Lucy's Character Traits
The Cry: When all else fails, Lucy, like the great film comedian Stan Laurel, fell back on a monumental cry. Laurel's cry sounded more like a squeaky wheel, while Lucy's took on the audible characteristics of an approaching ambulance siren that never quite recedes as it passes by. After roughly three to five repetitions, she would sometimes follow it with a blubbering whimper--as finally one last pitiful plea for understanding.
The Spider Voice: Originated during "My Favorite Husband" commercials when Lucy portrayed Little Miss Muffett, in response to an imaginary spider terrorizing her during a pitch for Jell-O gelatin. In "I Love Lucy," it's the high-pitched, guttural sound Lucy makes when she reacts to being caught in an ambarrassing moment.
The Language- Mangling Comeback: Whenever others became exasperated with Ricky Ricardo for his mangled English, they would mimic his verbal mistakes, ---especially Lucy.
The Drats: A two-fisted arm drop. When something would go wrong, she would hold both her arms in front of her in a linebacker's defensive position and then drop both forearms sharply with clenched fists.
Open Mouth: This classic silent comedian/vaudeville "take" was used primarily when Lucy couldn't believe what was happening before her eyes.
The Dodge Dance: Whenever she was trying to avoid a threatening advance from another person, Lucy would put her arms out to the side as if for balance and proceed to launch into a dodging foot shuffle, her upper body, head, and neck moving as one stiff unit as she bounces around like a moving target.
Ricky's Character Traits
English Language- Mangling: Ricky, like Desi in reality, could never completely master the complexities of English pronounciation and the creators of the show had a field day with this--to great comic effect. His pronunciations such as "dunt", "splain," and dozens of other words in his vocabulary, all came naturally to Desi, but he had no problem making fun of his own dialect, even in real life. Many times during the initial reading or during a rehearsal when Desi would read a line that wouldn't come out right, he'd make a joke about his espanol. Everybody on the set would laugh and they'd leave the mispronunciation in.
String of Latin Epithets: The Spanish language in rapid fire conveys anger and frustration like no other, so careful attention was paid to make this Ricky trait work as humor, but not at the expense of denigrating Ricky's heritage.
Bugged Out Eyes: No one in television had a way of making his eyes seemingly pop out of his head more effectively than Desi Arnaz. A bit right out of the silent screen and burlesque, it simply worked. Nothing Desi ever said made as apt a statement on Lucy's outrageous escapades as this gesture did. It was broad, but it never sounded a false note.
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