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Everybody Loves Raymond aired from September 1996 until September 2005 on CBS.
Ray ( Ray Romano) was a good-natured married father of three and a successful sportswriter for New York Newsday. His life would have been perfect were it not for one little thing: his bickering parents who lived across the street from Ray's Long Island home . Even that would not have been so hard to take if they were a little less intrusive. Frank ( Peter Boyle), his father, had the code to Ray's answering machine and monitered his calls, while Marie ( Doris Roberts), his mother , stuck her nose into everything their son did. They treated Ray's home like their own-showing up unannounced at all hours. Frank had the strange habit of sniffing the kids' heads because he believed he could ' suck the youth out of 'em,' and Marie raided their refrigerator. Debra ( Patricia Heaton), Ray's wife tried to like his parents, but wished they had a little more privacy. Despite agreeing with Debra, Ray was unwilling to complain to his parents because he didn't want to upset them. Robert ( Brad Garrett), Ray's hulking, insecure older brother, was a divorced police officer living with Frank and Marie. He was convinced they liked Ray more than they liked him because as he was wont to say, " Everybody loves Raymond." Nemos was a restaurant where Robert hung out. Rounding out the cast were "Ally ( Madylin Sweeten) , Ray and Debra's 5 year old daughter and Michael and Jeffrey ( Sawyer and Sullivan Sweetin) , their 2 year old twin boys. Amy ( Monica Horan) was Robert's girlfriend, who broke up with him in November 1998 because he couldn't commit. Andy ( Andy Kindler) was an aspiring sportswriter obsessed with statistics who worked at Newsday and played basketball with Ray.
Late in 1998 Robert moved out of his folks' home and into his own apartment, but he eventually moved back.The following April Debra decided to go back to work doing PR. In May 1999 Amy came back into Robert's life but he still couldn't commit and they broke up again.In the fall of 2000 while on vacation in Rome, Robert met Stefania ( Alex Maneses) the girl of his dreams. She showed up in New York in the spring but had misgivings about their relationship and things didn't work out. Her strict father and Frank's friend Marco( David Proval) bought Nemo's. In the winter of 2003 Robert finally got up the nerve to propose to his long-suffering girlfriend, Amy, and she accepted. Then he had to deal with her very conservative , and unenthusiastic parents Hank and Pat ( Fred Willard, Georgia Engel), and her eccentric brother Peter ( Chris Elliott)-but the wedding plans continued and in the season finale they were finally wed.
In the final season, Frank and Marie were on the verge of moving to a retirement home, until Debra voiced some doubts. Ray learned the joys of angry sex, while Debra's divorced parents ( Robert Culp, Katherine Helmond) rekindled their own relationship over Thanksgiving--or did they? Frank endured some unfortunate side effects to his potency medication, while a minor faux pas Ray made with a friend of his son's spun wildly out of control. In the series finale Ray stressed about getting his adenoids removed. The episode was interesting as it was indistinguishable from any other episode except for the final shot which referenced The Last Supper.
The series was adapted from star Ray Romano's standup comedy routine about the problems of a father with three young children-this paralleled his real life. Romano's real-life brother was a divorced cop living with his parents, and when the series premiered , the actor's family included a 6-year old daughter and 3-year-old twin boys. He had even lived across the street from his parents in Queens, New York. Everything on the show was seen through Ray's eyes as he tried to be a good husband, father, son and brother to the people in his life.
A Review from The New York Times
A Sweet, Funny Dad. What's Not to Love?
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: September 13, 1996
And still another stand-up comic ventures into sitcom land. Tonight on CBS, Ray Romano comes to network prime time in ''Everybody Loves Raymond.'' And why not? Ray is a likable guy, as can easily be discerned in the ''Half-Hour Comedy'' special rattling around HBO's schedule. (HBO is a producer of this new series, and is evidently determined to make the most of its pioneeering stand-up specials and its aspiring stars, as, say, Roseanne Barr was way back when.)
While Roseanne did turns on the image of domestic goddess, Mr. Romano goes the route of domestic shlump. His stand-up act makes much of the fact that he is in his mid-30's and is the father of three children, including twins. A seemingly hapless Mr. Romano complains: ''I'm not a parent. I'm a hostage.'' Addressing younger members of his audience, he says, ''I bet you can't even name one anti-depressant.'' But clearly, beneath the cool fretting lurks a warm, loving heart, even as he jokes about the kind of autoerotic act that got Dr. Joycelyn Elders dismissed as Surgeon General by a politically jittery President Clinton for mentioning it.
In ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' Mr. Romano is Ray Barone, a sportswriter with a family that includes his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton), a 5-year-old daughter, Ally (Mandylin Sweeten), and, yes, a set of 2-year-old twins, Michael and Geoffrey (Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten). On their own, the family is fairly normal. Complicating matters, though, Ray's mom, dad and elder brother, a 40-year-old policeman, live across the street and keep butting into Ray's life.
Fortunately, these decidedly irritating characters are played winningly by Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle as the parents, Marie and Frank, and by Brad Garrett, another stand-up comic, as the hapless brother, Robert, who is convinced, justifiably, that he's always being upstaged by Ray.
And the sitcom wheels spin smoothly. It's Debra's birthday, and all she wants is an evening alone with Ray. With his family, that is impossible. Worse, Ray has enrolled his mother in a fruit-of-the-month club and she is worried sick that it might be some sort of cult. Dad screams at Raymond, ''My God, are you out of your mind!'' Meanwhile, as in his stand-up act, Ray worries that the twins might grow up ugly. Mr. Romano has a knack for hilariously obsessing on life's most ordinary details. He's made for prime-time comedy, and ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' would seem to be his perfect vehicle.
