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Our reviews of Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete First Season (published October 13th, 2004), Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Second Season (published January 5th, 2005), Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Third Season (published June 1st, 2005), Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fifth Season (published January 11th, 2006), Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Sixth Season (published July 12th, 2006), Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Seventh Season (published September 19th, 2006), Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Eighth Season (published May 8th, 2007), and Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Series (published December 1st, 2007) are also available.
"Raymond gets everything!"—Robert (Brad Garrett)
Welcome to the wonderful world of Everybody Loves Raymond! In the fourth season of the Emmy award winning show, well, not much has changed for the Barone family. Sports writer/husband/father Raymond (comedian Ray Romano) and his patient wife Debra (Patricia Heaton, Memoirs of an Invisible Man) continue to raise their children while struggling against the tide of Ray's overbearing mother, Marie (Doris Roberts, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation), his grumpy, mean-spirited father, Frank (Peter Boyle, Young Frankenstein), and sad-sack brother, Robert (Brad Garrett, Finding Nemo).
Included on this set are the following episodes:
• Boob Job
An anecdote: Back when the show Mad About You was in its prime (which now seems like eons ago), I had a friend who shall remain nameless that told me "I love that show. Of course, I'm married, so it's hard for you to appreciate it." In other words: if you don't have a ring on your finger, you just can't get it. Well, let me tell you: I'm not married but I get Everybody Loves Raymond. While there was a nugget of truth in my friend's observation—Mad About You is, after all, a show centering around a married couple—Everybody Loves Raymond is a show for anyone with family, which is all of us (unless you're homeless, in which case A.) I'm not sure how you're able to watch the show week after week and B.) I'm shocked you have an Internet connection to read this review). In other words: everyone can relate!
My parents loved Everybody Loves Raymond before I started watching it, and my mother would prattle on endlessly about how funny it is. I didn't put much stock into her opinion since she now seems to think the Mecca of the television universe is Two and a Half Men. Then I watched Everybody Loves Raymond and fell in love—maybe it's because I'm in a serious, long term relationship, so I can relate. More likely it's the fact that we all have family issues we have to muddle through, so we can identify with Raymond, Robert, Debra and the rest of the Barone clan.
One of the miracles about Everybody Loves Raymond is that while it's a "family sitcom," it's never sugar sweetened. Raymond's family is usually obnoxious, says horrible things, and puts each other in situations that would embarrass Tom Green. Yet these people are not the Bundy family—though there is a heavy dose of bickering and frustration, the family still loves each other, especially Debra and Raymond.
Generally speaking, things aren't always "wrapped up neatly" at the end of an episode—often times the person in the wrong hasn't learned their lesson, especially when it's Raymond's overbearing mother and father (sadly, Boyle, as father Frank, is the only cast member who never received an Emmy Award for the show). That's the show's charm: it's a lot like our own lives. I don't know about you, but nothing in my life is every neat and tidy after 22 minutes.
I don't have much history with the previous three seasons of this show: while I'm sure I've seen a few episodes from each, I can't tell you what episode came from which season. I can tell you that this fourth season of the show is a very funny and enjoyable viewing experience. Sitting through each episode, I was reminded of how good the sitcom can be when you've got the right players on the right team—each of the five main actors fill their roles like the cogs in a machine; I can't imagine the show without each spinning wheel.
Some of the episodes feature perceptively well written stories, as when Debra feels slighted that Raymond seems fixated on breasts, so she decides to give him exactly what he wants, with hysterical results. In another episode sure to touch a nerve with married folks (about a can opener, no less), Ray and Debra each recall a story wherein one version Debra is the bad guy and Ray the innocent victim of her wrath, and in the other Ray is a heartless cad and Debra the perfect spouse.
Everybody Loves Raymond just ended its almost decade-long run in 2005; after hundred of episodes and countless laughs, the Barone family now lives in TV history to be revisited again and again. Luckily, Everybody Loves Raymond fanatics will soon have the entire series on DVD, and that's something almost everybody can love.
Each episode of Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fourth Season is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The good news is that everybody should love these transfers (unless you've got a full frame 10" TV, then they're no-so-good). The colors are vibrant and alive with the black levels sharp and solidly rendered. It's nice to see some of these newer shows in widescreen—and thank God for HDTV when prime time hits!
The soundtracks are all presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. I can't say I was excited about these mixes—overall they're very front heavy without any directional effects or surround sounds. Then again, this is a goofy comedy, not Lord of the Rings VI: Raymond's Revenge. Also included on each disc are Dolby 2.0 track in Spanish and French, as well as Spanish, French and English subtitles for each episode.
There aren't a lot of extra features on this set: only four of the twenty-four episodes ("Boob Job," "Robert's Rodeo," "The Tenth Anniversary," and "Bad Moon Rising") include commentary by series creator Phil Rosenthal, actors Ray Romano, Brad Garrett and Patricia Heaton, and writers Lew Schneider and Aaron Shure. The commentaries are informative and brisk: since each episode is only around 25 minutes, each goes by quickly. Also included on about half of the episodes are deleted scenes and bloopers with the cast and crew. The whole thing comes nicely packaged in a fold out case made of heavy stock cardboard.
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Scales of Justice
• Four Audio Commentary Tracks With Series Creator Phil Rosenthal, Actors Ray Romano, Brad Garrett and Patricia Heaton, and Writers Lew Schneider and Aaron Shure
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