I have a friend. Let’s call him Bob. Bob is a single male who comes from an Anglo-Saxon/Austrian background and he hates Everybody Loves Raymond. Then again he didn’t get My Big Fat Greek Wedding either. I understand why.
He sees nothing in common with these people. He never had to deal with “the guilt” or “you look so pale, eat something” comments. He never had to balance kids, work, home, parents, and in-laws. He doesn’t get why every other show Raymond (Ray Romano) begs for sex and it’s funny. Or Marie (Doris Roberts) insults Debra’s (Patricia Heaton’s) cooking and Debra looks past it as if she didn’t hear it. He doesn’t hear his own voice of reason when Debra speaks. He doesn’t see his own siblings in Robert’s (Brad Garrett’s) constant struggle for approval. Bob doesn’t understand Frank’s (Peter Boyle’s) acidic remarks. And he won’t.
He never had to deal with any of these things and unfortunately I had to. Our parents bugged us about getting engaged when my husband and I were dating. When we finally got engaged we got “so when is the big day” comments. And during the speeches at the wedding reception very one of our relatives asked us to hurry up with babies. My parents just like Marie and Frank ask me all the time “why can’t you be more like your brother?” There times when I hear Marie say “never mind” to Raymond and he drops everything just to please her, because the guilt is unbearable, and I think to myself “my Mom pulled that one on me just yesterday”. There are moments exactly out of the show that remind me how sometimes little personal space is valued when in-laws show up unannounced. Or when they decide that they’ll drop some food off because they don’t want their son to go hungry.
There is a lot more. The similarities are striking. Fortunately for me I survived my family and my in-laws. As crazy as they may be they give me strength of character, and enough sense of humor to last a lifetime. This is why I love watching Everybody Loves Raymond.
I can see my life in this show. There are times when one of the characters says something and my husband and I look at each other with that all knowing look that says, “yep, been there, done that,” and we laugh. We laugh because there is so much truth in the show. We laugh because we’ve been in these situations before. We made these mistakes, and it’s good to know we’re not alone.
One day Bob will get it too. He will marry. He’ll have in-laws. May be a kid or two. Trust me Bob, a time will come when Everybody Loves Raymond will be your most favorite show in the world.
Everybody Loves Raymond airs Mondays on CBS at 9:00 pm.