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND
CBS, tonight at 8:30
(Channel 2 in New York)
WITH: Ray Romano (Raymond Barone), Patricia Heaton (Debra), Mandylin Sweeten (Ally), Sawyer Sweeten (Michael), Sullivan Sweeten (Geoffrey), Peter Boyle (Frank), Doris Roberts (Marie) and Brad Garrett (Robert).
An Article from The New York Times
Raymond Is Loved. What's Not to Love?
By PETER M. NICHOLS
Published: November 17, 1996
''EVERYBODY loves Raymond,'' says Robert, a droopy 40-year-old 6-foot-8-inch, 270-pound police sergeant who lives with his parents. ''I go to work and people shoot at me. Ray goes to work and people do the wave.''
In sitcom land Ray is a 30-something sportswriter with a lovely wife, Debra, and three lovely tots, including twins. They live in a nice little house across the street from Robert, Ray's often hilariously morose brother, and their omnipresent, insufferably meddlesome mother and father, Marie and Frank.
Ray's a sweet guy who has all he can do to object to even the most outrageously boorish behavior of his constantly intruding parents. Debra? Hey, they're her family, too, she says gamely at one point, rolling her eyes ceilingward. And so the table is set for laughs, if not domestic violence.
In the cheery, tenuous world of a new sitcom trying to catch on, lovability is crucial, of course, and on Ray's sitcom -- fittingly called ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' (CBS, Fridays at 8:30 P.M.) -- care is taken to spread it around. Stars are one thing; sitcoms also ride on the likability of those around them, even a Marie and Frank.
''You want to create a comfort level with an idealized community,'' said David Steinberg, the director of ''Mad About You.''
''People like to see friends and family taking care of each other. It's a version of protection against the sense of lack of community everybody's feeling these days.''
Supporting players are also frequently called upon to supply the acting. James Burroughs, who produced and helped write ''Cheers'' and directed ''Taxi'' and other series, said that sitcoms have basically gone in two directions. In the past, strong grounding characters like Judd Hirsch in ''Taxi'' or Ted Danson in ''Cheers'' often acted as centers for wilder and sometimes funnier supporting casts. These days, however, stars at the center are frequently stand-up comics who could use a little modulation from seasoned acting hands placed around them.
On ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' the scripts spin off the real life of Ray Romano, a stand-up comic who -- when not taping the show in California -- lives with his wife and children across the street from his parents on Long Island. Mr. Romano had considerable credentials but no previous experience as an actor. ''I had to Taft-Hartley him,'' Lisa Miller, the show's casting director, said of the labor legislation requiring him to register with the Screen Actors Guild.
Gilda Stratton, the casting director of ''Caroline in the City,'' said she faced that situation in reverse with Lea Thompson, that show's star. ''With Ray, being a stand-up, no one knew if he could act,'' she said. ''We knew Lea could act, but no one knew if she could be funny.''
Mr. Romano, in fact, proved himself a perfectly capable actor, but he still needed the right television relatives to set up his persona as the gentle center who is everything for everybody. ''He's coming off so likable,'' Ms. Stratton said. ''They've done some very clever pieces around him.''
As Debra, Ms. Miller chose Patricia Heaton, a veteran of several sitcoms who is believable as the tolerant, levelheaded type with enough sang-froid to put up with the in-laws. ''I knew she had to be the grounding character,'' Ms. Miller said. ''Patty is very focused, real, like Helen Hunt in 'Mad About You.' ''
For the rest of the family, Ms. Miller went with a bit of flamboyance and long track records. One requirement, as on all sitcoms, was the ability to establish character indelibly and quickly. ''You need performers who can deliver the goods in chunks of scenes,'' she said.
Robert is played by Brad Garrett, who, like Mr. Romano is a top stand-up comic. But he has had experience on shows like ''Seinfeld,'' ''Mad About You,'' ''Roseanne'' and ''Fresh Prince of Bel Air.''
Ray's television parents are that particular breed of unbearable pest who can also maintain more than a modicum of likability. Peter Boyle, the film actor, is Frank Barone, Ray's garrulous father. As Marie Barone, the often cloying and constantly prying mother, the show chose Doris Roberts, a highly experienced film actress and an Emmy Award winner on shows like ''Remington Steele'' and ''St. Elsewhere.''
Ms. Roberts likens good secondary sitcom characters to the more complete and polished ensemble roles in movies from the 1950's and earlier. ''They were the humor, the second banana,'' she said. They were also efficient. ''They were so clearly defined,'' she added. ''On television, there's no wasted time. You do it, and you get off. That's what happened in the old movies.''
Though Mr. Romano is clearly the center for ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' the show is as much an ensemble effort as it is a star vehicle. Perhaps the best ensemble show ever was ''Cheers.'' In its earlier years, the show's center was Sam (Mr. Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long). ''When we got off their relationship, you saw how good everybody else was because you had to do stories where they drove the plot,'' Mr. Burroughs said. ''The supporting cast dominated.''
No one dominates ''Everybody Loves Raymond.'' Mr. Garrett cites Mr. Romano's flexibility and generous attitude, along with good chemistry among the players. ''I've walked on sets where you say, 'I've got to get out of here,' '' he said. ''Then there are situations where you say, 'This is what it's all about.' '' He and Ms. Roberts characterized the show as a collaborative effort, with the jokes and attention allowed to fall naturally on whomever happens to be at the center of a scene at any one moment.
Mr. Garrett said he was reminded of Jerry Seinfeld. ''Nothing was as improvisational or ran as smoothly as 'Seinfeld,' '' he said. ''The show was loosely scripted. What makes Jerry so strong is that he has a voice, so the others around him can be strong. If there's a funny line, he's going to give it to you.'' He sees a parallel with Mr. Romano. ''He gives it up, and he's honest,'' he said.
