Ever wanted to know more about this show? Well, good news, we have plenty of fun facts and trivia that might surprise you even if you have the box sets. From the actors to the stories, to the production, you’re sure to learn plenty.
Any good show uses details from real life, and ELR was no exception. Each episode has a little bit of true life inside it, with a lot of the stories or details coming from things that have happened to the crew, the staff, or even the actors. For example, Monica Horan played Amy – Ray's brother Robert's girlfriend and eventual wife.
Horan is the real wife of Philip Rosenthal, the show's creator, and the arguments Amy and Robert had were real ones that Monica and Philip had in their actual marriage. That might have helped to give the scenes some better emotional weight.
Changing Some Names
While a good deal of the show is based on real life, many things had to be left out or changed. Ray used his first name, his arguments, and many real-life stories, but as his family joined the show, some things had to change. Ray had twins in the show – just like in real life, and their names were meant to be Matthew and Gregory – just like in real life.
The show realized this might not be the best decision, so the fake twins got adjusted to Michael and Geoffrey. Slight adjustments, but it's all that was needed.
Brad's Big Problem
Brad Garrett plays Raymond's huge brother Robert, a policeman that still lives with his parents across the street from Raymond. Brad Garret has been open about his problems with alcohol during his early time on the show, describing himself as a “high-functioning alcoholic.” He says it became a defense mechanism for things that were out of control in his life.
At the end of the first season, he realized how destructive it was to his health and future, and began to seek help. This was in 1997, and he is still, apparently, successful in his battle against his demons.
“Everybody Loves Raymond” was the first big project that Ray Romano had in the entertainment business, and there were plenty of doubts about his ability to hold up the show. Brad Garrett was one of the people that didn't have much faith.
He talked about some of the risks in the show, such as that Romano would send the show spiraling and take the rest of the cast with it. Thankfully, those fears never materialized – instead, the show is one of the most famous and popular of its kind, and it was a big boost to Garrett's career.
The Paycheck Issue
Obviously, Ray Romano was the main actor, but the rest of the family was just as important. However, there was still an incredible wage gap that nearly stopped the show short once it was discovered. Romano was making almost two million dollars an episode towards the end of the series. Everyone else was only making about $160,000 per episode.
No small paycheck, but less than a tenth of Romano's earnings. Garrett staged a cast walkout in 2003, which lasted two weeks until more money came through with the help of syndication rights. The others collected about $20 million extra each.
Is That Really the Name?
The name of this show is now recognizable around the world, but originally it was going to be something different. What was that something different? We don't know! “Everybody Loves Raymond” was the show's placeholder title for the pilot episode – from a snarky remark that Romano's real cop brother made once – but the name stuck.
They had intended to change it to something, but everybody seemed to like the name, and the rude comments Romano imagined never arrived. Nowadays, it's one of the most recognizable phrases and titles from the nineties.
Dear Old Dad
Patricia Heaton plays Debra, Ray's nagging wife, but she wasn't the only Heaton on the show. Actually, the show literally dropped Chuck Heaton in a line. He's a widely-known sportswriter for the “Cleveland Plain Dealer,” where he had written for over fifty years. Ray's job in the show is also that of a sportswriter, and he's quite successful.
In one episode, Deb mentions that Ray's biggest competitor is probably Chuck Heaton. It was an Easter Egg that not many people caught, but it must have been strange to mention your real father while playing a fake character on TV.
Not a Fan
While the show had plenty of regular watchers and fans worldwide, Ray's real-life brother Rich wasn't one of them. You see, just like his TV counterpart, Rich was a cop during the time the show was running, and a lot of people seemed to think the show was a documentary, or something similar.
Rich got teased quite a lot by fellow members of the force, for the things that Robert, who wasn't the best at being a cop, did on the show. As a result, Rich wasn't too happy with the show in general, but luckily, things settled down eventually.
Holding Back Too Much
Patricia Heaton has quite a long list of accolades and titles on her IMDb page, but there's one other thing. While she was on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” she was busy busy busy, both as a mom and an actress, and she needed an assistant. Well, her former assistant, Jennifer Lee, took her to court in 2009 over unpaid wages from their time working together.
