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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mrs. Barone: The complete package

"Everybody Loves Raymond" including me! It was my favorite show on TV for a couple of years. I am not going to grumble here about its long-running success coming to an end, but I would like to look at why a show like this would be a success.

Everybody Loves Raymond" revolves around Ray Barone, a successful sportswriter living on Long Island with his wife, Debra, 12-year-old daughter, Ally, and 8-year-old twin sons, Geoffrey and Michael. That's the good news.

The bad news? Ray's meddling parents, Frank and Marie, live directly across the street and embrace the motto "Su casa es mi casa," infiltrating their son's home to an extent unparalleled in television history. Frank's favorite expression, "Holy Crap," is shouted at regular intervals, and Marie's "cooking advice" is less than appreciated by Debra. Brother Robert, a divorced policeman, is constantly moving in and out of his parents' house, and loves to drop over and resent Ray's successful career and happy family life. Ray and Debra just wish someone would knock once in a while

Well, that's not the only bad news, and not everybody loves Raymond. Remember Mrs. Incredible? Isn't she incredibly like Debra? Debra does not respect her husband. She tells him what to do, or assumes he knows and is always disappointed with the results. She discredits his accomplishments and abilities in front of everyone, and loudly.

Who would Ray be if Debra supported him? Who would her children become if they could trust and follow their dad? What could Debra, a decidedly strong woman, learn and accomplish if she could let go of her self-sufficiency long enough to learn from her mother-in-law?

That just wouldn't be funny, would it? Peace in the home...not funny. Imagine, in prime time: A woman who is a lover of her husband and kids, a keeper of and a worker at home and who learns from an older woman, while practicing hospitality. Boring!

What is funny? A woman who stays at home with her children (how did that get on prime time?) demanding that the world revolve around her, degrading her weak and trembling husband, while he stammeringly tries to apease her and his mother while looking only to his own interests.

I think this tv show was funny. I enjoyed it thoroughly and without reserve until I noticed these patterns of personal interaction... (What's next: Monk?)

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