Everybody Loves Raymond

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"This is my son Raymond. This is my other son, Raymond's brother. [laugh track] And Frank." [applause]

Everybody Loves Raymond is a '90s–'00s American sitcom that ran on CBS, created by the dynamic duo of "Sting" Ray Romano and a balding glasses-wearing Jewish comedian. It centers on Raymond "Sugar Ray" Barone, a quirky Italian man who was just a momma's boy, until he got married and became a pussywhipped momma's boy, and his various escapades with his family and friends.

The series relied solely on the assumption that everybody did indeed love Raymond to become successful and gain television audiences. And it worked – for the first two episodes. The creators of the show did not realize this formula was getting old, and dragged out the series for a whopping nine seasons. Despite this, the plight of the show successfully captured the hearts and minds of millions; it enlightened the American public on the strains on family life that result from taking care of such people, whilst at the same time, offering an unparalleled comedic value.

Premise[edit | edit source]

The series centers on the Barone family, an Italian family living in Manhattan who have a natural tendency to let their fears impede on their free will. Each episode begins in an inane form, with the various characters going about their daily lives (caring about Raymond) when an independent variable is introduced that causes chaos. In some episodes the script is considerably convoluted and in others tightly focused on a mundane thing, such as a chair (out of place).

The common result of this is that Ray becomes aggressive and violent, usually smashing up most of the house and experiencing mood swings. They are your average Italian-American family who would scare away the real authentic Italian people out of America. Traditionally, this results in strained attempts to calm Ray down, with his mother (Marie) attempting to physically restrain him (hilarity ensues) and usually ends with Ray's father (Frank) firing a tranquiliser dart into his leg.

The show relies on four recurring jokes: Ray's mom is a crazy psycho bitch; Ray is a massive coward, so is his brother; it is funny to watch a man's wife fight with his mother because he thinks that anyone related to him by blood is automatically allowed to use him as their doormat and therefore won't stand up for himself; and Ray's father makes dark, jaded, sarcastic remarks to show he is a bitter old man.

Cast and characters[edit | edit source]

  • Raymond Barone (Ray Romano) is the father of two children and husband of a jackal (or look-alike, no one can ever tell). He is essentially the slapstick character of the cast, as the script generally revolves around his silly antics and idiocy. The finale of season 9 ended with his being hit by a heavy-goods vehicle, which led to the more popular spin-off Everybody Tolerates Raymond.
  • Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton) is the mother of two children and wife of the guy whom everybody loves, Raymond. Looks remarkably similar to a jackal. It is strongly hinted throughout the series that she does not actually love Raymond, therefore contradicting the name of the show. Basically, she's just there to provide a character willing to occasionally defy Ray's mom.
  • Robert Barone (Joe Pesci) is Ray's wimpy, introverted brother. He rarely says anything, cries a lot, and is jealous that everyone loves his older brother. Often the butt of a joke, despite Ray's obvious stupidity.
  • Frank Barone (Larry David) is Ray's bitter father, whose life has slowly spiralled into insanity due to the realization of his having spawned a moron.
  • Marie Barone (Doris Day) is Ray's Raymond's mother and Frank's wife. Yes, she gave birth to an idiot. She must be at least several millennia old. (I mean, just look at her!)

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Season 1 (1996)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
1 1 "The Worst Day of My Life" September 13, 1996
Robert discovers he is unable to sustain an erection. At work, in the locker room, his colleagues, all of whom are younger men, boast of their sexual prowess. Depressed, Robert goes to see a female doctor, who tells him to "Be a man, like Sugar Ray." That night, Robert again tries to make love to Amy, but his incompetence arouses laughter from someone who is hiding under their bed. Robert routs the intruder, only to discover the identity of Amy's paramour – it's none other than is brother, Sugar Ray, clad only in his underpants. Just as he is about to strangle Sugar Ray, the clock's alarm goes off, awakening Robert. It's all been a nightmarish dream. As he turns over to go back to sleep, a smile on his face, Sugar Ray crawls out from under the bed, clad only in his underwear, and exits the room.
Guest star(s): Vanilla Ice, Ice Cube

Note: This pilot was created when the show was titled Everybody Hates Raymond, and centers more on Robert than Sugar Ray as a result.

2 2 "Movin' In (Raymond's Song)" September 20, 1996
Raymond moves from Kansas into his new Manhattan home.

Season 2 (1997)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
3 1 "Everybody Hits Raymond" September 22, 1997
Raymond has to be restrained after a visitor arrives.

Season 3 (1998)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
4 1 "Everybody Loves GBH" September 21, 1998
Raymond becomes uncontrollable and attacks his family, putting them in a hospital. To rectify the problem, the family takes anger management classes.

Season 4 (1999–2000)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
5–6 1–2 "Everybody Teases Raymond" September 20, 1999 (Part 1)
May 22, 2000 (Part 2)
A very special two-part episode where the family does what they know is best for Raymond: rile him up.

Season 5 (2001)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
7 1 "Forsaken Pills" September 24, 2001
Debra forgets Ray's pills and Ray suffers a seizure.

Season 6 (2002)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
8 1 "Everybody Sections Raymond" September 23, 2002
Ray is taken to a mental asylum. The family at first finds themselves to be happier than ever, but soon realize they can't live without him, and devise a plan to get him back.