Lee said that Heaton made her work overtime without paying for it, and Heaton owed her almost eight thousand dollars. Heaton hasn't spoken much about the case, but it's not a good look.
A Near Spin-Off
Robert, Raymond's brother on the show, was one of the goofiest parts of the show. The character had a special place in a lot of viewers' hearts. The creators seemed to like him, too, which is why they started thinking about a spin-off that had the character as the lead.
The initial plan was for Robert to move to Philadelphia and become a gym teacher. Phil Rosenthal pitched the show to CBS, but the deal fell through. Who knows if the show could have actually worked – spin-offs have a spotty record – but we'll never know for sure.
Nobody Ever Knew
Almost every long-running live-action show runs into a specific problem at some point. The actresses start a family. Some shows can work the obvious changes in as the characters get pregnant simultaneously, but it wasn't an option for “Everybody Loves Raymond.” While Patricia Heaton wanted a family, Debra – already the mother of three – probably wouldn't.
Thus, when Heaton got pregnant – twice – they had to hide it using a combination of large props, baggy clothes, clever angles, and other tricks. Hardly anybody noticed her belly had expanded, though those looking for it could tell.
Maggie Wheeler plays Linda, a friend to the Barones, but it wasn't the role she originally wanted. When she arrived for her audition, it was for that of the leading lady, Debra. She was close to getting the part, but Patricia Heaton beat her by an inch. The reason she didn't get it?
Wheeler was, and we're quoting here, “too ethnic” for the role. They liked Wheeler, though, and so they offered her a smaller part that still let her shine a little bit. She made her mark despite the smaller role.
Keeping a Diagnosis Quiet
Peter Boyle had a long history of roles on the stage and the screen. However, in 2002 – during the show's run – he was diagnosed with cancer. He told a very small number of the crew and hid it from most of the cast. The only castmate he opened up to was Doris Roberts, who played his on-screen wife.
When he asked her if she should tell everyone else, she said no, because they'd treat him like a dying man, and he didn't need that. Boyle died in 2006 at the age of 71.
I Have a Lot on My Plate
Anyone who has seen a single episode of the show knows that Marie Barone, the matriarch of the family and a constant thorn in the sides of Debra and Ray, is the highlight of the show. She's played by Doris Roberts, and when the producers asked her to audition for the part, she turned them down.
At the time, she was directing a play and had little energy for anything else. However, the producers kept hounding her, and she was the clear winner despite hundreds of actresses. Now it's impossible to imagine the show without her.
Hard to Let Go
Spending that much time working with other people means that when the time finally comes to say goodbye, it will be difficult. TV shows must end at some point, but after nine years, not everybody was ready to let things end. Patricia Heaton spent most of the rehearsals for the finale in tears because she was so upset.
In fact, she cried so much that she lost her voice – making it impossible for the show to be filmed with a live studio audience like usual, so the final taping had to be delayed until Heaton got her voice back.
Just Like a Real Family
While the show's arguments were fake, there were plenty of real ones on the set, too. Particularly, Patricia Heaton and Peter Boyle were on two sides of the political spectrum, and both were quite outspoken about their beliefs. This led to numerous heated debates while on the set, which usually served to make the rest of the cast quite uncomfortable.
Still, love prevailed, and the differences didn't keep them from being friends and creating a great show. The entire cast, including Heaton, expressed great love and respect for Boyle upon news of his death.
After All the Love
“Everybody Loves Raymond” was a huge step into the entertainment industry for Ray Romano, and he's gone on to do a lot of great things since. He voiced the fatherly main character of the “Ice Age” movies, as well as appeared on the show “Parenthood” for three years. Hmm, we're seeing a pattern.
Since 2017, Romano has also played the character Rick in the series “Get Shorty.” He created and starred in the show “Men of a Certain Age.” And still, he was also in the films “The Big Sick,” the Netflix and Scorsese product “The Irishman,” and more.
Staying With What She Knows Best
When “Everybody Loves Raymond” ended, Patricia Heaton was the most upset. It had been part of her life for so long that she felt a little lost, but it wasn't long before she was once again a TV mom. This time she played Frankie Heck, the main mom in the show “The Middle.”