Mr. Steinberg of ''Mad About You'' said he noticed similarities among Mr. Seinfeld, Mr. Romano and Jack Benny. ''Remember how Benny would just look at somebody for a response?'' he said. ''For a stand-up, it's important to take him off center, to make him a catalyst and let the community come forward. Like Seinfeld. Like Ray.''
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
Published on APRIL 11, 1997
RAY OF HOPE
FINDING COMFORT (AND RATINGS) IN ITS NEW POST-'COSBY' HOME, 'EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND' CAN FINALLY BE SEEN FOR WHAT IT IS--THE SEASON'S BEST NEW SITCOM.
A By Bruce Fretts
A funny thing happened on the freshman sitcom EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS, Mondays, 8:30-9 p.m.) this year. It got better. No small feat, considering the fate of this season's other most promising pilots: Spin City stumbled badly and took several months to regain its footing, while Millennium immediately imploded. (Suddenly Susan, the season's highest-rated new series, stank from the start.) Yet Ray Romano's family comedy didn't just grow funnier -- it grew deeper.
What started as a likably witty distillation of Romano's stand-up act -- the travails of a dad with three kids under the age of 6 -- transformed itself into a fascinatingly humane portrait of suburban dysfunction. In fact, Raymond may now be the best sitcom on the air -- its only real creative competition being NewsRadio (ironically, a show from which Romano -- who'd been cast as an engineer -- was fired during the pilot taping).
The series' setup is simple: Sportswriter Ray Barone (Romano) lives on Long Island with his stay-at-home wife (Patricia Heaton) and their three preschoolers (Madylin, Sullivan, and Sawyer Sweeten) -- right across the street from his squabbling folks (Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts) and obsessive-compulsive cop brother, Robert (Brad Garrett). At first, this premise lent itself to predictable complications: The elder Barones always barged in unannounced, and Robert was constantly mooching. Yet as the season progressed, Raymond became more about the struggle of a grown man trying to separate from his parents and establish his own family.
Raymond is the rarest of sitcoms -- one with a genuinely original point of view. In the show's new-and-improved opening-credits sequence, Ray's family goes by on a conveyor belt, and, as his children pass, he assures viewers the show is ''not really about the kids.'' Refreshingly, it's not. This is life seen through the eyes of one man as he attempts the near-impossible task of simultaneously fulfilling the roles of husband, father, brother, and son.
It's a brilliantly realized vision, thanks to Raymond's remarkable cast. Like Garry Shandling and Jerry Seinfeld, Romano does such subtle work that it appears as if he's not even acting. His voice -- a thick, nasal whine -- initially sounds shticky, yet he uses it like a finely tuned instrument, sliding from elation to frustration with only the slightest tonal change.
As wife Debra, Heaton matches Romano beat for beat. She's taken the role's inherent thanklessness -- the still center around which Ray's crazy family revolves -- and turned it into a virtue. Debra rails against her status as ''the normal one,'' recently launching into a tirade that allowed Heaton to do dead-on impressions of the eccentric Barones. And old pros Boyle and Roberts have created the most realistically fractious TV marriage since Archie and Edith Bunker's.
Raymond's secret weapon, though, is the towering Garrett (left). As Ray's eternally unlucky sibling, he has developed a wonderful chemistry with Romano. One charming episode, in which Ray gave his brother a stray bulldog, expertly utilized Garrett's extra-large talents. Underneath that imposing exterior beats the heart of a puppy.
Garrett isn't the only stand-up whom Romano has put to good use. Cathy Ladman (as a nosy neighbor) and Andy Kindler and Dave Attell (as Ray's basketball teammates) have scored in guest spots. And some of Raymond's best scripts have been penned by Lew Schneider, a wry comic who starred in the underrated 1990 CBS series Wish You Were Here.
Originally stranded on Fridays with the inexplicably not-dead Dave's World, Raymond has skyrocketed in the ratings since CBS moved it to Mondays after Cosby. The network would be wise not only to renew it but to leave it where it is. With his winning mix of heart and humor, Romano seems the natural heir to Cos' sitcom-dad throne. A
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION; Looks Like 'Seinfeld,' but Call It 'Raymond'
By WARREN BERGER
Published: February 1, 1998
WHILE PRESIDING OVER the People's Choice Awards ceremony last month, Ray Romano, the star of ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' observed that the cast of his CBS comedy series was seated way back at the far end of the room. ''Next year we're going to be up front, I promise,'' Mr. Romano called out. Then, glancing toward the ''Seinfeld'' cast seated near the stage, he said, ''I know this table is going to be empty.''
The hope at CBS these days is that Mr. Romano and his rising, critically acclaimed sophomore series will eventually inherit not only ''Seinfeld's'' preferred seating but perhaps even the NBC show's standing as America's favorite comedy. ''Raymond,'' ranked about 30th in the Nielsen television ratings, has a long way to climb. Still, when the PBS talk-show host Charlie Rose recently asked a panel of critics which show might fill the void left by ''Seinfeld,'' one of the first candidates was ''Raymond.''
''It's flattering,'' Mr. Romano said, when asked about comparisons between his show and ''Seinfeld.'' The similarities are hard to miss: Like Mr. Seinfeld, Mr. Romano is a lanky, 40-ish stand-up comedian from New York whose sharp humor is rooted in everyday observations. And like Mr. Seinfeld, he has fashioned a comedy series in which he plays an amused but skeptical central character surrounded by idiosyncratic supporting players who frequently barge through his door and into his chaotic daily life.
