You know how at the end of some movies they say “based on a true story”? Well that is supposed to tell you it’s not actually that true story.
Now I see why at the end of each episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” the first thing to come up on the screen is “based on the comedy of Ray Romano”. It’s obviously meant to tell you it’s not actually comedy.
I had seen only excerpts before, so in the spirit of fair play (and nothing else being on TV) I decided this evening to sit through an entire episode. My suspicions were more than confirmed.
Oh my good Lord, how can a program meant to evoke laughter be SO not funny???
If you try to dive into the deep mysterious depths that are the main characters, it will be like jumping off a springboard into a paddling pool.
First there’s Ray – the husband, the father, the guy who tries to do his embarrassing guy stuff without his wife knowing.
Next there’s the wife, who of course is doing all the REAL work running the home and bringing up the kids. She can’t understand her silly husband at all, yet she consoles herself with the fact that at least he’s good for bringing home the money. Oh, and of course, she loves him at the end of the day no matter what foolish things he says or gets up to.
THEN there’s the big dopey brother who’s always saying big dopey things, which, believe it or not, are really thinly veiled pearls of wisdom which show Raymond the way to each instalment’s predictable moral conclusion.
THEN there’s the parents. Dad to Mom: “You’re ugly.” Mom to Dad: “You’re bad in bed.”
Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure this format was very funny back when Jackie Gleason did it. And Archie Bunker. And Bill Cosby. And Fred Flintstone. And all the others.
The really scary thing? CBS is currently airing the NINTH (count ‘em) series, each of wish has 24 episodes. I’m afraid to do the math.
One thing I’d love to do is watch an episode in the USA and see what ads come up in the breaks to learn exactly what demographic these (9 x 24, I'm still afraid) half-hours of trash are aimed at.
Maybe THAT would make me laugh.
I guess comedy is in the eye of the beholder.