The show ran from 2009 all the way until 2018, and now she spends her time writing and working with charities that are near and dear to her heart. She was also on the series “Carol's Second Act” in 2019 and 2020.
Still Making Us Laugh
After the show that helped his star rise even higher, Brad Garrett wasn't about to let his sitcom career come to an end. He earned an Emmy award for his time on the TV show “Gleason,” and he was able to make us all laugh more while on “Til Death.”
He's also gotten plenty of work providing his voice to famous projects such as “Ratatouille,” “Tangled,” and “Finding Nemo.” His marriage to his first wife came to an end, but he ended up quickly getting remarried to IsaBeall Quella, whom he met at an art gallery in Boston.
At the Top of Her Game
Doris Roberts played the overbearing mother, Marie Barone, on the show, which was one of the final parts of her career in entertainment. She had a career that stretched for more than sixty years and spent her entire adult life in movies, shows, and plays. During this immense career, she won five Emmy Awards and a Screen Actor's Guild award.
She had a number of smaller roles after “Everybody Loves Raymond” ended, such as “Madea's Witness Protection” and “Mrs. Miracle,” working up until she passed away in April 2016 at the age of ninety.
Losing a Great
Peter Boyle died in 2006 from cancer, but even while he was in the waning stages, he refused to let it stop him. He continued to act in shows up until his death. “Everybody Loves Raymond” ended in 2005, which didn't leave much more time, but he still made the most of it.
Boyle was seventy-one, and he was famous for his roles such as “Young Frankenstein,” “While You Were Sleeping,” “Malcolm X,” “Taxi Driver,” and “The X-Files.” One of his most acclaimed roles is in an episode of “Midnight Caller,” for which he earned an Emmy nomination.
The Stage Is Her Passion
All three of the Barone grandchildren were played by siblings, and Ally Barone goes from a young girl to her early teenage years. She's played by Madylin Sweeten, and while she's had roles on shows such as “Grey's Anatomy” and “Lucifer,” she seems to enjoy the stage more than the screen.
She's done a ton of theater work, and she also met her husband while working on one production. Now married, Madylin has entered her thirties and enjoys a full, happy life, working hard and creating art.
Two Different Twins
Twins Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten play the twins Michael and Geoffrey on the show, but the two have had very different things happen. Sawyer, sadly, fell victim to depression, succumbing to the disease in 2015. Sullivan has disappeared from the public eye after taking a few small roles in other works.
He and his sister Madylin opened a theater in Sawyer's honor. Sullivan sometimes appears on his sister's social media, but for the most part, he's stepped away from the public life of a famous actor.
The Perfect Audition
Frank Barone, Ray's father, is one of the sassiest and saltiest characters on TV. Peter Boyle had to bring out major grump to pull it off, and he did so, thanks to the terrible time he had getting to the audition. There were no parking spots near the address, he initially went into the wrong building, and then he had to convince someone he was really there for an audition.
Add in his acting experience, and Boyle was the obvious choice for becoming the mega sourpuss that rounds out the Barone family. Who else could have done such a thing?
Running Out of Ideas
After almost ten years, the well was starting dry. Creator Phil Rosenthal once told the writers and actors to “go home, get in a fight with your wife, and come back in and tell me about it.” However, there was no way a show would survive with that sort of drive, and after the ninth season, they were running out of ideas.
They made the tough decision to end the show on a high note instead of dragging it out. As sad as fans were to have it end, it's one of the most well-regarded shows and sitcoms for good reason.
The Big Break
Before the show, Ray Romano was doing whatever he could to scrape by. He was doing stand-up sets during the night, and during the day, he was helping to deliver futons. Specifically futons. Romano had been trying to break into stand-up for twelve years before he finally got his shot – an invitation to “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Quite the shot.
Ray showcased his skills and odd sense of humor, which led to bigger and better things. Eventually, he would be well-known enough to be able to helm his own show, and the rest is history.
No Thought Required
Picking the right actor for a role is hard, and it might even be harder for a television show – you want this person to be able to stick with the show for years, hopefully, so everything has to be just right. And while the vision the creators had for Robert went a certain way, Brad Garrett's idea of him won them over.