But Mr. Romano is quick to point out that ''the two shows are very different,'' an observation seconded by his creative partner and executive producer on the series, Philip Rosenthal. '' 'Seinfeld,' as everyone knows, is about nothing,'' Mr. Rosenthal said, ''but 'Raymond' is about little things that add up to everything. It's almost the anti-'Seinfeld.' ''
The series centers on Mr. Romano's character, Ray Barone, a sportswriter who lives on Long Island with his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton), and their three young children. Across the street are Ray's intrusive parents (Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts) and his hulking, sulky policeman brother, Robert (Greg Garrett). With the exception of Robert, whose simmering inferiority complex and compulsive habit of touching everything to his chin rivals ''Seinfeld's'' Kramer for sheer weirdness, the characters in ''Raymond,'' though finely drawn and full of wit, are suburban and decidedly unhip. And its story lines are linear and firmly grounded in mundane reality. In some ways, the series is simply ''an old-fashioned, classic sitcom about family,'' Mr. Rosenthal said.
But there are a couple of twists that differentiate ''Raymond.'' The children are usually tucked out of sight, leaving the adults to have at one another. And while the plots often hinge on innocuous, sitcom-ish situations (Ray gets a dog, Ray tries to balance the checkbook himself), the stories spiral and dig beneath surface jokes to explore the emotional dynamics -- petty rivalries, festering resentments, awkward attempts at affection -- of adults living cheek to jowl.
Mr. Romano's character, a well-meaning regular guy with a pleading nasal whine, is often the unwitting source of the trouble. In a recent episode, the problems begin when Ray candidly acknowledges that he likes his mother's meatballs better than his wife's lemon chicken, an admission that triggers this chain of events: Debra begins to obsess over her inadequacy; Raymond, trying to help, asks his mother to teach Debra how to make the special meatballs; Ray's mother obliges but slips Debra the wrong seasoning (tarragon); Debra, exasperated, breaks into the parents' house in the dead of night searching for the real recipe. It all ends with a nearly touching scene in which Ray, finally rising to Debra's defense and scolding his mother for her trickery, learns her motive: if Debra could make the meatballs for him, his mother asks, then what would bring Ray to come visit her? Fumbling for an answer, all Ray can come up with is, ''These special moments,'' a line that parodies typical family-television mawkishness and deftly keeps the scene one step short of sappy.
Mr. Romano has put much of his personal life into the series. Until recently, he, his wife and their young children did live down the road from his highly involved parents in Queens. Mr. Romano's brother really is a policeman, living in his parents' house, who teases Mr. Romano about his show-biz career. ''When his brother would see some comedy award of Ray's,'' Mr. Rosenthal said, ''he'd say things like 'It never ends for Raymond -- everybody loves Raymond.' '' Mr. Rosenthal seized upon that as the sarcastic title of the show and the helpless refrain of Mr. Garrett's envious character.
UNTIL TWO YEARS AGO, Mr. Romano's career would not have inspired envy. A Queens College accounting graduate who sold futons for a living (he once delivered a futon to Larry David, the co-creator of ''Seinfeld''), he started doing stand-up to impress a date and kept at it for 12 years. ''I was getting worried that television was not going to happen for me,'' he said.
Eventually, in 1994, Mr. Romano was cast in the pilot for NBC's ''News Radio'' -- but was jettisoned after one day. His big break came a year later when he did a five-minute routine on ''Late Show With David Letterman'' (featuring home videos of his chaotic family life). A few days later, Mr. Letterman's production company offered Mr. Romano his own show.
Placed on Friday nights, the show had abysmal ratings at first. But CBS's entertainment president, Leslie Moonves, was a strong backer from the outset.
''It has the combination of being a relatable show -- we all experience these situations -- yet it's a bizarre, off-center point of view like 'Seinfeld,' '' Mr. Moonves said.
He moved the show to Monday nights last spring, in the 8:30 slot after ''Cosby.'' Heavily promoted by the network, the show nearly doubled its audience and now consistently beats NBC's comedy competition.
Whether the show can become a hit of Seinfeldian dimensions is another matter. Mr. Moonves acknowledges that CBS's audience tends to skew older, which may be why ''Raymond'' has not yet connected with younger viewers. And there is some question as to whether that audience would embrace a show that has little to do with sex, dating and life in the city. ''We are restricted to our universe on this show,'' Mr. Romano said, ''and it's a different universe from 'Seinfeld' or 'Friends.' '' (One critic likened the show to a grown-up version of ''Seinfeld,'' after Jerry has settled down and moved to Long Island.)
Mr. Romano worries too that the series' title sounds ''like this is a kiddie show.''
Mr. Rosenthal, though, stands behind the quaint title and says he is comfortable with ''Raymond's'' somewhat traditional style. ''Maybe now America has had enough of hip, cynical humor and disjointed stories, and wants to return to an old-fashioned, 'Mary Tyler Moore' sensibility,'' he said. ''If that's so, then maybe we're in the right place at the right time.''
Correction: February 8, 1998, Sunday An article last Sunday about the sitcom ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' misstated the given name of the actor who plays the title character's brother, a police officer. He is Brad Garrett, not Greg.
An Article from Time Magazine
Will Everyone Still Love Raymond?
Monday, Feb. 23, 2004
By JOEL STEIN/LOS ANGELES
For a guy who lived in his parents' basement until he was almost 30, Ray Romano is surprisingly ambitious. It's raining pretty hard, but Romano really wants to do well at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in two days, so he's going to finish all nine holes. Slowly. The closest he comes to saying something printable about his golf game in the two-hour, self-hatred-fueled, 21-over-par tour of Burbank's Lakeside Golf Club is--while blowing an easy putt--"Everybody sucks." If you, like much of America, enjoy seeing Romano beleaguered by his parents, wife and kids on his TV show, you should see him on the golf course.
