Let’s all accept Everybody Loves Raymond is as overrated as they come.
This simple, easy-watching American sitcom first aired in 1996, with the final episode airing in 2005. That whiny man with his clingy mother and lazy ass dad took over TV screens for just under ten whole years! How it managed that long is a mystery.
On the face of it, the show seems like one of the most popular TV series to come from America, having received 69 Primetime Emmy Awards overall, and winning 15 of them. But, while we’re delving into the rabbit hole that is Friends and the issues surrounding it, it’s time we look at one that is essentially even worse.
For starters, Raymond is not likeable. Seriously, who likes him? He’s whiny as hell, always moaning and never seems happy, even though he has a life many can only dream of. He has a great career as a sports journalist, a loving wife and eventually some pretty cute kids, not to mention a big house and plenty of family around him. So, what on Earth has him constantly walking around with a face like a slapped arse? Not to mention the fact that he has zero integrity when it comes to the regular abuse his wife endures from his mother. Sitting awkwardly by the side, too scared to ever come to her defence.
Which brings us to the mother. Many find her to be a funny, sweet old woman. She’s not. She’s vile. She regularly puts Debra (Raymond’s wife) down because she can’t handle the idea of another woman looking after her son. It’s uncomfortable, it’s completely unfair on Debra and quite frankly, it shows their mother-son relationship to be pretty unhealthy. It’s not a funny storyline, it’s a bit of a disturbing one.
The representation of women is repeatedly proven to be relying on the men going out to work while women look after the house, the kids, cooking etc. even when they have jobs themselves. It’s hardly empowering for women to see a mum who latches onto her sons and can’t let go, and a wife who’s expected to do all of the menial house work while Raymond gets the luxury of focusing on his career. And if she doesn’t? Well Raymond’s mum tells her she’s not good enough. Does Raymond defend her? Nope.
“It’s hardly empowering for women to see a mum who latches onto her sons and can’t let go, and a wife who’s expected to do all of the menial house work while Raymond gets the luxury of focusing on his career.”
The other two main men in the show are Raymond’s dad and Raymond’s brother, Robert. Let’s start with his dad – the man that never leaves his armchair. He’s lazy, which is up to him but that means that when his wife is snidely telling Debra she doesn’t do enough, he nods along while doing the bare minimum himself.
Robert is probably the least annoying character throughout the whole show. His life is nowhere near as sorted as Raymond’s is, and rather than getting support, understanding and help, he gets made fun of every single day. In one episode, he actually saves Raymond’s life as a police officer when he unarms a robber in a café. The respect lasts perhaps one episode, before he’s incessantly made fun of at every chance yet again.
Why this show is still being aired on TV is a mystery. Reruns are on Channel 4 most mornings, which means that rather than watching something to help give you energy for the day, you get to listen to Raymond whine for 25 minutes. Times change, attitudes change, society changes, and that can perhaps explain the complete white-washing – although even Friends in the 90s had an Asian woman as a main character in season two. But the annoying Raymond, the shoddy representation of women, the controlling mother who won’t let go and the lazy father are the fault of bad, unimaginative writing.
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