From the moment he walked into his audition for Robert, the producers were interested. When he opened his mouth, the deal was sealed. Funnily enough, the producers imagined Robert being shorter than Ray – not the biggest man to ever live.
A great deal goes on behind the scenes of a TV show that we don't see. The lights, the cameras, the sound equipment, the set construction, the farts. No, not every show has to deal with that last one, but “Everybody Loves Raymond” certainly did, and it was all thanks to Peter Boyle.
The cast had no idea if it was on purpose or not, but it became something they all had to deal with. It was apparently a mystery for a little while, but the truth was revealed before too long. It's a very Frank Barone thing to do.
Amy's Amazing Changing Brother
Amy joined the cast as Robert Barone's girlfriend and then wife, and the character had a confusing brother if you pay close enough attention. In the first episode he appeared in, he was played by Paul Reubens of “The Pee-wee Herman Show” fame. Reubens only lasted for a single episode before he was replaced with Chris Elliot, and the character's name even changed with the new actor.
At first, he was Russel, and then he became Peter. This name change is, of course, not commented on, and no explanation has been given.
A Reference to the Monster
During a season three episode, Frank Barone dresses up as a Halloween classic: Frankenstein's monster. While it's easy to say that this was just a non-licensed outfit for the character, there's a deeper meaning. One of Peter Boyle's greatest roles was that very same monster in the Mel Brooks film “Young Frankenstein,” acting alongside the legendary Gene Wilder.
While Frank doesn't exactly put on the ritz in the “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode, it's still a fun shout-out to an enduring and hilarious movie that helped make Boyle's career as good as it got.
Almost Part of the “Friends” Universe
Nobody who is a fan of American sitcoms can ever forget “Friends,” which took an old format and updated it on the heels of “Seinfeld.” One of the actors from “Friends” was almost cast as Debra.
Jane Sibbett, who played Ross's first ex-wife, was offered the role by the network. However, she declined it when she realized that Romano didn't know about the offer and that he was pushing for Patricia Heaton to play Debra. Of course, Heaton was eventually cast, but it was only a week before they began shooting the pilot.
A Worldwide Phenomenon
America isn't the only country where everybody loves Raymond. A Russian version, called “The Voronins,” was helped by showrunner Philip Rosenthal, and it eventually became Russia's number one comedy, even moving on to original episodes after they had run through all of the American scripts. There are also versions in Egypt, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom.
While many were successful, the Polish version, “Everybody Loves Roman,” was canceled after four episodes. The United Kingdom version, “The Smiths,” only got a pilot. The rest, as far as we can tell, did fine.
Hiding the Issues
In 1998, Brad Garrett proposed to his girlfriend, Jill Diven, on the set of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” As so frequently happens in Hollywood, the relationship started to have issues, and the two separated in 2005. They would eventually get divorced in 2007.
However, until this became public knowledge, Garrett didn't let anyone on the show know about the issues he was having at home, literally putting on a funny face. The news leaked due to the paparazzi in 2006, but Garrett was able to keep people from figuring it out for so long, even those on the cast with him.
Hired Thanks to “Frasier”
“Frasier” was one of the other early 90's sitcoms that flipped the script. It was witty and not afraid to make jokes that not everyone would get. Philip Rosenthal submitted a speculative script to David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, a common practice to show your skills as a writer or producer.
The script didn't fit "Frasier," but it eventually landed Rosenthal a job as the showrunner for “Everybody Loves Raymond.” While Worldwide Pants was the production company behind the scenes for the show, the only thing that Letterman did was sign Rosenthal's contract and tell Phil, “Don't embarrass us!”
The Original Vision
It's impossible not to imagine the towering Brad Garrett as Raymond's brother Robert, but it was intended to be a very different character. CBS originally wanted the brother to be played by a small “bulldog type” man. The model was Danny DeVito, who has both the physical size they were looking for and the energy a small cop would probably possess.
Garrett is obviously much taller than DeVito, but the show went with it since Garrett seemed perfect for the role. Garrett was, interestingly, the only actor to audition for the role without Ray Romano in the room.