Romano is Jackie Gleason with updated wife-management techniques, having replaced threats of violence with pathetic groveling. While Romano's superego is sensitive 21st century husband, his id is pure '50s. He just wants to eat, golf, watch sports, have sex and keep his wife from getting mad at him. Romano, 46, is even more uber-guy than his Ray Barone character on CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond. He likes to gamble so much that he placed a Super Bowl bet on how long Beyonce's rendition of the national anthem would take (thanks to some overhead planes and a really long brave, he made the over). His sharp take on contemporary manhood has created the No. 2--ranked sitcom for the past four years, according to Nielsen Media Research. And yet Raymond gets cited by sitcom writers as a favorite alongside the much edgier Simpsons and Curb Your Enthusiasm because of its structure and character definition. For all that, Romano acts like a man who is more comfortable with failure. After he takes 10 shots on a par four, he becomes probably the first celebrity to actually write down the 10. "Jack Nicholson," says celebrity golf pro Steve DiMarco, "would have taken a four on that one."
The problem--and comedic blessing--of being self-deprecating, honest and ambitious is that you're always in a panic. Right now, the panic is that he has ruined his movie career before it even starts this weekend with his first film, Welcome to Mooseport. People, he's sure, are out to David Caruso him before he even gets going. "You think everybody loves me? Go on the Internet," he says over clubhouse mini-burgers dipped in a mixture of Tabasco and ketchup. "This is why we have the Internet. To keep your head straight. I know where to go to find people trashing me. My wife has a website about me."
Romano is even afraid of ruining the unruinable. He and creator Phil Rosenthal will decide whether to shoot a ninth season of Everybody Loves Raymond, depending on whether he and his writers can, in the next few weeks, come up with six solid, fresh story ideas. He should, if Seinfeld is any indication, be entering the relaxing children's book--writing part of his career. And while he is indeed writing Raymie, Dickie and the Bean: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers with his two brothers, he is hoping to launch a career as a leading man in films.
This is not always an easy task for sitcom stars. This spring's upcoming independent ensemble comedy Eulogy, in which Romano plays a sleazy son arguing over his father's inheritance opposite Zooey Deschanel and Hank Azaria, got less than stellar reviews at Sundance. But this week's romantic comedy Welcome to Mooseport is where he really fears he's going to be judged. "What if it just does abysmally? Is that a word? What if it's like my golf game today? What if people not only don't go--what if they protest?" he worries. "It's a good movie, but it's not knock-down funny. It wound up being more of a sweet movie. I already told the cast [of Raymond], 'I'm inviting you to the premiere, but I'm politely asking you not to come.' I don't need the pressure of going to work the next day and them making fun of me."
The reviewers, he's sure, are going to take him apart. "I'm the highest-paid a_______ on TV. That builds contempt. I'd hate me," says Romano, who makes $40 million a year in salary alone from the show. He took a lot of time choosing his first movie role (not counting the voice of the mammoth in the animated Ice Age). His main concern was finding a character close enough to his sitcom persona that he could nail it and please his TV audience but still different enough to be interesting. In Mooseport, a formulaic romantic comedy (he's going to be right about the critics), he plays a plumber in Maine who runs for mayor against the former U.S. President (Gene Hackman), who is stealing his girlfriend (Maura Tierney). "People will say it's not much of a stretch, but I think he's different. He doesn't have any gray in his hair," he says. "To buy me as a romantic lead, we needed special effects."
Mooseport's director, Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality, Grumpy Old Men), says Romano often redid scenes to knock the Ray Barone out of his performance. "Where he was at his most awkward was if a scene required him to be emotional or tender or kiss," says Petrie. Romano, in fact, names kissing as the area he most hopes to improve upon. "I wanted to kiss another woman. Morally. Without stepping out of the boundaries of the marriage I'm committed to. So when I got into the TV show, I found a legal loophole." If the screen career goes well, he says, he will give dramatic roles a shot. "Kissing a woman dramatically is better than comedically. I think you get tongue when it's dramatic."
Leaving the course, on his way to his therapy appointment, Romano can think only about all the things he shouldn't have said--about Mooseport not being as funny as his sitcom; about Dustin Hoffman, who was originally supposed to play the President, being an endless talker; about not getting his teeth cleaned until two years ago, when the hygienist had to do it in four visits; about his plan to yank his buddy King of Queens' Kevin James' shirt open at Pebble Beach to reveal his right breast. "I'm in trouble when this story comes out. I suck at golf, and I want to kiss other women. I love my wife! Put that in there," he says. "Now drop me off at the jewelry store."
An Article from The New York Times
On the Cover
By JODY ALESANDRO
Published: May 15, 2005
Everybody Loves Raymond
Monday at 9 p.m. on CBS
WHAT does the creator of a show nominated for 65 Emmys, and awarded 12, do after it ends?
''I'm going to lie down,'' said Phil Rosenthal, whose hit sitcom, ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' has its series finale tomorrow night.
''Guys like me -- they don't stay with the show from beginning to end for nine years,'' Mr. Rosenthal said. ''They make this hit, and then they want to go make the next hit, and I learned from their example, 'Don't do that!'''
''I wanted to stay with the girl that brung me,'' Mr. Rosenthal continued, ''and I was literally writing about my own family so I thought, 'I'll never have this opportunity again. I've got to milk it.'''
As ''Raymond'' fans in 170 different countries know, the television version of Mr. Rosenthal's family, conceived with a heavy dose of Ray Romano's Queens genes, stars Mr. Romano (above left with Mr. Rosenthal) as Ray Barone, a sportswriter living on Long Island; Patricia Heaton as his wife; Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle as his buttinsky parents; and Brad Garrett as Robert, Ray's really big brother who finally marries Amy, played by Monica Horan, Mr. Rosenthal's real-life wife. (All are shown on the cover with, from left, Madlyn, Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten as Ray's children.)
