This episode was directed by Marc Daniels and written by Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll, Jr. It was filmed September 21, 1951 and aired October 22, 1951.
At the start of the episode Lucy and Ricky are eating breakfast in the kitchen together. Lucy is dressed in her pajamas, hair in curlers and Ricky has on his suit ready for work. Ricky is ignoring Lucy and reading the paper while he eats instead of engaging in conversation. Seems like this part of the story could be used today with a cell phone in place of the newspaper.
After Ricky takes off to work Ethel stops by, with her bangs in curlers, and she listens to Lucy complain about her morning with Ricky. Ethel recommends a book about not having the honeymoon end, which says that Ricky is losing interest because she comes to breakfast without makeup, hair in curlers, and shabby jammies. The next morning Lucy shows up to breakfast, hair completely done, make up on and in an evening gown. Even with her prancing around for his attention, and claiming, “I want a divorce” Ricky only responds when she lights his newspaper on fire.
Instead of remarking about how beautiful she is, he thinks she is sick looking and needs to see a doctor. Ethel stops by and thinks they need to re-consult the book and she decides to learn to play poker so she can share Ricky’s interests.
After commercial we see Ricky and his pals playing poker. Lucy walks into the room full of excitement to join the game, but the players do not seem so enthused. Sadly, this episode really shows what was thought of the average american 1950’s housewife. Lucy seems like she has no grasp of the rules of the game even though allegedly Ethel had thought her all day. Lucy seems so confused she cannot even tell the difference between a 6 and a 9.
We know this is a character that Lucille Ball plays, and this comedy was expected and acceptable at the time. Another interesting thing about this episode was the pressure of the 1950’s housewife. They really were pressured to be beautiful, pleasant and to dote on their men 24/7.
Determined to help Lucy, Ethel reads one more chapter of the book and the come to the conclusion that Ricky misses Cuba and they plan to surprise Ricky with a Cuba apartment makeover. Ricky comes home from work to find, chickens, palm trees, and Ethel dressed as a sleeping man. Then out comes Lucy lip-sinking to Carmen Miranda.
Everything seems to go according to plan until the record malfunctions and Lucy is formed to dance quick and then very slow until the music stops. She mutters some gibberish and has several little boys run out to remind Ricky of his childhood growing up with his brothers. Ricky tells her he does not miss Cuba and explains that he married Lucy because she was the opposite of Cuba, and they make up.
This was a very popular episode and even had a special barbie doll made inspired by her Carmen Miranda impression.
Here are some trivia bites that I found on imdb
This episode is based on an episode of Ball’s radio show “My Favorite Husband” also titled “Be a Pal”.