In the show, the main conflicts almost always come from the fact that the Barone parents, Marie and Frank, live right across the street from Ray and Debra, much to their annoyance. The exterior shots of the house that Ray and Debra live in show 135 Margaret Boulevard in Merrick, New York, and the house used for Marie and Frank's exterior is really right across the street.
The show probably didn't have to do this, but it's a nice touch that made the setup seem as real as possible.
Letting the King Reign
Actor Kevin James got his start on “Everybody Loves Raymond” as a friend of Ray's – Doug – that visits to watch the game. Shortly after, however, Kevin James went on to become the lead actor in a similar sitcom, “The King of Queens.”
This show also had a parent living near a couple, but it was Doug's wife, Carrie's father, who lived with the couple. Seeing as how the characters lived near each other and James had already been seen with Raymond, the shows frequently crossed over, with the lead characters appearing on each other's shows with some regularity.
Mixing up the Ages
While Brad Garrett plays the older of the two Barone children, Robert, it turns out that he's actually quite a bit younger than Ray Romano. A whole three years – which we would have never been able to tell. Brad looks like he's perpetually older than you think he is.
That's not the only age trickery that was going on – Doris Roberts was a whole ten years older than her on-screen husband, Peter Boyle. We would never have known – ages get a little tougher to tell past a certain point, and makeup can do quite a lot.
Raking in the Nominations
“Everybody Loves Raymond” was an incredibly popular show, and not just with regular TV viewers. They accumulated a staggering number of award nominations, including sixty-nine Emmys. Every single member of the main cast save one won an Emmy – the lone exception was Peter Boyle, who was nominated eight times.
Don't feel bad for Boyle, though – he won an Emmy as an outstanding guest actor on an episode of “The X-Files” the same year he started acting in “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The show as a whole won a grand total of fifteen Emmy Awards. Not too shabby.
The Real Dad
While Peter Boyle is in almost every episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” as Raymond's on-screen dad, Romano's real father also made several appearances as Frank's buddy Albert from the lodge. The rest of the Romano family also had their chance in the spotlight.
His brother Richard was in a trio of episodes, his wife Anna was regularly seen as a background mom in school shots, and his daughter was cast as Molly, the daughter of Ray's “nemesis” Peggy the Cookie Lady. Molly is also the best friend of Ray Barone's daughter, which must have gotten confusing.
He Was Also In...
The character of Ray Romano had plenty to do in his own show, but he was quite the journeyman while not dealing with his nosy next-door parents. Not only was he a frequent guest on the show “The King of Queens,” but Raymond Barone also showed up in an episode of “Cosby” in 1997, “The Nanny” in 1998, and “Becker” in 1999.
It wasn't just Ray Romano in a cameo – it was actually Ray Barone, which creates quite the joined universe among all these shows. If those shows had other overlaps, it might go on forever.
Competing off the Set
During the time Brad Garrett played Robert Barone, he also enjoyed more income – that of a professional poker player. He, along with Ray Romano, participated in the World Series of Poker in 2009. Romano was also part of the World Series of Poker from 2007 through 2013.
Romano also spent some time with golfers as part of the show “The Haney Project,” trying to improve his golf game. Romano regularly competes in pro-am competitions alongside professional golfer Steven Bowditch. He and Bowditch finished fifth in 2012 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Not a Fan of the Media
It's almost a rite of passage to get into a fight with paparazzi if you're a Hollywood icon, and Brad Garrett is certainly a Hollywood icon. You can see where this is going. He's struck cameras, challenged entire groups of them to a fight, screamed racial slurs, and gotten into physical altercations.
Dealing with swarms of photographers must really wear on the rich and famous after a long enough time, even if you do your best to ignore them. Seeing as how Garrett has gone through several personal troubles, it's no surprise he ended up losing his temper.
The Shady Internet Soap Opera
After “Everybody Loves Raymond” ended, Madylin Sweeten was quiet for a little while, but she made big headlines in the tabloids in 2015 thanks to an “internet soap opera” called “Youthful Daze.” Sweeten had a role on the show but then became a reluctant producer and investor, giving creator Bryan James almost thirty thousand dollars of her own money in exchange for creative control.