''We certainly have touched a nerve in people all over the world,'' said Ms. Roberts, who won three Emmys for her supporting role in the series, adding, ''I don't think any of the actors wanted it to end.''
Robert's marriage allowed Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Romano, who work with six other executive producers on the show, to extend the story line two seasons beyond the original seven-year plan. Ending the show, Mr. Rosenthal said, ''was a mutual decision between Ray and me.''
''We covered all the ground that we wanted to cover,'' he said. ''I didn't want to get repetitive and/or lousy.''
There will always be reruns, of course, but the end of ''Raymond,'' just a year after the ''Frasier'' and ''Friends'' finales and in a season rife with reality and crime shows, raises the usual end-of-an-era predictions for sitcoms.
''Not just for sitcoms; this is the end of laughing,'' Mr. Rosenthal said in deadpan, Raymond-like hyperbole. ''It's the end of laughing anywhere, and pretty soon there won't be any more smiling, and people will, you know, someday say, 'I remember that show ''Raymond'' was the last smile I ever had,' and then they'll go back to crying.'' JODY ALESANDRO
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on May 15, 2005
'Raymond': Sweet run, and now, sweet dreams
By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
BURBANK, Calif. Mum's the word from cast and producers on Monday's finale of Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS, 9 ET/PT).
By Bob Riha, Jr., USA TODAY
If Raymond remains true to itself, don't expect anything too out of the ordinary for Episode 210: no reunited lovers or jail time for characters. That has never been this nine-year comedy's style.
More likely is some kind of domestic disturbance involving Raymond (Ray Romano), his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton), and his meddling mother, Marie (Doris Roberts), and maybe one more trademark "Holy crap!" from his cranky dad, Frank (Peter Boyle).
That has been the essence of a sitcom built on Romano's stand-up act: the trials of family life for a guy whose parents and brother are always stopping by.
"We wrote what we lived and what we knew. People identified with it," Romano says before a run-through of one of the final episodes.
In an age of super-expanded finales, Romano and executive producer Philip Rosenthal are keeping the last show true to its predecessors, just a half-hour long. CBS will present a one-hour retrospective on Raymond's nine seasons, complete with a behind-the-scenes look at the final taping, tonight at 8 ET/PT.
Raymond leaves as TV's top-rated comedy and No. 10 this season among all shows. It's averaging 16.9 million viewers. Its departure, a year after those of Friends and Frasier, marks the loss of another popular, long-running hit, which makes TV's failure to find new hits more apparent.
As the run-through on the Warner Bros. soundstage begins, Romano, as sportswriter Ray Barone, joins Brad Garrett (Robert) and Boyle (Frank) on Raymond's kitchen set. The performance is rough, not uncommon in a midweek rehearsal, and Romano has a mishap with the kitchen door.
Garrett has an ominous prediction. "This show is never gonna work."
That might have seemed the case in 1996, before Raymond garnered high ratings, big money and 12 Emmy awards, including outstanding comedy series in 2003. In that first fall, Raymond finished 69th out of 106 shows in its premiere week, earning praise from TV critics but little interest from viewers in its Friday time slot.
Fortunately, one of its biggest fans was CBS chief Leslie Moonves, who later that season moved the comedy to Monday, a night when more people watch TV. It became a staple and the anchor of a comedy night that was key in helping turn a slumping CBS into the most-watched network.
Not flashy, just real
Raymond germinated in the long-running stand-up act of Romano, whose funny take on family life caught the attention of David Letterman during an appearance on his show. That led to a deal with Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company and a partnership with series creator Philip Rosenthal, an actor-turned-writer who had written for Coach.
The pair Romano is 47 and Rosenthal 45 matched up in age, New York roots and complex family relationships.
Other than some instructions to avoid making the series too ethnic or too New York "They didn't want the family's last name to end in a vowel," Rosenthal says, at least not a vowel that could be heard the two pretty much got to make the show they wanted: an amalgam of their families propelled by their experiences and those of the close-knit writing staff.
"It's physically based on Ray's family, filled in with characters from my family," Rosenthal says.
The anxious, slightly self-loathing Ray Barone is an altered version of Romano: "He's a slight dumbing down of me, and more selfish." Ray's mother, Marie (Doris Roberts), comes from Rosenthal's maternal memories. Ray and Debra have three rarely-heard-from children, including twins; Romano and his real-life wife, Anna, have four, including twins.
Real-life stories became fodder for weekly episodes.
Flashback episodes that showed Ray and Debra meeting, marrying and having a child showed the bonds that held them together. Still, the family could get into some pretty mean combat. Did it get too mean?
"Comedy has to be heightened. Working things out all the time and having things be happy is not always funny," Heaton says.
Boyle doesn't think the battling Barones went too far. "They're arguing. It's a kind of love," he says, explaining the family dynamic. "They're stuck together."
In the wrong hands, the characters could seem too harsh.
"You could hate this woman. It's horrific what I do" to Debra as Marie, Roberts says. "But I do it from love. I want (Debra) to be a better cook. I'm not negative. I love that."
Although Raymond has long been popular, it has never been the subject of a lot of media attention. Raymond's current Entertainment Weekly cover photo is the series' first. "It wasn't the water-cooler show because it wasn't sexy, flashy and young," Romano said in a recent interview. "But the critics wrote good things about it."
And legions of fans could relate, too.
"It's one of those shows where the writing carried it," says Phil Wrighthouse, 17, of Attica, Ind., who watches with his parents. "Since they take it from their lives, it makes it that much more real."
