Charles Koerner: I’ve heard you make some form of that joke before.
Lucille Ball: Keep putting me in pictures like The Big Street, you won’t hear it again.
Charles Koerner: We’re dropping your contract, Lucy.
Lucille Ball: Are you sure this isn’t a joke?
Charles Koerner: It’s a tough business.
Lucille Ball: I know that! I’ve been in it since I was fourteen!
Charles Koerner: But you’re thirty-five now.
Lucille Ball: And that is the problem?
Charles Koerner: No. The problem is you’re really thirty-nine, aren’t you?
Lucille Ball: Thirty-nine year-olds don’t go to see your movies? They don’t want to see stories about themselves?
Charles Koerner: I’ve had to have this conversation a hundred times.
Lucille Ball: I’m surprised because you’re terrible at it.
Charles Koerner: Can I make a suggestion? Radio.
Lucille Ball: What the hell did you just say to me?
Charles Koerner: You’ve got the voice for it. Look, I’ve noticed there’s a lot you can do with your voice. You should think about radio, Lucy.
Lucille Ball: And you should go f*** yourself, Betsy.
Lucille Ball: [as they’re rehearsing a scene] The front door opens, Ricky comes in. Lucy doesn’t see or hear him, which is unusual because the front door is, you know, right there. And in previous episodes, we’ve established Lucy’s eyes and ears are connected to her brain.
Lucille Ball: Does Ricky honestly, truly believe that there might be eight different men who routinely walk into their apartment, all of whom sound exactly like Desi Arnaz?
Jess Oppenheimer: You think we’re saying Ricky’s stupid?
Lucille Ball: I think you’re saying the audience is. And that’s something for which they won’t soon forgive you.
Jess Oppenheimer: You charge for these lessons?
Lucille Ball: A ton.
Jess Oppenheimer: For the sake of the joke, the audience will take the leap with us.
Lucille Ball: They will. But you’ll need a busload of orthopedists when they land.
Lucille Ball: [referring to Desi] He doesn’t get credit as an executive producer, which, let’s face it, is what he is. You get sole credit.
Jess Oppenheimer: I didn’t win my credit in a raffle! I earn it. I’m the showrunner! Not to mention being the creator of the show.
Lucille Ball: I don’t see how we could do the show without you.
Jess Oppenheimer: You absolutely could not.
Lucille Ball: I don’t see how we could do the show without Desi either.
Jess Oppenheimer: Is this something our agents should be talking about?
Lucille Ball: No.
Jess Oppenheimer: Because I’m not at all comfortable with this conversation.
Lucille Ball: I’m about to make you less comfortable. I need you to help me save my marriage. I need you to help me save my marriage.
Lucille Ball: Many people regard Lucy as clever. I mean, she always has a plan to overcome an obstacle.
Madelyn Pugh: Yeah, but oftentimes that obstacle is her husband’s permission.
Jess Oppenheimer: We don’t want to know that she’s pregnant. We don’t want to know how she got pregnant.
Desi Arnaz: Do we have viewers who don’t know how women get pregnant?
Jess Oppenheimer: Yeah, they’re called children.
Desi Arnaz: Alright. Do any of these children have younger brothers or sisters?
Jess Oppenheimer: You know what, you know what else a lot of our viewers are? Christian.
Desi Arnaz: I’m going to have a priest, a minister, and a rabbi review every script.
Madelyn Pugh: I’m going to get rewritten by a priest, a minister and a rabbi?
Bob Carroll: A joke in there somewhere.
Madelyn Pugh: Good, because if I’m rewritten by a priest, a minister and a rabbi, there aren’t going to be many left in the script.
Desi Arnaz: Good one.
Jess Oppenheimer: Bob was saying that you are really the title character of the show. Because you are the “I” in I Love Lucy. So strictly speaking, you have top billing.
Desi Arnaz: I am the “I” in I Love Lucy.
Jess Oppenheimer: Yeah.
Desi Arnaz: I never thought of it that way.
Jess Oppenheimer: Yeah, you like that?
Desi Arnaz: I like that. Jess, patronize me again, and I’ll stick my hand down your throat, and pull your f***ing lungs out.
Lucille Ball: You know I did this show so Desi and I could be together? I had no idea it was going to be a hit. I just thought, “Well, the construction department’s going to build us a little apartment, and that’s where we’ll live most of the time.” You know? And it worked out. This is where, it’s like a story you’d read a little girl. A witch puts a curse on a woman. She’ll be adored by the man she loves, but only as long as she stays on this patch of ground. It’s still a lot more than most people get.