However, James then broke that contract by making changes behind her back. A lawsuit came out of the fracas, with both sides trying to get people to believe their side of the complicated dealings.
A Child Support Battle
Sherri Shepherd had a minor role in “Everybody Loves Raymond” as Sergeant Judy, Robert's police partner. Shepherd had an off-screen scandal, though not for one of the normal reasons. She and her ex-husband, Lamar Sally, have fought for years over child support payments that Sally requested.
Their son was born via surrogacy. The whole thing turned quite ugly, with both sides trying to make the other look as bad as possible. Shepherd ended up having to pay Sally more than four thousand dollars a month, but the story doesn't end there, trust us.
Not Everybody Got Famous
Some of the actors and actresses on the show were already well-known, and some of them got their taste of fame thanks to the show, but not everybody from the show is a household name, even after such a long and successful run.
Monica Horan, who played Robert's girlfriend and wife, never had a role in anything that was even close to the success of the show. Sullivan Sweeten, who played one of the Romano boys, ended his career after the sitcom came to a close. He calls himself a “former actor” on his social media.
Fred Willard had a rather small role in the show as Robert Barone's eventual father-in-law, but he still had quite the scandal pop up. The LAPD found the famous actor engaging in some “inappropriate behavior” while in an adult movie theater. Of course, the news made all sorts of headlines. However, Willard was fierce in fighting back against the allegations.
He was embarrassed, but he maintained his innocence, saying that nothing happened and he did nothing wrong while speaking with talk show host Jimmy Fallon. He was arrested for lewd conduct and was thoroughly embarrassed, but still says he's innocent.
The Opposite of “Seinfeld”
Like almost every sitcom that came after it, “Everybody Loves Raymond” took plenty of influence from “Seinfeld.” Romano's first idea for his show was to do what “Seinfeld” had done – witty talks about current topics from the writing of a stand-up comic, but that show was already made. It was called “Seinfeld.”
Instead, they changed tracks and made their show about things that would have more lasting value. Family ties, arguments, and relationships became the show's identity. Plenty of other shows have realized how smart the move was since people of all ages enjoyed it even after it ended.
An Early Ratings Slump
Nowadays, “Everybody Loves Raymond” is remembered as a titan in the ratings, but that wasn't always the case. In the first season, they had to drag every episode they could out of the network. Becoming a big hit in your first season is a tough sell, but it seemed like this show was destined for the dustbin of history.
However, somebody at CBS – Les Moonves, the head of the network – liked it enough to give them more chances, and ratings started climbing from then on.
A Casting War
Much has been said about Patricia Heaton's turn as Debra, but she only just barely became part of the show anyway. Philip Rosenthal and Ray Romano wanted an actress who could pass as a thirty-something housewife, while the network wanted someone younger, hotter, and more Hollywood.
However, Rosenthal was so adamant about the casting choice that he almost quit the show in protest. Rosenthal met with the actress CBS wanted, but he knew she wasn't going to be the proper person. Two weeks later, Heaton auditioned, and Rosenthal knew he had the right woman at last.
Made up on the Spot
One of the endearing throughlines of the entire show is the nicknames that Raymond calls Debra. As it turns out, every single one of those nicknames was improvised by Ray Romano, and he would even come up with a new one if he had to shoot the same scene several times.
Each and every time, it was a different nickname, no matter how many takes were required for a scene. Must have been hard for Patricia Heaton to not break character if he came in with a different weird name every time.
A Different Kind of Audition
There are a lot of clear reasons why Patricia Heaton got cast as Debra – she has great acting talent, she has a good mom/wife look to her, and she worked perfectly against Ray's parents. However, according to Ray Romano, there's another reason that she was his pick for playing his on-screen wife – she was the only one that was willing to kiss him on the lips during the audition.
This raises a number of other questions, such as why wouldn't anyone else kiss him on the lips, as well as why this was the most important part.
Taken From the Real Brother
Robert Barone is a quirky, quirky guy, and we love him for it. One of his most notable traits is the odd habit of touching all his food to his chin before chowing down on it. There doesn't seem to be any good reason for it, but it's harmless, and eventually, the Barone grandchildren start imitating him.
