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What is Grudge Match?

The Scenario

"Please, please, everyone... quiet down. I have an announcement to make!" shouts the CEO over the crowd of noisy employees.

"As of today, Shotz Brewery has expanded into the area of selling fine wines alongside our beer. We aren't going to make the wine here, instead we have found a supplier who learned wine-making methods while on vacation in Italy and are going to sell their product cheap. All I need now is for two of you to drive over to their house and pick it up."

A quiet hush comes over the room.

"Well, since we have no volunteers... Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, you've been selected. Get the van."

Some time later, Laverne and Shirley pull up in front of the address and head inside. They go upstairs to the apartment listed under "The Ricardos" and knock on the door. When there is no answer, they open the door to find two women stomping around in a large vat in the center of the room. They are covered from head to toe in mushed-up grapes. Lucy and Ethel look over at their visitors and say, "Are you from the brewery?"

"Yes!" shouts Laverne, appalled by the sight. "What are you two numbskulls doing?"

"This is traditional Italian wine-making!" retorts Lucy, as she smashes some more grapes in the vat.

"We can't sell that, who knows where your feet have been!"

Lucy is clearly angered by the accusation. She screams, "I know where they're gonna be, you little wench... up your ass!" Then she leaps from the vat and tackles the two Wisconsinites.

So, Brendan, which pair of prime-time princesses pounds plenty of pain into their poor opponents?

Lucy Ricardo & Ethel Mertz, I Love Lucy Laverne DeFazio & Shirley Feeney Meaney, Laverne & Shirley

Lucy & Ethel vs. Laverne & Shirley

The Commentary

BRENDAN: The phrase "Yassar Arafat at a Mossad convention" keeps coming to mind as I contemplate the quantity and quality of the shelacking Laverne and Shirley are about to take.

First of all, let's look at our combatants' motivation. Laverne and Shirley are here as part of their jobs. Commendable in a Puritan, I'm not allowed to have any fun so I might as well work like a maniac kind of way, but not exactly an eye of the tiger motivation. Contrast that with Lucy and Ethel, who are fighting to pay for a trip to Hong Kong or to meet Bob Cummings, or just to fix Ricky and Fred but good. Whatever the reason, you can be sure its something zany, and that they will end up getting it no matter the cost in property and lives.

Then there's the Ricky and Fred factor. Ricky is a Cuban-American nightclub owner in 1950s New York. In other words, mob connected. And this isn't your kinder, gentler, let's talk about our feelings, Tony Soprano mafia. This is Mafia classic, the mob of Lansky, of Costello, of Anastasia. The mob that didn't need no Italian-American Anti-Defamation League to protect it, because it still knew how to use machine guns. For a chance to do a "favor" for their favorite Latin singer and to muscle back into the alcohol business, they'll loan Lucy all the muscle she could ever need. And if Ricky's friends aren't enough, there's still Fred Mertz: A New York City landlord. A breed so depraved that even the combined forces of the cockroaches and rats have only managed to fight them to a savage draw. Against all of this, the only chance Laverne and Shirley will get to take is the chance to run for their lives.

JOE: First off, let me just say that you deserve some kind of award for that opening paragraph. I have never seen quite an exquisite melding of topical political humor and the word "shelacking."

On a more serious note, even a group of "classic" organized New York mobsters can't stop a horde of drunken idiots. That's right, Laverne and Shirley have the power of Wisconsin (TM) on their side. I know you may be thinking that this fight is on Lucy and Ethel's turf, but anyone who believes that 17,000 University of Wisconsin students wouldn't follow a beer truck 1500 miles has never been to Milwaukee.

Secondly, Lucy and Ethel may have Fred and Ricky to help them out, but Laverne and Shirley have some guys for backup, too. Lenny and Squiggy are always along for the ride and ready to start some trouble for their two cute neighbors. Now, before you tell me that Fred is tougher than them just because he can beat up cockroaches, remember that Squiggy was featured prominently on The Simpsons. Marge even screamed in agony when he drowned.

Finally, one thing Lucy and Ethel don't have is good teamworking skills. Sometimes Lucy is working with Ethel against Fred and Ricky and sometimes she is working with Ricky against Fred and Ethel. Laverne and Shirley, on the other hand, are all about togetherness. They work together, they live together and they kick ass together. Lucy and Ethel may be in their own place, but Laverne and Shirley are gonna be the ones left to clean the blood off the walls.

