If having a constantly hungry father and overbearing mother are any indication, then stay tuned for Everybody Loves Judge Ryan Keefer.
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 Fourth Season (published October 26th, 2005), Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fifth Season (published January 11th, 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.
"You have no idea what I have to put up with. When I got married, I didn't just get a husband, I got a whole freak show that set up their tent right across the street. That would be fine if they stayed there. But every day, every day, they dump a truckload of their insane family dreck into my lap. How would you like to sit through two people in their 60s fighting over who invented the lawn, the lawn?!?!?!? And then the brother, 'I live in an apartment, I don't even have a lawn, Raymond has a lawn.' But you can't blame him when you see who the mother is. She has this kind of sick hold on the both of them. And the father's about as disgusting a creature as God has dropped on this planet. So no wonder the kid writes stories, I should be writing stories, my life is a gothic novel and until you have lived in that house with all of them in there with you, day after day, week after week, year after friggin' year, you are in no position to judge me!"
Everybody Loves Raymond returned for a sixth season on the tiffany network to a continued fan following (in some cases it might have been beating a lackluster Monday Night Football game on ABC) and perpetual acting and writing nominations for its cast and crew. With the gang signed, sealed and delivered now that the magic syndication hurdle had been leapt over in Season Five, just how many cast members are phoning it in?
Facts of the Case
By now, most of you should already know the main players of the show, but just in case you don't, Everybody Loves Raymond is actually more of a sarcastic jab than a title, documenting the life and adventures of New York sports columnist Ray Barone (Ray Romano, Ice Age) and his wife Debra (Patricia Heaton, Memoirs of an Invisible Man). The title of the show comes from the mouth of Raymond's brother Robert (Brad Garrett, The Pacifier), a New York police officer. Robert feels that his parents (read: his mother) loves Raymond more than him, and in Marie (Doris Roberts, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three), the boys have a mother who is subtly manipulative but does things with either a clueless visage or the most transparent smile you will ever see, and in Frank (Peter Boyle, Where the Buffalo Roam), the boys have a father who is, well, let's just say he is a one man gastrointestinal symphony.
Spread out over five discs (in a continually awkward disc package, it's like a scavenger hunt to find the discs in this thing), the episode listing for Season Six is as follows:
• "The Angry Family"
Everybody Loves Raymond arguably helped to revive CBS and also provided a lot of good collateral for the network. Throwing aside the fact that it may very well be the only sitcom since Murphy Brown (that didn't involve voting someone off and island) that viewers watched consistently in high numbers, it's comedy lasts longer than many would first expect and quite possibly stands in history as the next great family sitcom that people remember after the '80s success of The Cosby Show. I'll defend that contention in a minute, but among the episodes that I enjoyed for 22 continual minutes were:
• "The Angry Family." One of the twins (Michael) reads a story that he created for parent-teacher night. With the family in tow, Michael's story is entitled "The Angry Family," which becomes a Barone family referendum as each one talks about their place in the hierarchy in front of the school's priest (played by Charles Durning, Tootsie). If there was ever an episode to witness the family dynamic that powered the show for almost a decade, you see it here in full effect.
• "Marie's Sculpture." Voted as one of the best (or at least funniest) episode by fans of the show, Marie's new passion for sculpting takes a hold of the family in a profound way when she creates a sculpture that is shall we say, a little bit maternal, on the Juli Ashton or Jenna Jameson tip.
• "Raybert." Raymond's personality and Robert's availability join forces to combat the modern single woman, but it begins to backfire on them near the end of the episode, but not without some laughs in between.
• "Cookies." This isn't really that lasting an episode, but to see Raymond include some Glengarry Glen Ross moments into a girl scout troop before engaging in a passionate sales drive against the den mother is pretty good before he sees his place in the marriage.
• "Talk to Your Daughter." Raymond goes to talk to his daughter Ally about the proverbial birds and bees, but he's thrown for a bit of a loop when she asks the even more awkward question of "Why are we here?" The family comes over to share their thoughts on the subject and reveals some very interesting character values in the process, and this is all while Ray is trying to find an answer to his daughter's question.
What Everybody Loves Raymond did better than a lot of shows in the late '90s (and early '00s) was that it managed to present family dysfunction in a way that was entertaining to the viewer without being some over the top Farrelly brothers film. We all have a crazy mother; we all have a grumpy farting father. Some of us may have a jealous and bitter sibling who thinks that everything was laid out on a magic carpet for the other one. Based on the comedy of Romano (and many of his life experiences, right down to the twin boys), Raymond manages bring you into the intricacies of the Barone family and claim ownership to them as if they were things that happened last week at your family cookout.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Garrett's one-shot mugging and comic relations do tend to wear on nerves after awhile, as they're more often than not way too over the top for a crowd reaction that just wasn't as robust as he might have expected. And in playing to the crowd, there are a lot of "oohs" and "awws" during scenes that almost make the show a 40-something's version of Saved by the Bell.
Having only a peripheral knowledge of the show and occasionally watching it when it aired, I can undoubtedly say that I enjoyed almost every episode on Season Six of Everybody Loves Raymond. While there were some moments that were played a little too over the top, the laughs are present, the jokes are funny and the writing is inspired.
Not guilty. Now if you'll excuse me, "Marie! Cannoli!"
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