In this case, what didn't kill a show made it timeless, at least in terms of syndication, where Raymond is a top-rated comedy and can be seen on 191 stations.
The nature of the show "might have kept us from being hip, new and trendy. But it makes us endure," Rosenthal says.
Rosenthal, who wrote tonight's finale in 2003, wants to end now to avoid running out of fresh ideas. Still, Heaton says Raymond remains at the top of its game this season, and Romano would put a couple of this season's episodes in the series' top 10.
Tips for the next sitcom
Network programmers hope to find the next Raymond when they announce their fall schedules this week in New York. It's hard to assess the chances for those pilots in advance, says Shari Anne Brill of media buyer Carat USA.
"You hear about (some) of these shows, but you don't know who's in them," she says. "You have concepts, but you don't see film on anything."
The basics for success "good writing and a creative spark," Brill says sound simple enough, but results in recent years have been disappointing. Stand-up comics can provide a distinctive voice, she says.
As programmers pull out their divining rods and hair in search of the next sitcom hit, Raymond offers some tips:
Find a strong voice. "Having a voice look at Roseanne or Tim Allen makes you identifiable," Romano says.
Get the writers to stick with the show. Writers on long-running hits often move on to big-money deals to produce new shows. The initial series often suffers. Rosenthal and Raymond's writers bucked that trend; a large core group stayed with the comedy for its run. "We all realized this is a rare thing," Rosenthal says.
Keep a talented cast intact. That was easier said than done. With Romano reportedly raking in about $2 million an episode, the supporting stars sought big money, too. Garrett's money holdout resulted in him being left out of the 2003 fall premiere. Garrett is unapologetic, saying such a payday can be a once-in-a-lifetime deal for an actor. In the end, he says, he got the raise he felt he deserved after some tense times. "I was close to becoming the cadaver on CSI."
Add characters for flavor. Raymond differed from Friends in more than buzz. With most of its characters in stable relationships, Raymond didn't have the plot and guest-character opportunities of a show about young singles and their busy dating lives. That is, except for Robert.
His relationship with eventual wife Amy (Monica Horan, who's married to Rosenthal in real life) introduced her idiosyncratic family, featuring Fred Willard, Georgia Engel and Chris Elliott.
Spinoff talk has focused on Amy, Robert and his in-laws. Rosenthal says anything is likely on hold until after fall schedules are announced. Romano says he'd be willing to make a guest appearance if there were a spinoff. For now, he's keeping connected to Raymond via a big souvenir.
"I took the living room couch," he says. But "my wife doesn't want (it) around." Could that have been Episode 211?
Sawyer Sweeten Obituary
5/12/1995 - 4/23/2015
NEW YORK (AP) - Sawyer Sweeten, who played one of Ray Romano's twin sons in the CBS comedy "Everybody Loves Raymond," has died. He was 19.
Sweeten committed suicide, his sister Madylin Sweeten, said in a statement. There were no other details. Madylin, and Sawyer's twin brother Sullivan, all played the children in the sitcom's fictional Barone family.
The hit comedy aired for nine seasons before ending in 2005. Sawyer Sweeten was a toddler when the series began.
In a statement Madylin, who is four years older than Sawyer, said the family was requesting privacy.
"We beg of you to reach out to the ones that you love," she said. "Let them have no doubt of what they mean to you."
The comedy tended to focus on the fractured family dynamics of the sportswriter character Romano played, his parents and younger brother. The children were rarely more than an afterthought in the plots.
Sawyer Sweeten's other listed credits were a 2002 movie starring Randy Quaid, and appearing in one episode of the TV show "Even Stevens." IMDB listed no credits after "Raymond" left the air.
Here is Peter Boyle's Obituary
Peter Boyle, father on TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond," dead at 71
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
NEW YORK Peter Boyle, the actor known for playing everything from a tap-dancing monster in ''Young Frankenstein'' to the curmudgeonly father in the long-running TV sitcom ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' has died. He was 71.
Boyle died Tuesday evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease, said his publicist, Jennifer Plante.
Boyle was beginning to gain notice playing hard-bitten, angry types when he took on the role of the hulking, lab-created monster in Mel Brooks' 1974 send-up of horror films. The movie's defining moment came when Gene Wilder, as scientist Frederick Frankenstein, introduced his creation to an upscale audience. Boyle, decked out in tails, performed a song-and-dance routine to the Irving Berlin classic ''Puttin' On the Ritz.''
It showed another side of the Emmy-winning actor, one that would be exploited in countless other films and perhaps best in ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' in which he played incorrigible paterfamilias Frank Barone for 10 years.
''He's just obnoxious in a nice way, just for laughs,'' he said of the character in a 2001 interview. ''It's a very sweet experience having this happen at a time when you basically go back over your life and see every mistake you ever made.''
When Boyle tried out for the role opposite series star Ray Romano's Ray Barone, however, he was kept waiting for his audition and he was not happy.
''He came in all hot and angry,'' recalled the show's creator, Phil Rosenthal, ''and I hired him because I was afraid of him.''
But Rosenthal also noted: ''I knew right away that he had a comic presence.''
Boyle first came to the public's attention more than a quarter century before. ''Joe'' was a sleeper hit in which he portrayed the title role, an angry, murderous bigot at odds with the era's emerging hippie youth culture.
Although critically acclaimed, he faced being categorized as someone who played tough, angry types. He broke free of that to some degree as Robert Redford's campaign manager in ''The Candidate,'' and shed it entirely in ''Young Frankenstein.''
The latter film also led to the actor meeting his wife, Loraine Alterman, who visited the set as a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine. Boyle, still in his monster makeup, quickly asked her for a date.