BRENDAN: Joe, Joe, Joe are you really trying to claim Squiggy's Simpsons appearance as some sort of triumph. Need I remind you that the ghost of Lucy Ricardo has also appeared on the Simpsons? Who do you think is more impressive: some washed up actor or one of the living dead, plotting its revenge from beyond the grave.

As for the Wisconsin factor, while you accurately predict the destructive potential of the Cheesehead Army, you are in error on which side they will support. Remember this is 1950s America, and who was the most powerful Wisconsinian of that era? While one might have once said the Fonz, his humiliating defeat at the hands of Melissa Etheridge has forever tarred him. Which means that the most powerful Wisconsinite of that time was (cue the Imperial March): Joseph McCarthy. Who is Tail Gunner Joe going to back? Lucy's an all-American girl whose every scheme is designed to increase her wealth or fame. She's clearly as American as Enron. And Ricky's family owns a tobacco plantation in Cuba. They'll be the first up against the wall when Castro comes. An impeccable anti-communist resume for the Ricardos. By contrast Laverne and Shirley are members of the working class and thus obviously suspect as Reds. The Wisconish legions inspired by the latest John Birch pamphlets will gleefully eviscerate Laverne and Shirley as part of a good clean game of Kill the Commie, leaving Lucy and Ethel free to tackle the far trickier problem of how to get $100 out of Fred's moneybelt without him knowing about it.

JOE: I can't believe you actually think Ricky's Cuban heritage is going to benefit him in a McCarthyan witch hunt. Couple that with the fact that Lucille Ball was accused of being a Communist in real life and it makes for a very dubious case for the support of the Wisconsin alcoholics. Laverne and Shirley, on the other hand, are hometown, girl-next-door, Americans who work at a brewery and therefore have a much better chance of the Wisconsinite back-up.

Not that I'm surprised by your argument. This is the second time you've made a very thin connection to violent people where, in fact, Laverne and Shirley have a much more solid attachment. I am, of course, referring to "Ricky is a Cuban nightclub owner and therefore has mob ties" argument. One thing you forget about the mafia is that it is comprised of Italian families and Laverne is from an Italian family. What do you think the chances are of the mob aiding foreigners over one of their own? Slim to none.

Lastly, one thing I feel the need to bring up is theme songs. Every good fighter has a cool theme song. Rocky, Indiana Jones, Batman. Did "I Love Lucy" have a cool theme song? No. Laverne and Shirley sure did, though. "Making Our Dreams Come True" was a Top-25 hit and a darn good tune if I don't mind saying so myself. Lucy and Ethel just can't compete with that level of coolness.

The Results

Lucy & Ethel (1398 - 63.5%)


Laverne & Shirley (804 - 36.5%)

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Voter Comments


it takes university of wisconsin students 1500 miles to figure out how to stop and commandear a beer truck?? any college student from michigan could easily figure out who he needs to call to set up a fake roadblock to get it easily. makes me feel that much better now about not getting accepted there!!!

- College Boy in Ann Arbor, Meeeshigan!!

Silver Grudgie ROTW Silver Medal GrudgieTM

"Looozy! I'm home early!" The four women freeze as Ricky Ricardo enters the room. At first, Ricky breaks into that Peewee Herman laugh upon seeing the room covered in smashed grapes. But the laughter turns into a flurry of Spanish curses when he sees that several clumps of his wife's famous hair are clutched in Laverne's fist.

Now consider: this is a man who has no qualms about spanking his wife to punish her. You read that right. In fact, once he actually paddled her on live TV, while singing "Babaloo". If he does this to his wife, imagine the atrocities he's willing to inflict on a couple of wisecracking bimbos who have invaded his home. Lucy will definitely be crinkling her nose and saying "Eeeeewwwww."

When the carnage has abated, Fred trundles in, takes one look at the aftermath of the massacre, and remarks "Ethel, have you been trying to make casserole again?" Iris out to heart, cue the band.

P.S. My tagline writer is not for sale. My taglines are Powered By The Cheat!

- Oxymoron - Eating Pie and Getting Doppy

Bronze Grudgie ROTW Bronze Medal GrudgieTM

There are a lot of different factors to take into account here. For instance, Lucy's high pain threshold from years of Ricky beating her. It seems domestic abuse is good for something after all.

