I Love Lucy

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for I Love Lucy. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

Lucy changes from attempting to tell Ricky the news about the baby in a private moment, to allowing him to find out during his nightclub act.

Main Character Growth

Lucy needs to stop waiting for the right moment and perfect way to tell her husband the good news.

Main Character Approach

Lucy attempts several different ways to divulge the news to Ricky about her pregnancy, and does not give up until she has accomplished her goal.

Main Character Mental Sex

Lucy evaluates her environment in terms of time, especially when it comes to telling Ricky about their baby in a timely manner.

Story Driver

Lucy decides how and when to tell Ricky the news after a visit to the doctor determines her pregnancy; after hearing about the problems that have arisen in his absence, Ricky decides to go back to work early; Ethel decides to reveal Lucy’s secret to Fred even after Lucy asks her not to; Fred decides to make a gift of his baseball treasures to the unborn child upon hearing the news; and so forth.

Story Limit

Lucy feels she has exhausted the personal ways she had planned to tell her husband about their impending bundle of joy, and allows him to discover the news while singing in front of an audience.

Story Outcome

Ricky comes to the happy realization he and Lucy will become parents in nine months time; Fred and Ethel understand they are chosen as godparents of the Ricardo’s baby; Ricky’s and his band’s performance meets with resounding applause; and so forth.

Story Judgment

Although not in the way she had planned, Lucy is ultimately able to convey the information to Ricky they are about to become proud parents.

Overall Story Throughline

""Lucy is Enceinte""

Overall Story Throughline

Lucy endeavors to tell Ricky the news of her pregnancy; Ricky manages a nightclub; the band rehearses for the evening’s show; and so forth.

Overall Story Concern

Lucy must grasp the fact she is pregnant; Fred and Ethel understand they will be the godparents; Lucy tries to make Ricky understand he is a father; Ricky understands managing a club is problematic; and so forth.

Overall Story Issue

Lucy construes her malaise as a temporary case of the blahs; Ethel interprets her observations of Lucy’s behavior as Lucy being pregnant; Ricky translates his observations of Lucy’s solicitous actions as a cover-up for one of her many indiscretions; and so forth.

Overall Story Counterpoint

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Interpretation vs.Senses

Overall Story Problem

Lucy does not want Fred (or anyone else) to find out she is having a baby before she tells Ricky, as she thinks it would unjust to her husband; Ricky is outraged by the union’s unreasonable demands; the band members feel Ricky is unfair when he cancels their five minute break; and so forth.

Overall Story Solution

Although he is not the first to know, Ricky does find out about his impending fatherhood the same day as Lucy; despite Ricky’s concerns, his show at the Tropicana is a success; and so forth.

Overall Story Symptom

Lucy attempts to break the news of her pregnancy to Ricky amid ringing telephones, buzzing doorbells, and uninvited guests; Ricky is trying to prepare for opening night betwixt and between union troubles, disgruntled musicians, and a wife who continually interrupts him; Fred and Ethel create turmoil for Lucy when they barge in on the Ricardos at an inopportune moment; and so forth.

Overall Story Response

Lucy has arranged Ricky’s luncheon to be conducive to telling him the glad tidings; Ricky feels the only way he can make opening night a success is to be on hand to organize his musicians and union workers; Lucy directs Fred and Ethel out of her house so she may speak to Ricky in privacy; and so forth.

Overall Story Catalyst

When Lucy complains of lethargy and weight gain, Ethel’s first impulse is to ask if she is pregnant. Lucy’s automatic response is to dismiss the idea, yet Ethel’s suggestion compels her to begin to think about the possibility; Lucy instinctively knows it will be detrimental to her relationship with Ricky if she doesn’t let him in on the news of the baby as soon as possible, forcing her to hurry along with the plan to tell him.

