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Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Seventh Season


TITLE: EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND - THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON


Info:

Release Date: September 19, 2006 (HBO Home Video)
Color/2002-03
MSRP: $44.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 750 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 104 Minutes, 16 Seconds.
Audio: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned
Special Features:
*4 audio commentaries with Phil Rosenthal, Ray Romano, Chris Elliott, Monica Horan, Anna Romano, Fred Willard, and writers Tucker Cawley and Mike Royce.
*Deleted Scenes
*Bloopers


Introduction:

The 7th season of Everybody Loves Raymond is now on DVD! The more I watch this show, the more I’m certainly glad the Barones aren’t my family. I don’t think I could handle that level of nonsense. Anyway, we’re now to season seven, taking place in the 2002-03 TV season. Just in case you’ve missed the show over the course of the last ten years: Ray Barone (Ray Romano) is a successful New York sportswriter. The show deals largely with Ray’s family life, including the constant fighting between Ray’s wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) and overprotective mother Marie (Doris Roberts), as well as Ray’s jealous…and tall…brother Robert (Brad Garrett) Robert, for what it’s worth, is the character who generally uses the line “everybody loves Raymond…” in the series. Robert sees Amy (Monica Horan) off and on again, before finally getting married to her at the end of this season. Then, of course, there’s Frank (Peter Boyle), Ray and Robert’s dad. I can’t really explain Frank.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Well, I gave away one in the introduction: The wedding of Robert and Amy. That, however, is the season finale, and before we get to that, we’ve got a full season to get through. If you’ve read my reviews by now, you should know that I’m going to recommend the season premiere for no other reason THAN it’s the season premiere. In this season’s premiere, Robert attends a “Pathway” meeting, though the rest of the Barone family is convinced that the group is a cult ­ hence the episode title, “The Cult.” In episode 2, Ray and Debra see a marriage counselor. Draw your own storyline here. Then there’s episode 4, one of my personal favorites, Pet the Bunny. Ray writes a eulogy for Frank ­ who’s very much not dead yet. Ray tells a story about when he was little, Frank petting the family pet rabbit named Hoppy. The story, while nice, infuriates Frank, as he feels it makes him look “soft.”

In “The Sigh,” Ray moves his things out of the main bathroom, and into the kids’ bathroom, to “give Debra more space”. Hilarity ­ and teasing from Robert and Frank ­ doth ensue. In the episode “The Annoying Kid”, we finally get the first guest star I feel like mentioning, Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Father of the Pride”). In the annual Thanksgiving episode, “Marie’s Vision”, Marie gets glasses. Draw your own storyline here, again. In Just a Formality, Robert’s relationship with Amy is finally on again, setting up the events of the end-of-season. Of course, this being the show it is, you KNOW it’s not that easy. Fred Willard and Georgia Engel guest as Amy’s parents. In addition, Chris Elliott guest stars as Peter. They’ll all reappear in “Meeting the Parents” and “Robert’s Wedding,” while both Georgia and Fred appear also in “The Plan”, and Georgia appears solo in “The Shower” along with Joel Brooks (“My Sister Sam”). Fred and Chris appear together in “The Bachelor Party”, partially to offset Georgia appearing solo earlier. In Sleepover at Peggy’s, Ray gets a quite-surprising pat on the rear…from the same mom who he had the Frontier Girl cookies incident with before. The episode “Baggage” truly represents, in my opinion, just how insane this family is. Just read the description on an episode guide, or better yet, purchase the DVD (convenient link to do so at the bottom of this article) and see for yourself. Finally there’s “Robert’s Wedding,” capping off the seventh season.


Packaging:

BO, don’t ever change. If there’s one thing I love in terms of TV DVDs, it is consistency (at least when it’s of sufficient quality). The ELR packaging is quite nice, and I’m quite glad to have seen HBO stick with it for 7 seasons and counting. I’m just worried they’re running out of colors ­ they’ve officially moved beyond primary colors now, as the 7th season packaging is teal (about halfway between green and blue). Being a fan of both the San Jose Sharks and the Jacksonville Jaguars, I can appreciate this color selection. Other than that, there’s nothing new here. Same molded plastic Digipak-like case (I’m not sure who the actual manufacturer of this case style is ­ whether it’s a branch of the aforementioned line, if it’s another manufacturer, or if it’s actually produced in-house, but I like it, and wish more sets would use it. The pictures are eerily similar to the previous six seasons sets, check those reviews for synopses ­ even *I* have limits of redundancy. Disc breakdown is exceptionally obvious: Ray, Debra, Robert, Marie, Frank, with each character’s disc having 5 episodes. (Given the extremely Robert-centric nature of the tail end of the season, I wouldn’t have minded them moving Robert (or Robert and Amy together) on the 5th disc, but ah well. Pictures are more of the same--nothing new here.


Menu Design and Navigation:

Again, consistency is key in this release. It’s the same menu scheme as the last several releases. As with the previous seasons’ sets, clips scroll by in a wide rectangle; the rectangle and strip on either side being the same color as the front packaging, in this case teal. Play All is again featured, as well as episode selection, language selection, and bonus material. Episode selection transitions into a still-frame menu in the same design as the main menu, with various still images from the highlighted episode along the “strip.” Clicking an episode title takes you to another page, with a couple of smaller stills, one larger still, the episode number relative to the season all in the strip, with the episode title, synopsis, and writing and directing credits, as well as Back, Play, and where applicable Deleted Scenes and/or Play with Commentary options. Language selection transitions in with a quick animation and the ending piano sting of the theme, with a few stills from the show, and the audio and subtitle options at the bottom. Bonus Material transitions in with a small portion of the theme, and several still images in the “strip.” Options vary per disc. All five discs follow a similar pattern in menu design.


