Podcast Review: ‘The Plot Thickens’ Season 3

The word “icon” is thrown around a lot in entertainment, but there is no denying that actress/producer/comedian Lucille Ball is an icon of pop culture through and through. Even as a child in a small New York town Lucy was eager to entertain. First she ventured to New York and became a chorus girl before heading to Hollywood for a modest career in film. It was when she and her husband Desi Arnaz made the leap to television that she became a legend who changed the game. Lucy’s life was filled with the highest of highs but she was plagued with problems throughout her career from a failed marriage to accusations of treason and traditional showbiz career pitfall. Her real life story is as compelling as anything anyone could have put onscreen and for their third season of the acclaimed podcast the Plot Thickens, Turner Classic Movies looked at the life of Lucille Ball.

For those of us who largely recognize the famed red-head from reruns of her legendary sitcom, the Plot Thickens is a must-listen. In this podcast the true depth of her life and brilliance is laid out and listeners learn just how much she impacted entertainment as a whole. When the opportunity to make her own show arose, Lucy wanted to do things her way and completely changed the way television was made. I Love Lucy first to film episodes on actual film (with consulting from legendary cinematographer Karl Freund) instead of live broadcast and standing firm that her actual husband Desi played her husband making them TV’s first interracial couple. These are just a few of the pioneering moves she made as her and Desi founded the eventual entertainment juggernaut Desilu Studios. She was the creative genius and he was the sharp businessman and they were a phenomenal team, even if their actual relationship was filled with equal parts passion and turmoil. What really makes this season’s story arc of the Plot Thickens stand is that there are a full 5 episodes before we even reach I Love Lucy, telling the story of how Lucille Ball became the Lucille Ball we all know, honing her craft and being mentored by those who could see her potential.

Beyond her legendary career, the podcast focuses on the personal life of the famed actress especially her marriage, divorce and complicated relationship with Desi Arnaz. While their marriage may have been far from perfect it makes for compelling listening. By the end of the series if you are not getting choked listening to the story of their final moments together and his final message during her Kennedy Center Honors you may have a heart made of rocks.

As with the previous two season, the Plot Thickens proves it is one of the best podcasts around. Expertly stitching together decades of information to craft the story of an internationally-recognized staples of entertainment is no easy feat but they accomplish it to perfection. From a chorus girl with high hopes to one of the greatest talents of the 20th century, the story of Lucy is told in detail by historians and those who knew her best.