Some scholars contend that the show infantilized Lucy and Ethel, portraying them as entirely dependent on their husbands rather than as autonomous individuals.
In watching episodes of the show, the sexism and degradation towards women is evident. In an episode called “Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her” (5 November 1951), Lucy gets so caught up in a murder mystery she is reading that she becomes convinced Ricky is plotting to murder her. At one point, Ricky slips sleeping powder into a drink for Lucy at Fred’s suggestion because she is “acting crazy.” Throughout the episode, messages about female simplicity and male dominance are reinforced. When everything is cleared up, Lucy is relieved to find out he only put sleeping powder (not poison) in her glass, embracing him as though it is the right of her husband to drug her. The pervading message of the episode is that reading books is dangerous for the fragile mind of a woman.
Lucy and Ethel are commonly depicted as foolish, childlike, jealous, or consumed by petty issues.