Believe it or not, this habit comes from Ray Romano's real brother, on which Robert is based, who has the same odd, memorable habit. There's still no explanation for why anybody does this, but...it still happens.
The Proper Background
We get to meet a whole lot of the Barone family over the course of the show, and the name, mannerisms, and background tell us that they're a classic Italian family – angry and loving, crabby yet cheerful. However, if you look into the background of the actors, you'll notice something. The only one who is Italian in real life is Ray Romano – everyone else is of some other nationality.
Sure, Debra, Marie, and the children might not be full-blooded, but not even Brad Garrett or Peter Boyle are Italian – they're just darn fine actors.
Not in Every Episode
Out of all the principal actors, only two of them appear in every episode: Ray Romano (no surprise there) and Doris Roberts. All of the other adult actors had at least one episode off. Brad Garrett and Patricia Heaton had one each (“Fun With Debra” and “Cruising with Marie” respectively), while Peter Boyle had a whopping four episodes to kick back and relax: “Working Girl,” “Dancing with Debra,” “How They Met,” and “Sleepover at Peggy's.”
Likely, these were just because of the episode plotlines, though it's possible that Boyle asked for a little bit of time off for his health.
Ignoring the Kids
Despite the kids being a big part of the lives of the Barones, they're often out of focus. Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal said that the show was always geared more toward a mature audience to include crass or complicated humor without worrying about kids not understanding it. Including the kids more would have meant more kiddie humor.
They also wanted the kids to be realistic – more screen time would mean sarcastic quips or adult thinking coming from the kids. Finally, not having the kids around as much meant that scenes that DID have them felt a little more special.
Hey, That Sounds Kinda Familiar
Peter Boyle had lots of acting experience to draw on while he was on the show, and not just as Frankenstein's monster. During the episode “Six Feet Under,” from 1998, Frank delivers a speech about mortality and death. The episode is about Ray discovering that he's no longer six feet tall, and his father steps in to give him some good advice.
This is the exact same speech that Peter Boyle's character “The Wizard” delivers to Travis Bickle in the movie “Taxi Driver.” Thankfully, it ends up being a lot more helpful to Ray than to Travis.
The Magical Moving House Decorations
People who have watched a lot of this show may be familiar with the large wooden fork and spoon that are hanging in Frank and Marie's house. This set of decorative cutlery moves around the house as the show proceeds through the seasons, with zero explanation.
Of course, it might just be to keep the sets fresh – people redecorate all the time in real life. However, there's also the fact that the set is much larger in the first season – each of them is longer by several feet. This was likely changed because it was too distracting.
Proving the Haters Wrong
Debra Barone's poor cooking skills are a running joke throughout the entire series. While her immediate family chokes it down, Marie Barone refuses to play nice and constantly attacks Debra for her poor cooking. This was made hilarious in hindsight when Patricia Heaton went on to not only host a cooking show, but one that would win an Emmy award for Outstanding Culinary Program.
Sure, she might not be running a four-star restaurant, but that's still a lot of cooking knowledge and know-how that has to be available for use. Eat your words, Marie. And then eat my cooking.
Why the Back?
The central premise of the show is that the two sets of Barones live right across the street from each other, but think about it. They have front doors across from each other. There is a street between them, so it makes the most sense for them to visit each other by going from one front door to the other.
So why, then, do Ray's parents always enter the house by coming in the back door? It doesn't make any sense for them to do so – it's a longer walk to get to the same place.
A Strange Outburst
Frank Barone is a guy that is prone to launching into some well-timed, TV-friendly swears, but there's one that sticks out. When he's exasperated or upset he can be heard shouting “Jeez Alou!” It's part French, sounds like it has a touch of Yiddish in it, and makes no sense. It's been revealed that this references Major League Baseball player Jesus Alou, who played in the sixties and seventies.
For people who were watching in the nineties and early two thousands, it's a bit of an esoteric wink, but Ray, as a sportswriter, probably would have gotten the reference.
Does Marie Have a Sister or Not?
The existence of Marie's sister, Alda, is an interesting topic. She's seen just a single time, in an episode from the first season, when it is explained that she didn't bring a gift to Ray and Debra's wedding. This, somehow, ruined the wedding for the couple. However, in flashback scenes of the wedding, Alda is nowhere to be found. She is never mentioned, nor seen, again.