Sense of Self
Overall Story Inhibitor

Although Lucy has experienced the symptoms of pregnancy, she does not take them seriously and does not immediately visit the doctor because it is her perception that she cannot conceive a child, impeding the understanding she and Ricky are, in fact, to have a child.

Overall Story Benchmark

The more Ricky is able to handle the problems at the club, the more he feels his show will be a success; and so forth.

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

After eleven years of marriage, Lucy discovers she is pregnant. With Fred and Ethel’s encouragement, Lucy sets about telling her husband the news in the special way she has always imagined. Interruptions and interference sabotage her plan, and she eventually changes her approach. Ricky is finally able to comprehend the situation, much to the delight of everyone.

Main Character Throughline

Lucy Ricardo — Wife

Main Character Throughline

Lucy finds herself in the “family way.”

Main Character Concern

Lucy has spent a considerable amount of time in the past devising a special way to tell her husband they are having a baby… “All my life I’ve dreamed about how I was going to tell my husband when we were going to have a baby” (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll, 1952).

Main Character Issue

Lucy feels she is constantly being interrupted while she tries to have an important discussion with her husband. Lucy makes an effort to stop her husband from attending to business so she may discuss her happy secret. When her attempts fail she interrupts his performance at the club, “the scene is cleverly written so that Ricky wakes up to the news while singing ‘We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me,’ a request Lucy planted with the headwaiter before she sneaked into the audience” (Harris, W.G., 1991, p. 188).

Main Character Counterpoint

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Interdiction vs.Prediction

Main Character Problem

Lucy doesn’t feel she has a fair shake at telling Ricky about the baby “because I kept getting interrupted by telephones, sandwiches, and certain busybodies” (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll, 1952).

Main Character Solution

Lucy will have resolved the conflict she feels of only herself knowing about the baby, once she and her husband share in this knowledge.

Main Character Symptom

Lucy is driven to reveal the news of her pregnancy to Ricky in a special way and at the right time.

Main Character Response

Lucy’s talent lies in the imaginative ways she plans to tell Ricky about the baby.

Main Character Unique Ability

It is inevitable that Lucy will make Ricky understand they are to be parents, as pregnancy is difficult to hide.

Main Character Critical Flaw

Lucy’s propensity for fabrication causes Ricky not to take her seriously.

Main Character Benchmark

The way things are going, Lucy feels “if I don’t tell him soon I might as well wait and let the baby tell him” (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll, 1952). Although her words are an exaggeration, they display to what degree she finds the situation as unacceptable.

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

Impulsive, zany, red-headed housewife

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

Lucy discovers the happy news she is pregnant and undertakes to tell her husband in a private moment. As each attempt fails, she realizes she must give up on how she has always planned to tell him, and allows him to find out during his nightclub act.

Influence Character Throughline

Ricky Ricardo — Husband

Influence Character Throughline

Ricky holds the fixed attitude that he is the breadwinner of the family and his priority is to concentrate on what is happening in the workplace.

Influence Character Concern

Ricky has many recollections of his wife’s crazy antics, causing him not to take her too seriously. When frustrated by the frantic pace of life in New York, he recalls the simple life in Cuba.

Influence Character Issue

Ricky is wary of Lucy’s loving behavior, partially justified by his memories of her acting in this manner when she has something to hide. Instead of accepting her thoughtfulness he asks, “How much are you overdrawn? Lucy, what did you buy?” (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll, 1952). As an immigrant facing a language barrier, Ricky must be cautious in his business operations.

Influence Character Counterpoint

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Suspicion vs.Evidence

Influence Character Problem

Ricky is constantly having to adjust to the world around him, beginning with his new life in America.

Influence Character Solution

As focused as Ricky is with the chaos resulting from change, and as directed as he is to make sense out of it all, all he must do is to continue on as he has to achieve success, proof of that being the success of the club and his happy marriage.

Influence Character Symptom

Ricky concentrates on the disorder happening at the club. “The lights are all wrong, the costumes are all wrong, nobody knows their number” (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll). This causes problems for Lucy, who wants his full attention.