But really, it will be Ethel that wins this one. Her seduction of Lucy was no real test of her skills. I figure she'll set her sights higher as soon as she sees Laverne and Shirley.

After several minutes of Lucy's high-pitched wailing, Ethel will step in and be the voice of reason. She'll suggest they all discuss things over a few beers. The beer, coupled with the fumes from the wine, soon clouds the judgement of Laverne, and Shirley is soon to follow after hearing some stories about Ricky and Fred.

I'm pretty sure that when Ricky finally gets home, he'll be confronted by four angry women with broken bottles (or worse!). Guess it's his turn to do some 'splainin.

- Safety Swami Pippin

Just a few lame thoughts on why I voted for Laverne and Shirley:

1. I've seen an episode of I Love Lucy, the supposedly classic one with Vitameatavegamin (holy CRAP, I can't believe I remembered that). It sucked.

2. Brendan argued that Fred is tough because he's fought rats and roaches to a standstill. In my eyes this means that Lucy and Ethel are against rats. Now I happen to like rats, so I'll have to vote against Lucy and Ethel.

3. In "Rat Race" a man dresses up like Lucy, and actually manages to convince people that he's a woman. This can't be good for Lucy. Classic Grudge Match logic. Now please do a match between people my generation knows.

- Thought Police

Once the "L" is ripped off the sweater -- and it WILL happen -- Lucy and Ethel won't have a prayer.

- Charge Man

Hmmm, 4 ugly women fighting in a vat of grapes.

Well, that fantesy just died a horrible death.

- Mr. A

First of all, where the hell are the orange borders around the contestants' pictures? I demand borders, dammit!!

But I have to go with Laverne and Shirley because anyone who can't bring themselves to use the word "pregnant" just doesn't have a chance in the Grudge Match.

- The Amazing Rando~!

::sigh:: You know, I had a couple ideas for a good commentary, before I remembered where Laverne and Shirley are from. Let me elaborate, ok?

I have an ex-girlfriend. Ok, to be honest, I have many ex- girlfriends. I'm not good with relationships. However, the ex in question is from Wisconsin, and she is one of only two women that i've ever really loved. Unfortunately, i realized my mistake too late. She spent half of her time cheating on me, and the other half breaking up with me because she "can't have a relationship with someone who lives so far away".

Now, I might be a little bitter because of this. In fact, I might be a LOT bitter. Therefore...

F*@% you Laverne, F@#& you Shirley, F*@$ you Joseph McCarthy, F$!# you Brewers, Bucks, Badgers, Packers, the cast of That 70's Show and Happy fact, F&*# YOU WISCONSIN!!!!!!!

- Scotty J. - I don't even like Lucy and Ethel. I just hate my ex-girlfriend.

The deciding factor: "Waaaaaaaaaaah!"

You see, whenever things don't go Lucy's way, she must go "Waaaaaaaaaaah!". If she didn't go "Waaaaaaaaaaah!", but rather sat down, pulled out a pipe and said "Dear me, chaps, let's talk about this for a minute," people watching TV would say, "Good gravy, why isn't Lucy going "Waaaaaaaaaaah!"? It's like her catchphrase!"

So you see, Lucy's "Waaaaaaaaaaah!" is something she simply MUST do. Now, in a fight, it is inevitable that Laverne or Shirley will manage to hit Lucy at some point. Then she goes, "Waaaaaaaaaaah!" and about halfway through it, Laverne & Shirley turn around and chuck Ethel out the window. They then just keep hitting and kicking and scratching and pulverising Lucy, whose cries of "Waaaaaaaaaaah!" are getting more and more pained and frantic. The "Waaaaaaaaaaah!" will then turn into a "bubble-bubble-bubble" as Laverne & Shirley hold her head under the grape mush.

Finally: Were you getting annoyed at all those "Waaaaaaaaaaah!"s? Well, that's your typical I Love Lucy half-hour! Laverne & Shirley must win for the good of rerun-kind.

- Mixmaster Flibble - "Waaaaaa*BANG*BANG*BANG*

Let's give this a long, hard look, as I explain why Lucy and Ethel will suffer badly.

