10 ways Lucy Ricardo was basically a Millennial
May the love of Lucy unite us all.
The heavily publicized feud between Baby Boomers and Millennials is really a battle of stereotypes, perhaps most boldly evidenced by a notable moment that occurred in 2013 when Time dubbed millennials the "Me Me Me Generation." In the article, writer Joel Stein (who, FYI, happens to be Gen-X) calls Millennials narcissistic and materialistic, then provided evidence that proves they're both lazy and overly ambitious (at least when it comes to seeking change). Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are said to be optimistic and heavily invested in teamwork. They're also often known to be workaholics.
The inter-generational clash that exists now has been stoked by these persistent labels, but we think there's common ground to be found in an unexpected mediator: Lucy Ricardo. Here's why Lucy's perfect for the job.
There are plenty of folks from each generation who defy the stereotypes, of course, and in looking at how our culture has defined each group, Lucy seems to be a prime example of a Baby Boomer outlier. In many ways her character seems to intentionally defy her Baby Boomer peers, exhibiting qualities we dare say are quite "Millennial" for her time.
I Love Lucy ran from 1951 to 1957, and was chock full of "me me me" hilarity centered on its star, Lucy, who desperately wants to achieve fame. She gets into trouble when she spends money she doesn't have on clothes she doesn't really need. She's known as a whiner and a fibber, so much so there's even an entire episode based on the premise that she can't go a day without lying.
It's not all negative, though. This is Lucy, and her earnestness is why we love her. Just like her likeminded Millennials, Lucy's also charitable, imaginative and entrepreneurial, and by the end of the series, as you'll read below, she even gets super into locally-sourced proteins.
Here, we go through classic I Love Lucy moments where Lucy's quintessential tendencies seem to hilariously connect more to today's Millennials than you may have previously realized. It's all the proof we need to note that after all this time, the love of Lucy continues to unite us all.
1. She opened a craft business with her best friend.
Some say Millennials are more entrepreneurial than previous generations; some say the reason is that it's so much simpler to start a business today. Often, they start companies at younger ages with partners ideally farmed from family or good friends. In that way, Lucy was way ahead of today's earnest Millennial business owners, frequently launching scheme after scheme with Ethel, including the season 3 episode, "The Girls Go Into Business." That episode finds Lucy and Ethel purchasing their favorite dress shop to save it from going out of business for good, an instinct that has to resonate with Millennials who launch crowdfunding campaigns like GoFundMe's and Kickstarters galore to keep their favorite shops operating.
2. Lucy rents her apartment, then moves to the suburbs.
It's been noted by basically every market analyst out there that Millennials are opting not to become homeowners, instead remaining renters so they can save their money to use in hunting more experiences. Lucy can relate, and by season five, she finds herself a little defensive in the episode "The Ricardos Are Interviewed," when TV crews visit the apartment and the question arises: Why do the Ricardos still live here? Lucy considers swank New York apartments, but ultimately we know she ended up in the suburbs, another trend for Millennials today.
3. We bet people would love Lucy's Instagram.
Speaking of the experiences that millennials are seeking out more and more — like extended vacations or rugged outdoor adventures — Lucy is just as eager to experience it all. In episodes, she travels to Italy, proudly fishes on a camping trip, tries her hand at gambling in a fancy casino, and many other thrilling escapades today's millennials seem to crave. Suffice it to say that if Lucy had an Instagram, we bet she could have found fame as a lifestyle blogger.
4. Lucy requires all the attention.
Some people go so far as to label Millennials as suffering from a "narcissism epidemic," because the generation is so noted for needing constant attention. Few could relate as much as Lucy, who spends nearly every episode trying to be the center of everything. In the episode pictured here, "Lucy Is Jealous of Girl Singer," you get a glimpse of the lengths Lucy was willing to go to divert attention her way, even sometimes if it was at the expense of Ricky's show.
5. Lucy fought for causes, too.
Still, we know Lucy wasn't entirely selfish. Just as Millennials have been branded as social justice warriors for standing up for causes they believe in, Lucy devoted a number of episodes to fundraising for charities, taking place in fashion shows and benefits dedicated to good causes. In the episode "The Benefit," Lucy convinces Ricky to perform for a women's club benefit, and even though she seems mostly enthusiastic because she gets to share the stage with him, it's likely many Millennials would give her props for supporting a progressive organization.
6. Lucy frequently burns through all the Ricardos' money.
One of the most notorious criticisms lobbed at Millennials is due to their supposed frivolous spending on stuff like avocado toast. And let's face it, losing track of money was one of Lucy's defining traits. In episode after episode, she burns through the Ricardos' funds, buying items way outside her budget simply because she wanted to. We're sure some Millennials can relate. In the episode pictured here, "The Business Manager," Lucy has bungled the household account so badly that Ricky brings in a business manager to help them deal with the deficit. Of course, that just sets Lucy off on a scheme to figure out how to squeeze the money she "needs" out of the manager.
7. Wah! Lucy is kind of a whiner.
"Crybaby" and "snowflake" are just a few labels assigned to millennials. This article from the New York Post outlines some of the most extreme cases of Millennial whining. Whether you agree with the assessment or not, the penchant Lucy has for whining puts her right in line with this stereotype. In the episode pictured here, "Lucy's Last Birthday," we find Lucy crying because she thinks everybody has forgotten her birthday. Millennials don't have to deal with that particular social sting quite so much now since Facebook puts birthday reminders front and center any time you log into your newsfeed.
8. Lucy had her own backyard chicken farm!
Once Lucy got to the suburbs, she did what any Millennial would do, she started her own garden and launched her own chicken farm. In season six, you can see Lucy managing 500 chicks in "Lucy Raises Chickens," as she and Ethel attempt to get a hen house in order for all of them. It's yet another business venture for the friends, who hatch a plan to sell the fresh eggs. Talk about farm to table. Today, more and more Millennials are turning to agriculture and sustainable solutions, as well as farm-fresh ingredients, and that's why we think Lucy would fit in. They'd eat Lucy's fresh eggs right up.
9. Lucy has been known to fib and misrepresent her life.
In the earliest episodes of I Love Lucy, Lucy's tendency to shop too much fed her need to appear wealthier than the Ricardos really were in front of the socialites she often found herself among. Her tendency to lie led to a friendly wager in the episode, "Lucy Tells the Truth," where the Mertzes and Ricky bet she can't go 24 hours without telling a lie. Between Instagram filters that make every landscape seem more spectacular and Facebook brags that embellish the truth, Millennials have a reputation for overselling whatever it is that they're doing when they post about it online. For Lucy, telling the truth actually ends up putting her in danger (pictured here), so maybe she and Millennials are right about the relative harmlessness of little white lies?
10. Lucy is obsessed with celebrities, too.
In addition to craving fame, or maybe because of it, Lucy has a lot of love for celebrities on her show. Millennials, often noted for their celebrity obsession, can relate. Hilarious episodes find Lucy impersonating celebrities to impress friends ("Lucy and Harpo Marx") and weeping over pitiful celebrity souvenirs ("Lucy Visits Graumans"), including a tin can she kept because Cary Grant's car ran over it. She goes so far with her celebrity mania in "Lucy and John Wayne," that she even tries to steal John Wayne's footprints from the cement in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater. By the episode's end, she's made it into the famous cowboy's arms, along with her BFF, which is maybe the most Millennial Lucy has ever looked.