Country music singer, composer, and actress Reba McEntire has begun production on a remake of the landmark television comedy I Love Lucy. McEntire will portray “Lucy McEntire Ricardo,” country singing star and wife of “househusband” Benecio “Benny” Ricardo, played by Benecio Del Toro.
“This time, it’s gonna have a switch-up!” said McEntire. “The wife’s gonna be the star, and the husband’s gonna try and git in on the act!”
The 30-minute comedy, entitled Reba Loves Lucy, is slated for the “Lucy Slot,” named for the original time slot I Love Lucy occupied – Monday nights at 9 on CBS. Co-starring with McEntire and Del Toro will be Benedict Cumberbatch and Susan Sarandon as the couple’s landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. Peter Dinklage will portray the McEntire-Ricardo’s son, ‘Little Benny.’
“I just love that ol’ gal Lucy, with her zany git-ups and all them crazy schemes she’d plum wind up in,” said McEntire, from her home in Nashville. “I think it’s about time we re-did it fer today’s country music fans and fer the youngins!”
Industry insiders are baffled as to why a show so closely identified with comedy legend Lucille Ball would be remade, especially since the original sitcom, broadcast from 1951–1957, has never been off the air. Lucy reruns still maintain an American viewership estimated at 40 million.
“I done a Broadway musical, and I done my own show,” said McEntire, “but I wanted to do somethin’ that I’d git a challenge out of. My friends all say I’m a kooky, zany red-headed gal too, just like that ol’ Lucille Ball, so I called up my manager and said ‘Let’s get this buggy on the road, Slim!'”
Slim Williams, McEntire’s manager, held a series of meetings with television executives who green-lit the project. Williams unsuccessfully requested a meeting with Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr., Lucy and Desi’s children, before production began.
“Well, that didn’t go so good,” said Williams. “Lucie used some language not fit for a lady, and Desi Jr. hired a couple of tough guys to come on down here and put some hurtin’ on us. I was advised to lay low for a spell,” he said, in hushed tones.
It was later revealed that Arnaz, Jr. was sending a team of high-powered lawyers to try and halt production of the proposed series.
Nevertheless, pre-production began last month, and the first two episodes have been completed.
“The hardest part has been gittin’ all them scrinched up faces right, like Lucy did all the time,” admits McEntire. “I been studyin’ the old show, walkin’ ‘round with all these goofy looks on my face, swingin’ my arms to and fro like a circus monkey – folks round here think I’m havin’ a spell or goin’ crazier than a outhouse rat! But I been practicin’ hard! Lucy never did cut no corners, and dad-gummit, I won’t neither!”
Sean Carey, president of the International I Love Lucy Fan Club had this to say via Facebook:
This is a disgrace. I’m sure that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are turning over in their graves, and if I were dead I would be doing the same thing, because honestly I wanted to be dead when I heard about this. I urge everyone to sign a petition I have started called ‘Rebuff The Reba Reboot’ before it’s too late.
I have smashed all my Reba McEntire CDs, which is hard to do since they are made of an advanced plastic material, but I was so mad I smashed them anyway with my bear (sic) hands.
McEntire is aware of the severe backlash the show has created.
“Yeah, I heard tell ‘bout some folks grumblin’ and getting’ their blood all angried up, but I say, give it a chance! Lucy always took a chance, like that one time she set her nose afire, so I’m gonna take a risk too, dagnabbit! And I get to sing!”
“I want to cancel this thing before it even starts,” said fan club president Carey, “so I’m calling the Neilsen ratings people to see if they can help me.”
Carey’s Rebuff The Reba Reboot boycott has gathered nearly 2 million online signatures.
Currently, there are no plans to halt production of Reba Loves Lucy.