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In fall 1996, CBS debuted a new comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond, on Sept. 13. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below.
As the title suggests, the strength of Everybody Loves Raymond, a chaotic family comedy on CBS, is Raymond Barone. As played by stand-up Ray Romano, he’s a lovable, low-energy Seinfeld.
At least from the pilot, sports writer Raymond gets a lot of lovable help from his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton), who seems to have a tenuous grip on the household, including screamy 5-year-old daughter Ally (Madylin Sweeten) and 20-month-old twins Michael and Geoffrey (Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten). (The twins are already being replaced, ending one of the briefer careers in Hollywood.)
So much for lovability. The rest of this equation includes Raymond’s family from across the street: nosy mom Marie (Doris Roberts), meddling father Frank (Peter Boyle) and lug cop brother Robert (Brad Garrett). All of which adds up to a nice cast playing aggravating characters.
They’re over at Raymond’s house constantly, criticizing, nagging, waking the babies, etc. The premise of this first shot is that Debra would like her birthday without the in-laws — and we can see why.
Writer-executive producer Philip Rosenthal has shaped the warm heart of family, but he ought to pack up Raymond and Debra and move them away from these annoying people. — Irv Letofsky
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