Lucille Ball: I am the biggest asset in the portfolio of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The biggest asset in the portfolio of Philip Morris tobacco, Westinghouse. I get paid a fortune to do exactly what I love doing. I work side by side with my husband, who is genuinely impressed by me. And all I have to do to keep it is kill every week for thirty-six weeks in a row. And then, do it again the next year. Kill. So let’s do it again.
David Levy: [referring to her acting] And we think it’s a shame that no one gets to see it.
Lucille Ball: Invent a way to see what’s on the radio.
David Hart: We did. It’s television.
Lucille Ball: Are you here to sell me one?
Lucille Ball: I asked you to do me a favor, Jess. I asked you to give him an EP credit. Instead, you tried to convince him he was the title character, or some bulls**t. What the hell was that?
Jess Oppenheimer: I’m sorry if he was insulted. I mean, I know he’s insulted. So I’m sorry.
Lucille Ball: He wasn’t insulted. He was laughing about it. But, yeah, he’s insulted. No, he’s offended. I’m insulted.
Jess Oppenheimer: “Jess, Jess, we’ll have Desi play my husband. It’ll save my marriage.”
Lucille Ball: Was that supposed to be me?
Jess Oppenheimer: Yeah. Yeah.
Lucille Ball: Don’t do voices.
Jess Oppenheimer: Oh, are you insulted? Desi’s offended? You asked me to give away my job title like it was a parking spot!
Lucille Ball: You’re right. I’m sorry. I was dead wrong.
Jess Oppenheimer: I wasn’t expecting that.
Lucille Ball: I know.
Jess Oppenheimer: Have you ever said that to me before?
Lucille Ball: I doubt it. But I’ve thought it, if that means anything.
Jess Oppenheimer: It does.
Lucille Ball: [referring to the studio audience] You’re not telling these people that I checked the wrong box.
Desi Arnaz: This is a critical moment, Lucy.
Lucille Ball: If I’m going to die…
Desi Arnaz: You’re not.
Lucille Ball: I would rather die standing up.
Desi Arnaz: I was chased to this country, Lucy! Believe me, you checked the wrong box!
Lucille Ball: And if they don’t applaud?
Desi Arnaz: They will. And the press will write that they did.
Lucille Ball: You’re going to tell them I was accused of…
Desi Arnaz: [referring to the audience] They’re going to read it in the morning anyway.
Lucille Ball: If they boo me?
Desi Arnaz: If they boo you, then we’re done. Here. Tonight.
Lucille Ball: I care about what works, Maddie. I care about what’s funny. I don’t see myself caring about a woman’s perspective from a new generation. I care about you.
Desi Arnaz: No one’s going to mess with you ever, Lucy.
Lucille Ball: I thought they were going to boo.
Desi Arnaz: You want to do a show?
Lucille Ball: Have you been cheating on me?
Desi Arnaz: What?
Lucille Ball: Have you been cheating on me?
Desi Arnaz: Is this a bit?
Lucille Ball: No.
Desi Arnaz: No, I haven’t been.
Desi Arnaz: What’s going on with you, honey?
Lucille Ball: Don’t gaslight me.
Desi Arnaz: Where did this come from? I mean, they just cheered for you out there.
Lucille Ball: They got it right, didn’t they? They only got the picture wrong.
Desi Arnaz: Tell me why you think I’ve cheated on you.
Desi Arnaz: [Lucille shows him the lipsticked handkerchief] That is your lipstick. Remember? You kissed me at the beginning of the week, and then took my handkerchief, and wiped the lipstick off, and put it back in my pocket. And you said you’d never done that before.
Lucille Ball: I hadn’t.
Desi Arnaz: Then what the hell are we talking about?
Lucille Ball: [shows him another lipsticked handkerchief] This is my lipstick.
Desi Arnaz: They were just call girls. They’re hookers. It doesn’t mean anything, Lucy. Look, Lucy, it doesn’t mean…
Lucille Ball: Let’s do the show. Yeah?
Older Madelyn Pugh: [referring to Lucille] It seemed like she just got lost in her own head for a second.
Older Jess Oppenheimer: I can’t remember what her cue was.
Older Madelyn Pugh: It may have been the only time she ever went up on a line.
Older Bob Carroll: I can’t remember the first line, but we had to stop and go again.
Older Madelyn Pugh: It was Desi’s line. It was the new bit Lucy put in. What was his line?
Desi Arnaz: [during the show] Lucy, I’m home!
Lucille Ball: [freezes for a moment] Sorry. I got lost for a second.