There is an alternative way to read the show, however. One scholar suggests that the show struck such a powerful chord with viewers because of the way it, particularly its main character, “dramatized and personified cultural conflicts about gender, marriage, and commodification.”
Rather than depicting a picture perfect version of domesticity like so many other shows of the time, I Love Lucy‘s version of domesticity was challenged by the woman of the house in her refusal to settle for the life of a housewife.
The public not only accepted Lucy’s defiance, they celebrated it. Lucy embodied the character of the “trickster.” “A trickster is a subversive, paradoxical fantasy figure who does what we cannot or dare not by moving between social spaces, roles, and categories that the culture has deemed oppositional” (Lori Landay).
The unique bond between Lucy and Ethel was based largely around their alliance against their husbands. The husbands and the wives would constantly trick each other or try to teach each other lessons. Below is an example of when the women came out on top:
Lucy Ricardo was a woman who, like so many of her female fans, was struggling against the confines of the domestic sphere. Women in the 1950s needed a woman who shared their problems to identify and rebel with. What use would a woman completely free of those problems be to them?