What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this series focuses on adult relationships that are marked by conflict. The intimacy issues of married couples -- including (in)frequency of sex -- often take center stage, so parents watching with kids should gauge young viewers' readiness for the mature subject matter. Characters are affectionate but also frequently fight and express resentment.
What's the story?
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND is touted as a family sitcom; in this case, "family" refers to grown-up characters (and viewers). Stand-up comedian Ray Romano stars as sportswriter Ray Barone, and Patricia Heaton plays his wife, Debra. Their three kid serve primarily as scenery, barely reacting to the constant bickering and crises that surround them. Central to the comedy are Ray's opinionated and intrusive parents -- Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts) -- and his brother, Robert (Brad Garrett), who all live just across the street. The extended family throw insults around as if they can't stand each other, but viewers seem to identify with the Barones, a family that fights as passionately as it loves.
Is it any good?
Episodes often insightfully focus on Ray's perceived shortcomings and missteps as a husband and father. But the series also uses stereotypes as a jumping-off point: self-involved career man who doesn't get enough action in the bedroom, frustrated housewife who doesn't get enough help with the cooking and cleaning, meddling mother-in-law who doesn't get enough respect. That said, the cast is stellar and plotlines shed light on universal human insecurities, such as doubting that your spouse still finds you attractive as you grow older.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about arguing. When does it help -- and when doesn't it?
When you do fight with a family member, how does it make you feel? How do you patch things up? Can people be angry with each other and love each other at the same time?