Here is Doris Roberts Obituary from the LA Times
Doris Roberts dies at 90; Italian mamma from 'Everybody Loves Raymond'
By Christie D'Zurilla
Apr 18, 2016 | 6:05 PM
Doris Roberts, a five-time Emmy winner best known for her work as Marie Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond," died Sunday in Los Angeles, a family spokeswoman confirmed to The Times on Monday.
The actress "died peacefully in her sleep of natural causes," the family said. She was 90.
"Doris Roberts had an energy and a spirit that amazed me," costar Ray Romano said in a statement. "She never stopped. Whether working professionally or with her many charities, or just nurturing and mentoring a young, green comic trying to make it as an actor, she did it all with such a grand love for life and people, and I will miss her dearly."
Roberts was a part of the "Raymond" family from 1996 to 2005, but also counted an Emmy-winning turn on "St. Elsewhere" and credits on well-known '70s and '80s shows, including "Remington Steele," "Soap," "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat" and "The Streets of San Francisco." She starred as Theresa Falco, mother to Donna Pescow's title character on the show "Angie," which ran for two seasons.
"Everybody Loves Raymond" co-star Patricia Heaton tweeted: "My wonderful TV mother-in-law and ELR nemesis Doris Roberts was a consummate professional from whom I learned so much. She was funny and tough and loved life, living it to the fullest. Nothing gave her greater joy than her three wonderful grandchildren, of whom she was so proud. It truly was a privilege Doris. I love you and miss you."
"Everyone Loves Raymond" show creator Phil Rosenthal said that although Roberts had been "waning in the last few months" she still had her "fierce" spirit until the end. "She was taking acting classes right up to the end," he told The Times. " And really cared about being an actress and being professional. She was very dedicated to the craft. She was the real thing. She wanted to always stay sharp."
Recently, Rosenthal accompanied her to see Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett perform at the Hollywood Bowl. "Lady Gaga couldn't believe she was getting to meet Doris Roberts!" he said. "We had dinner in the box, we drank, we watched the show and loved it."
As for the footprint Roberts leaves behind, Rosenthal told The Times she will always be remembered as "the rock of the show." "She was fearless and fierce and strong," he said.
He added: "I liked that she was a strong female character. That's what people really responded to her. It was universal: that meddling mom."
Long before she became a sitcom icon as the ultimate Italian mamma, Roberts was a young actress trying to make a name for herself in New York in the 1950s.
"I was a member of the Actors Studio," Roberts told The Times in a 2009 interview. "Marilyn Monroe used to come to class. Martin Balsam was there. Anne Bancroft was there. Geraldine Page."
Roberts made her Broadway debut in a 1955 revival of William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life," which closed after 15 performances. She played a hooker in a bar. Later that year, Roberts had a small role and understudied star Shirley Booth in the comedy hit "The Desk Set."
She was nominated for 11 Emmys throughout her career. She won best supporting actress in a drama for "St. Elsewhere" in 1983 and four times for best supporting actress in a comedy for "Everybody Loves Raymond." Among Roberts' Emmy nods was one for her work on "Remington Steele," and in 2003, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
After "Raymond" went off the air in 2005, she kept her status as a working actress, appearing in various TV series, plays and movies with credits running into 2016.
"Desperate Housewives," "The King of Queens," "The Middle," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Law & Order: SVU" were among her more recent TV credits.
In 2000, she told The Times, "I'm at the age now where I don't have to do anything. But I do have to see my grandchildren -- Kelsey, Andrew and Devon." She talked about taking them to amusement parks and to see "The Lion King."
"Sometimes what I do for fun with friends is go on a ramble," Roberts continued. "Most of the time you have to plan for everything. My life is always planned. When you ramble, you choose north, south, east or west and you just go. And when you see something you like, you stop. It could be anything -- a flea market or restaurant. And if you find you don't like it, you can just leave. You come across extraordinary little villages in the middle of the mountains. Or you can go in another direction and you've got the ocean."
"Truly the end of an era," Heaton said on Twitter, addressing her thoughts to her "beloved Marie."
Roberts was born in St. Louis on Nov. 4, 1925, and grew up in New York. She was married to Michael Cannata from 1956 to 1962 and had one son, Michael Cannata Jr. William Goyen, a writer, was her husband from 1963 until his death in 1983.
She is survived by her son, Michael Cannata Jr., daughter-in-law, Jane, and three grandchildren, Kelsey, Andrew and Devon Cannata.
To watch some clips from Everybody Loves Raymond go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=everybody+loves+raymond&aq=f
For CBS Official Website for ELR go to https://web.archive.org/web/20020208001832/http://cbs.com:80/primetime/everybody_loves_raymond/
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20080318202429/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/elr.html
To read Growing Up On Long Island go to https://web.archive.org/web/20011206053720/http://www.lihistory.com:80/specgrow/ray.htm
For an interview with co-creator Phil Rosenthal go to https://tv.avclub.com/phil-rosenthal-1798227052
For an article on ELR go to https://tv.avclub.com/everybody-loves-raymond-shouldn-t-be-judged-by-the-sins-1798229819
For an article on everybody Loves Raymond go to http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/everybody-hates-raymond-theyre-wrong.html
To look at 2000's nostalgia go to https://www.kqed.org/pop/11919/forget-90s-retro-ive-moved-on-to-early-2000s-nostalgia
For some Everybody Loves Raymond-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/everybody-loves-raymond
For 2 great reviews of Everybody Loves Raymond go to https://web.archive.org/web/20090415164920/http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk:80/raymond.htm and http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/Everybody-Loves-Raymond.html
To watch the opening and closing credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T2_Hwj2JDg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR3Q_8zoFsY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEu1sUzVXpI and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZLPu7Z4NfA
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