Video and Audio Quality:

I admit, I love the video on the Raymond sets. The initial two non-HD seasons weren’t that great, but the seasons after the HD transition have looked wonderful. The colors are fine, there’s no detectable noise…the video even looks great on high resolution PC screens, something I’ve had problems with in TV DVD. There IS one problem with the video, in that if certain players don’t de-interlace properly, there IS mild interlacing. Otherwise, it’s nice. Audio’s a 2.0 Dolby Digital track that sounds quite nice. Everything’s balanced, there’s no hiss…it just sounds good. I do wish the show was in 5.1 with some of the background music the show has, but 2.0 serves its point. Chapter stops are at the end of the scenes.

Disc 1:
1) The Cult: 22:26
2) Counseling: 22:12
3) Homework: 22:29
4) Pet the Bunny: 22:19
5) Who Am I? 22:25

Disc 2:
6) Robert Needs Money: 22:29
7) The Sigh: 22:29
8) The Annoying Kid: 22:19
9) She’s the One: 22:14
10) Marie’s Vision: 22:28

Disc 3:
11) The Thought that Counts: 22:25
12) Grandpa Steals: 22:06
13) Somebody Hates Raymond: 22:11
14) Just a Formality: 22:31
15) The Disciplinarian: 22:16

Disc 4:
16) Meeting the Parents: 22:30
17) Sweet Charity: 22:32
18) The Plan: 22:25
19) Sleepover at Peggy’s: 22:17
20) Who’s Next?: 22:22

Disc 5:
21) The Shower: 22:21
22) Baggage: 22:31
23) The Bachelor Party: 22:28
24/25) Robert’s Wedding, Parts I and II: 32:21


Special Features:

I thought rather than organize by category; I’d try something a bit different and organize by disc. If you have a strong preference one way or another, or if you have any other comments, feel free to contact me at seth@sitcomsonline.com with feedback. Anyway, back with the review.

Disc 1:
* Audio Commentary on Episode 2 “Counseling” (22:12): Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and writer Mike Royce commentate. They’ve been at this now for seven seasons, you know what to expect in these commentaries.
* Deleted Scene: Episode 1, “The Cult” (2:11): Robert gets a late night visit from Gerard.

Disc 2:
* Deleted Scene: Episode 6, “Robert Needs Money” (0:32): Ray propositions Debra with Marie’s cookies.
* Deleted Scene: Episode 6, “Robert Needs Money” (1:08): Ray asks Robert about his financial state.
* Deleted Scene: Episode 10, “Marie’s Vision” (0:44): Ray addresses his gray hairs.

Disc 3:
* Deleted Scene: Episode 13, “Somebody Hates Raymond” (0:34): Ray gets beaten in chess.
* Audio Commentary: Episode 14, “Just a Formality” (22:31): Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Monica Horan, and Anna Romano. This commentary isn’t just the regulars; hence it gets a bit of an extended write-up. Ray’s wife Anna does commentary, along with Monica Horan (Amy). At least, Horan is still her stage name. At home, she’s Mrs. Rosenthal. I admit it, I did NOT know. Anyway, yes folks, this means on commentary we have Phil and HIS wife, and Ray and HIS wife. Phil and Ray credit them as the reason they’re there. Debra is a combination of Anny and Monica ­ which makes it doubly funny when Monica joins the cast. They also talk about getting Georgia, Fred, and Chris to play the parents. Georgia Engel’s character is actually somewhat similar to Monica’s real life mother, but, nah, Fred Willard and his character is not. And that’s just some of the first five minutes.

Disc 4:
* Audio Commentary: Episode 16, “Meeting the Parents” (22:30): Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Chris Elliott, and Fred Willard. Chris Elliott is consistently worried he’s not in the episode early on. They then launch into Chris and Fred talking about the past ­ warning, the commentary is not rated for a reason.
* Deleted Scene: Episode 16, “Meeting the Parents” (0:35): Peter is introduced to the family.
* Deleted Scene: Episode 20, “Who’s Next?” (0:39): Robert offers Ray and Debra a ride home.

Disc 5:
* Deleted Scene: Episode 21, “The Shower” (0:44): Several awkward moments at the wedding shower.
* Deleted Scene: Episode 21, “The Shower” (0:31): Marie and Frank discuss Debra’s fate.
* Audio Commentary: Episode 22: “Baggage” (22:31): Ray, Phil, and writer Tucker Cawley. Again, Phil and Ray are always here, and Tucker always pops up each season, so I won’t get too far into this one.
* Bloopers (6:54): The Bloopers option actually comes with a warning you have to click Play on to proceed past warning some material may be inappropriate for younger viewers.

Total Running Time of Special Features: 104 Minutes, 16 Seconds.


Final Comments:

We’re now in the final third of the series run. As such, I don’t think there’s much I can suggest to add to this set at this point, except that if there’s any specials or any promos for the show lying around, to use that. Additional commentaries would be nice, but I understand there are time constraints, and what’s here IS good. If you’ve already started on the set, please, pick this up on September 19. If you’ve still not seen this series, I might recommend catching a couple of reruns first to make sure you like the show, or rent a season (just about any will do) on DVD first. I wouldn’t recommend season seven of most shows to start with, though there are some exceptions (particularly in animation). Still, Recommended.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Special Features: 3/5
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 09/06/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GRUMQY/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=182341


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