Why Lucille Ball Still Matters Today

Tomorrow is Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, in case you’re wondering what’s up with all of those I Love Lucy marathons on TV. Her rebellious housewife adventures might seem tame by today’s standards, but Lucy is responsible for defining “today’s standards” in a few nifty ways. So, let’s pay some tribute to the late ginger-locked comedienne and gander at a bit of boundary-breaking legacy from 200 episodes of one of the longest running television sitcoms ever. You might want to get your mom/grandma in here for this one.

Wearing “the pants”

Without Lucille Ball, would there be a Tina Fey? As the first female television executive, Lucy headed Desilu Productions. The whole show was originally a maneuver to get her lady-lovin’ band leader hubby off the road and back in Hollywood, where Lucy was anchored with a Columbia contract. The couple had a tumultuous off screen relationship (read: boozing womanizer, ahem ahem) but they put on a good show, picked up a ton of Emmys, and nurtured a company that eventually begat… Star Trek.