1) Family Connections - Lucy has Little Ricky to worry about. She can't risk suffering death or serious injuries, or else her son won't have a mother. Ethel, while not burdened with kids (that we know of), has the eternal task of making sure Fred doesn't maim/slay/otherwise damage himself. Laverne and Shirley, meanwhile, only have each other to watch out for.

2) Occupations - Lucy is constantly bouncing from one job to another, never having time to get settled before she moves on. In addition, her optimism over this dulls the blow of unemployment. Ethel has the same problem. Not only that, but they're comfortable even without jobs. Laverne and Shirley are trapped in dead-end brewery jobs, with no hope of advancement, and a fierce CEO hounding them.

3) Love Connection - Lucy and Ethel are both (reasonably) happily married, to men who (despite many quirks) seem to be good to them. Laverne and Shirley can't find men (well, Shirley did eventually, but not by the time of this match), the only males they are in constant contact with are Lenny and Squiggy, and both girls are still virgins (judging from various lines in the show). The RAGE (tm) is on their side here.

Final Analysis: It will take the proctologists quite some time to extract those bottles from the personal cavities of Lucy and Ethel.

- The Man Called True - "Now, if Laverne and Shirley wrestled Rachel and Monica..."

Being Irish, I know that redheads have an unlimited amount of The Rage™ in ready supply. (It must have something to do with being portrayed as stupid and surly in all Hollywood productions.) Lucy alone will dismember Laverne and Shirley, then attack Ethel with the remaining Rage™ she has left to become the only star actress on her show.

- Grudge-Pops™: I'm hoooooooooome!

I cannot believe how badly this has come out? Since when can a good old-fashioned two-on-two between two pairs of ladies become a matter of who would survive a McCarthy witchhunt by successfully defending their capitalism?

No, This is the ninties, not the fifties, and it's not about Capitalism anymore. It's about patriotism. Who loves America more? Certainly not Lucy and Ethel, constantly derided by their husbands and denied money and priveliges at the hands of a patriarchal fifties America?

Moreover, you've got to take into account that the entire premise of I Love Lucy was two stupid women. Not going to fare well in a hyper-liberal America. Women are just as intelligent and functional as normal people - er, men. So then Laverne and Shirley now have an angry mob of feminists on their side too, because Lucy and Ethel willinglky defamed an entire generation of women.

This match goes to Laverne, Shirley, the American flag, and a mob of angry lesbians. But really, with conditions like that, who's the real winner?

- The Jonerator

Who can doubt the wisdom of The Fonz? And the Fonz Himself did speak to Richie, of the Cunninghams. And the Fonz did say of Laverne, and of Shirley--"They like to fight, that's what!"
And yea verily, the Chippies From Milwalkee didst kickth the old bags to the curb.
And there was much rejoicing.

- Bosda Di'Chi

Laverne and Shirley get the nod, because when i was young, someone told me that "Tarzan Raised Desi Arnez' Rat" was a palindrome, and i was just about to put that into my response, and then i looked at, and it's NOT A FUCKING PALINDROME...

You can mess with my family, i don't care
you can mess with my friends, i don't like them anyway
hell, you can sleep with my girlfriend if you want

but for christ's sake, don't fuck with my Grudge Match (tm) responses!

Yes, i'm bitter

- Ryan Neilan

Separate beds = sleeping alone = frustration = the RAGE (tm)

What do you think?

- ticklewigglejigglepickle

While I orignially voted for Laverne & Shirley, on the basis that Lucy & Ethel were just ditzy homemakers inferior to 70s uber- feminists Laverne & Shirley, I just realized something...

"Laverne and Shirley" is a spin-off of "Happy Days", and as we all know, spin-offs and sequels are never as good as the originals.

On one memorable episode of "Happy Days", The Fonz was upstaged by a bumbling alien named Mork (who, as we know, got his own show, "Mork and Mindy", and kicked off Robin Williams's whole "klutzy, iconoclastic man-child" shtick).

A long time ago in a Grudge Match far, far away (end Star Wars Reference™), Mork and his posse (Ya know, I always wanted to say 'posse') got their butts kicked by the MiB.

The Mask could easily wipe the floor with the Men in Black with his cartoony antics and nigh-invulnerability (especially the more violent comic book version).

And in the movie "The Mask", he does the "Cuban Pete" musical number, which is a song originally composed and performed by... Dezi Arnaz and Lucille Ball! Obviously an homage to a superior talent. (Not that there are many talents inferior to Jim Carrey, but I digress...)

