Everyboody Loves Raymond (1996 – 2005)
The traditional family sitcom is not as popular nowadays as it once was. A large part of the reason for that is the decline in network television audiences, and the subsequent rise of entertainment through channels such as YouTube and Netflix. Everybody Loves Raymond is not an old show by any means, but it does represent the most recent mainstream sitcom that I really enjoyed, and looking at the current landscape, that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
The premise of Everybody Loves Raymond is a sitcom tale as old as time, and can be summed up by this one sentence, from the opening credits:
My parents live across the street… that’s right, and my brother lives with them.
…and that is the foundation for a majority of the show’s 200-plus episodes. Ray is the put-upon, somewhat lazy, and sex-starved husband; and Debra is the organised and sensible stay at home mother. They have three young children and spend their daily lives under the constant watchful eye of Ray’s parents. His older brother Robert is a quirky, giant of a police officer whose job and towering physical presence belies his discomfort around women. As the show progressed, Robert ended up with many of the best lines.
There is absolutely nothing in the show’s formulaic set-up to suggest that it should be anything other than completely forgettable, but thanks to good writing, a cheeky (but never salacious) sense of humour, and plots that don’t make the mistake of becoming too saccharine, Everybody Loves Raymond is one of the few sitcoms I never tire of watching, even though I’ve seen most of the episodes multiple times over.