Influence Character Response

Ricky’s need to create order out of the chaos happening at the Tropicana takes the time away from Lucy she needs to tell him about the baby.

Influence Character Unique Ability

Ricky asks Lucy point blank to come out with what is on her mind. Because everyone at the club is listening as well, Lucy is unable to tell the truth, and asks only for the correct time. Ricky asks her again to tell the truth, but she cannot and leaves in tears.

Influence Character Critical Flaw

When Ricky gripes he would like to return to the simple life in Cuba, “just the two of them,” Lucy knows this will never happen as his future path is to be a father in the land of opportunity.

Influence Character Benchmark

Ricky’s immediate response to the troubles at the club are to recall the simple life of Cuba; his immediate response to Lucy’s solicitous behavior is to recall other times when this behavior signified cover-up of one of her many follies.

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

Cuban, struggling, suave band leader

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Ricky is caught up in the opening night pandemonium at the club, distracted by his wife and a myriad of production problems.

Relationship Story Throughline

""We're Having a Baby, My Baby and Me""

Relationship Story Throughline

Lucy and Ricky each think in the manner 1950’s society has defined for them as husband and wife, each fulfilling a role that does not cross over to the other’s:
Ricky:  You should be happy you’re a woman…I know you think that you know how tough my job is but believe me, if you traded places with me, you would be surprised.
Lucy:  Believe me if I traded places with you, you would be surprised. (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll, 1952)

Relationship Story Concern

Lucy has spent many years imagining the perfect way to tell Ricky they’re going to have a child; conflict occurs when Ricky doesn’t have the time to take part in the implementation of her idea.

Relationship Story Issue

Lucy wants to tell Ricky they are about to become a family of three under what she feels are the optimum conditions and at the right moment which, of course, never occurs.

Relationship Story Counterpoint

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Circumstances vs.Situation

Relationship Story Problem

Conflict between the Ricardos is created when it appears to Lucy that Ricky is not giving her a chance to tell him important news, and Ricky discerns Lucy’s thoughtful acts as an attempt to soften a confession about one of her silly escapades.

Relationship Story Solution

Ricky discovering the true state of affairs (Lucy’s pregnancy) solves the problems between the two.

Relationship Story Symptom

Ricky is befuddled by Lucy’s actions. She prepares an elegant lunch and changes his usual eating place from the kitchen to the living room, yet when he attempts to enjoy his meal, she sits on his lap and asks him to gulp it down so she may talk to him. He is further confused when Lucy slams the door on their best friends, and after Ricky invites them in, it is not long before Lucy rudely asks them to leave. When Lucy visits him at the Tropicana, she makes it clear she has important news to share but cannot among the flurry of activity. When he quiets all activity, she mystifies her husband by only asking for the correct time.

Relationship Story Response

Lucy arranges Ricky’s luncheon to be conducive to breaking the news of her pregnancy to him; Ricky brings the activity in his club to a halt so he may listen to Lucy; and so forth.

State of Being
Relationship Story Catalyst

Ricky’s forthrightness and Lucy’s tendency toward deception increases conflict between the two. Ricky would prefer Lucy blurt out what is on her mind, while Lucy cannot, as she feels it would detract from the romance of sharing her discovery with her husband. Lucy “beating around the bush” raises Ricky’s suspicions that she has been involved in one of her many escapades.

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Based on experience, Ricky does not to take his wife or her dilemmas seriously, impeding his understanding that his wife has important news for him; Lucy is conditioned to not directly state the truth, delaying Ricky from finding out she is pregnant.

Relationship Story Benchmark

As long as Ricky thinks Lucy is acting “just like a woman,” there is no progress in their relationship. As soon as he realizes she is carrying their child, they are able to grow closer.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

Lucy attempts to convey important news to Ricky. Although he is willing to listen to what she has to say, he does not take her too seriously, nor allows for the time or privacy she needs to tell him. The conflict is resolved when Lucy finds a way to let Ricky figure the news out for himself.