So clearly...
L&S < Happy Days < Mork and Mindy < The Men in Black < The Mask < I Love Lucy

Chalk up another one for Grudge Match Logic™.

- Andy the Anarchist

Am I the only one who thinks that Lucy screaming, "I know where they're gonna be, you little wench... up your ass!" is so out-of-character that it is nearly a sin?

...No, you're probably getting hundreds of messages saying the same thing.

Well, I'll bet that I'm the only one who's never heard of Laverne & Shirley, so of course I'm going to vote for the hilarious Lucy and Ethel!

...Probably not again.

Maybe I should just comment that I know of Lucy impersonaters and immitators, but never have seen a Laverne or Shirley impersonater?

...There's probably been millions of comments like that.

Well, Lucy and Ethel met Harpo Marx, two-time Grudge-Match winner! That's calls to attention, doesn't it?

...No, it doesn't. That's probably been said over and over until Harpo Marx spoke for the first time to 'shut them up!' And that is cancelled out by them metting two-time Grudge-Match losing John Wayne...

Oh, sod it all! I'm never going to think of something original to say! Every victory I can imagine has already been sent two hundreds times in one day, every joke I've got will be written more clever by someone else, and every 'I Love Lucy' episode I've ever seen is going to be quoted and used to the full potential by another person! I'll never get my reply in! *sobs*

...Hey, wait a minute! This comment looks pretty original! Granted, it's not going to earn me any of the medals or any kind of award, but maybe the eds. will be so sick of 'Lucy & Ethel win because they'll stuff chocolate into Laverne's & Shirley's mouths until they pass out' comments that they put mine up!

Ya know, I'm doing what Lucy's doing: trying something really tricky and new to get onto the show. That's why I'm voting for her.

- Groucho Magmarx

Speaking as a half-Cuban: Lucy's married to a 100% Cuban male born in the mind set of the 1960s. A couple of trashy white girls from Jersey would be no problem.

- sarukun

Whenever I see two or more pairs of women facing off in competition, the ultimate factor for determining which duo recieves my support is this: which pair would I rather watch making out?

I'd sooner put a hornets nest down the front of my pants than watch Lucy and Ethel making out.

- Don "King" Milliken

This match cannot have a victor. The only thing that's going to happen is Fred, Lucy, Ethel, Ricky, Laverne, Shirley, Squiggy, 17,000 U Wisconsin students, and anyone I forgot to include sitting around, maybe having a drink, and laughing about the zany mixup that just occurred. I don't think I can come up with a rational explanation as to how this mixup will have come to pass, but let me just say that "zany mixup" was the ultimate ending to every episode of I Love Lucy and Laverne and Shirley that I can remember.

Maybe it'll turn out that Ricky is bringing the real wine over from the club, and Lucy and Ethel had no idea what was actually going on. Maybe Laverne and Shirley would've gone to the wrong address. Sure Ricky's appartment may be trashed by the end of this little "episode", but that won't stop the whole gang (pick one, really) from more hilarity next week, when -- nobody saw this comming -- another zany mixup happens.

- Sitcom Larry

Yeah, sure, Lucy can win. We all know she knows LOADS about wine making. Then she can get a loving cup stuck to her head, lock herself in a freezer, and break John Wayne's cement print thing. I mean what was up with that. She steals it that breaks it, but finds some "kooky" ideas to replace, it she breaks like four. Then at the end the Deus ex Machina, John "Count" Wayne comes in with three or four more and says "Here I brought you a year's supply" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????? What the heck?? She breaks that many in one day? Do you have any idea how many she could break in a year? One whole year of wacky adventures, not-so-vauge refrences to wife beatings, and shameless guest stars. I actually like the show but I don't think she could win.

P.S. Please include this
P.P.S. Please
P.P.P.S. I know you might of alrady decided which ones to use, and I'm coming off kinda desperate but please
P.P.P.P.S. The End

- The Priiiiiide of the Peaches


I'd sooner put a hornets nest down the front of my pants than watch Lucy and Ethel making out.

- Don "King" Milliken

If you liked this match, check out these other past matches:

Wilma & Betty v. Ginger & Mary Ann
Andy Taylor v. Cunninghams
Bundys v. Bunkers v. Simpsons

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ETA: Monday, June 9th, 2003

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