It turns out that the actress, Jean Stapleton, was unavailable to reprise the role whenever they tried to include her, so she had to continually get written out.
Getting the Band Back Together
Numerous actors from the show have appeared together on a different show: “Lois & Clark: The new Adventures of Superman.” This included Peter Boyle, Fred Willard, Brad Garrett, and Robert Culp, who played Debra's father, Warren Whelan.
Boyle and Culp both appeared in season two of that earlier show, which was in 1994, and Willard and Garrett ended up appearing in the same episode – episode fifteen of season 3, the first part of a five-part wedding story. Garrett was “Reverend Bob.” Garrett has also voiced several Superman characters such as Lobo, in animated shows.
Made From a Bevy of Sitcoms
There are lots and lots of details that the novella “Bittersweet Symphony” by Rebecca McNutt takes from sitcoms, many of which come from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” These details include the surname of the main character, Barone, as well as the New York location. The character Romana Barone in the novella has both her personality and looks based on Debra.
In addition, it uses the character Bailey Quarters from “WKRP in Cincinnati” as inspiration for Bailey “Lawyer” Lawrence Kane. Finally, there's Selena Barone, who is inspired by the character Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”
As in many TV shows, the sets that “Everybody Loves Raymond” used were re-used from – or for – multiple other shows. This includes the set of Robert's apartment used as Nile Crane's apartment when he was forced to live at the “Shangri-La” in “Frasier.” Additionally, the set that is used for Ray and Debra's kitchen is the same set used for the Barrys' kitchen on the TV series “Dave's World.”
It makes perfect sense – why build a brand new set when you can just get some set dressers in to make it look like the character lives there?
The Problem Child
Whenever one of the twins was going to have an issue in the show, it was almost always Michael Barone, played by Sullivan Sweeten. For instance, in the episode “Left Back,” Michael is in danger of not moving to kindergarten from preschool due to being unable to keep up with the other kids.
In “Home From School,” he doesn't want to go to school due to being made fun of by other kids. In “The Angry Family,” he draws a picture of a family – his own – that is very angry and constantly getting into fights.
Only if You Feel Like It
In the episode “The Ball,” there's a scene near the end that has Ray kissing his father, Frank, on the forehead. While the scene was scripted, Ray Romano objected to it, saying that it didn't make sense to him – it's not something that he would do in real life, so he probably shouldn't do it in the show.
Phil Rosenthal didn't pressure Romano into doing it, saying that he should only do it if he felt like it during taping. It seems he did feel like doing it, and the scene made it into the episode.
The Flashback Sister
We all know the children of the Barone family are played by Madylin, Sawyer, and Sullivan Sweeten, but did you know they sometimes play each other? For one, Sawyer and Sullivan are twins, so they could easily show up as each other, and few would know the difference. It's unknown if this ever actually occurred, however.
What DID happen was one of the two brothers playing a younger version of Ally Barone, Madylin's character, in flashbacks for the episode “Why Are We Here?” However, the show has never disclosed whether it was Sullivan or Sawyer that appeared in the flashback.
The Same School
You may already know that Ray Romano shows up in an episode of “The Nanny,” but did you know it goes a little deeper than that? First, there was an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” that had Ray and Debra go to Hillcrest High School's reunion. Mere months later, an episode of “The Nanny” had Fran go to a reunion at the same school – which is where she runs into Ray Romano.
The shows aren't spin-offs, and they aren't related. BUT, Fran Drescher and Ray Romano actually went to high school together in real life!
The Goofy Wedding Dance Was Real
Like at many, many weddings, the new Mr. and Mrs. Barone – Robert and Amy – do their first dance together. Unlike at many weddings, however, the guests see the bride and groom do a funky boogie-woogie that is totally unique, thrilling, and a great way to end an episode that had these two lovebirds finally tie the knot. But it wasn't actually all that unique.
Producer Phil Rosenthal and his wife Monica Horan did a similar dance at their own wedding. This makes a little more sense once you remember that Monica Horan plays Amy in the show.