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

The goal of common concern is for Ricky to understand he and Lucy are going to have a baby.

Overall Story Consequence

If Lucy is unable to convey the news of their changing family status in a timely manner to Ricky, and if he is unable to understand she wishes to share information of importance in privacy, they will have to envision a future that lacks sound marital communication.

Overall Story Cost

Ricky’s recollections of Lucy’s screwball behavior makes it difficult for him to take her seriously. Even though Ricky knows Lucy wishes to discuss a certain matter with him, he feels he can put her on hold, losing an early opportunity to share in the news of the baby and causing frustration for his wife.

Overall Story Dividend

Lucy and Ricky are able to put their past misfortune of not conceiving a child behind them; unlike former times, Ethel is the first to know about a baby, “I’ve never been let in on it so soon” (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll, 1952).

Overall Story Requirements

Ricky must be informed of the pregnancy; Fred and Ethel must keep quiet; and so forth.

Overall Story Prerequisites

Lucy must be pregnant; Fred and Ethel must act like they don’t know anything; and so forth.

Overall Story Preconditions

At Lucy’s behest, Fred and Ethel must stay their impulse to blurt out the news to Ricky; and so forth.

Overall Story Forewarnings

The way things are going, Ricky will either find out he is to become a father from an inappropriate source, or much too late. And, if he and Lucy are not able to share in this important information, their future of sound communication within their marriage is bleak.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

Ethel learns the new word “dauncey” a word Lucy’s grandmother made up “for when you’re not really sick but you just feel lousy” (Oppenheimer, Pugh, Carroll, 1952); Lucy pays a visit to the doctor to find out why she is feeling dauncey and subsequently learns she is pregnant; Fred hears the news about the baby from Ethel; Ricky finds out the costumes will not arrive until nightfall, Marco learns from Ricky if the costumes are not delivered by 2:00 PM, Ricky will sue; and so forth.

Overall Story Signpost 2

Lucy visits her doctor; Lucy makes lunch for Ricky; Ethel offers to help do the dishes; Fred gives his treasured baseball items for “little Fred” to Lucy, and so forth.

Overall Story Signpost 3

The Tropicana’s owner’s nephew secures a reservation for a party of six; Ricky wants Lucy to pass on her news; the band gets a five minute break; Lucy loses her nerve; and so forth.

Overall Story Signpost 4

Everyone understands the Ricardo’s are to become parents.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Lucy doesn’t believe she’s pregnant because she hasn’t been able to conceive in the past eleven years of marriage.

Main Character Signpost 2

Lucy is concerned that, with the way things are going, the baby will be the one to tell Ricky of his impending arrival.

Main Character Signpost 3

Lucy goes to the club to tell Ricky about their blessed future event.

Main Character Signpost 4

Lucy doesn’t allow the news of her pregnancy go beyond the present day.

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

Ricky reminisces with Fred about the trials and tribulations of show biz.

Influence Character Signpost 2

Ricky’s immediate response to the threat of union trouble is to rush down to the Tropicana.

Influence Character Signpost 3

Ricky is occupied with his desire to put on a great show.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Ricky contemplates the note that is handed to him asking the band leader to sing “We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me” as a way to announce from a wife to her husband they are to become parents; he considers couples at the restaurant tables as the potential parents, and doesn’t consider Lucy until she nods her head YES.

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Ricky has no idea how important it is to Lucy for her to give him her news.

Relationship Story Signpost 2

Lucy is frustrated when Ricky does not take the time to listen to her and advises his wife to implement whatever idea she has using her own judgment.

Relationship Story Signpost 3

Ricky’s frustration stems from his thinking Lucy is acting “just like a woman.”

Relationship Story Signpost 4

Lucy and Ricky announce to the world they are becoming parents.

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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