Season 7 (2003)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
9 1 "Gamin' Raymond" September 22, 2003
Ray wants to be "down with the kids", and starts playing video games. He gets beaten in the games and teased by a ten-year-old girl. After some lengthy training montages, Ray beats the girl and rubs it in here face, but her angry father comes to beat up Ray, thinking he's a pedophile.

Season 8 (2004)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
10 1 "Everybody Loves Hypnotoad" September 20, 2004

Season 9 (2005)[edit | edit source]

# Title Original airdate
11 1 "Everybody Kills Raymond" May 16, 2005
In the series finale, the family reveals to Ray that they in fact hate him and his antics, and devise a way to kill him. We see Debra serving him a poisoned cocktail, causing Ray to double up on the rug and turn yellow (presumably an attempt by the makeup artists to emulate the effects of liver failure). However, Ray survives and is left alone with Frank. His father then removes the tranquilizer gun from the closet, and fires four darts into his chest, at which point he stops moving. Ray is left alone, and the viewer observes a slight twitching; it appears he is still not dead, despite the large amount of bodily abuse he has suffered. Debra appears again; the viewer is naturally expecting for her to make another attempt, but she instead sets him free. The reason is unknown, and can either be construed as a clever plot twist, or an expiry of ideas. Ray jumps for joy and runs outside, but is ironically hit by a truck.

Production[edit | edit source]

Humble beginnings[edit | edit source]

Everybody Hates Raymond, as it was originally called, was the brainchild of actor Ray Romano (who also plays Ray on the show) and an aging Jewish comedian. It was meant to tell stories from the point of view of Ray's younger brother Robert, who always felt that Sugar Ray was favored over him by not just his parents but the rest of New York City and the whole damn world.

For the most part, Everybody Hates Raymond was the same as its reincarnation. Everyone was still to favor Sugar Ray, but there were a few changes in the cast. Sugar Ray's children would die, along with their grandfather (Sugar Ray's and Robert's father) in a car accident early in the show, because, according to the show's creator, Philip Rosenthal, "neither the old man nor the kids amounted to much from a dramatic point of view; little of the comedy, such as it was, involved them; and they couldn't act." The other characters were to have been retained and their basic quirks and foibles, continuing, were to have been exaggerated.

In Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert achieved success only at work, where his courage and competence as a law enforcement officer enabled him to become a captain on the police force, despite his having been gored in the ass by a runaway bull. In Everybody Hates Raymond, Sugar Ray's constant interference with Robert at work was to have cost Robert his job and Robert and Amy were to have had to move in with Sugar Ray and Debra, living in Sugar Ray's basement, where Sugar Ray's office is located. To perform his work as a sportswriter, Sugar Ray would constantly have had to interrupt his brother's life, barging in unannounced while Robert and Amy were were having trying to have sex, asking them to turn down their television set because he was trying to write, inviting himself to have breakfast or lunch with them during a break in his writing, accusing them of causing him to experience writer's block, and, in general, making a nuisance of himself and putting Robert and Amy through hell.

Although Bill Cosby loved the pilot and recommended that the series be produced, he was outvoted by Rosenthal, owner of the show's production company Worldwide Pants. "The public response to the pilot was terrible," Rosenthal admitted. "Everybody Hates Raymond was never aired because everybody loves Raymond." Everybody Loves Chris is still in the making.

Rise and sudden fall[edit | edit source]

Romano and AJC decided to change the show's title to Everybody Loves Raymond and recut the pilot, with only a few subtle changes. Surprisingly, the pilot was an instant hit upon being aired, partly due to guest appearances from popstars Vanilla Ice and Ice Cube (it should be noted that the two are not related). It was foreseen by major television executives that the sitcom would be a massive hit worldwide, and then-President Bill Clinton donated $500,000,000,000 of U.S. taxpayer money to fund further production of the show.

The second episode was almost as successful as the first. The success of these first two episodes brought a respectable cash flow to the cast and creators of the show. However, the sudden rush to stardom threatened the secret identity of Aging Jewish Comedian, and he soon stopped turning up to the writing sessions with Ray Romano. The quality of the show's scripts dropped dramatically, and when the third episode was aired, the ratings hit an all-time low, placing last behind disasters like The Cosby Show and Friends.

Nevertheless, Romano remained oblivious to the show's lack of quality or success, and continued to write/produce more episodes, constantly being encouraged by Clinton who continued to fund his exploits. In 2005, the show was cancelled due to President George W. Bush's wanting American television to "shed olds relic [sic] from the '90s".

Reception[edit | edit source]

The show has received much popular acclaim as one of the most amusing American TV productions to date. It has received a number of television awards, including a Grammy and an Oscar, earning it a high status amongst the worshippers of daytime television. It was also given the special I-Talians in the media award for a "fair, more accurate and non-stereotype portrayal of Italians on television" from the Italo-Americano Anti-Defamation league.

The show also received criticism, however. L. Brent Bozell III of the Parents' Television Council (PTC) named Everybody Loves Raymond "Worst Show of the Week", slating it for being "offensive towards the mentally challenged". Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly graded the show a D+, saying "Ray is an idiot, and his show is sitcom gloop. He makes George Lopez's show look funny."

See also[edit | edit source]