Monday, May 16, 2005

''Raymond'': Not What It Might Have Been

They tried to have it both ways on ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' tonight, and I think they only got it about half right.
On the plus side was the scene at the end, with all the family bantering around the kitchen table, the message clear that the lives of the Barones were going on whether we watched them or not.
But there was also the labored attempt to remind us that the Barones, for all their arguing, very much love each other. The means: Raymond getting his adenoids removed, having a problem coming out of the anesthesia and -- for a moment -- the family fearing that Ray was gone.
The moment passed, of course, and the rest of the show involved the attempts to keep Ray and his mother Marie from knowing there had been a crisis. Said attempt failed, of course. But there was that message of love again, especially in the way Debra looked at Ray after fearing she had lost him.
I laughed here and there, but not as much as I had hoped.
There have been other ''Raymonds'' that have tried for a little sweetness -- the flashback to Ray and Debra's first meeting comes to mind -- but this one felt forced. (And, after sitting through a couple of long commercial breaks early on, I wondered if the episode itself was going to last about 12 minutes.)
So I'm declaring that the season actually ended a couple of weeks ago, with the episode where Ray tried to outsmart Debra in the bedroom. It was funny, it was confident and it underscored their good relationship without hitting us on the head as hard as last night's episode did.

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