DVD Features: Audio CommentaryDeleted ScenesTV Special
Everybody Loves Raymond
's Emmy-winning final season makes it official: Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton) is hot! The scenes in which she scandalizes a PTA meeting in a "trampy" outfit ("P.T.& A") and attempts a lingerie-clad seduction of Raymond (Ray Romano) in "The Power of No" are the reason YouTube was invented. This season begins on a giddy, albeit bittersweet note as Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts, honored with another Emmy) announce that they are moving to a New Jersey retirement home 85 minutes away. The surreptitious kitchen celebration between Raymond and Debra and put-upon Robert (Brad Garrett, also an Emmy-winner) and Amy (Monica Horan) is a play-it-again classic. Their joy is inevitably short-lived when Frank and Marie manage to offend and alienate all the other residents and are kicked out. This season produced a mere 16 episodes, but the majority of them are gems, including "Ally's F," in which a failing math grade leads to a tentative mother-daughter connection ("Are all boys stupid?" a lovelorn Ally asks her mother. "Yes," she assures her).
In the best Raymond episodes, you laugh until it hurts (in "Sister-in-Law," Raymond, ever the "selfish ass," resists extroverted Amy's attempts to get to know him better) and it hurts until you laugh (in "Boys' Therapy," Raymond, Robert and Frank, unwittingly make personal breakthroughs when they ditch group-therapy sessions for the track). At the heart of the final season is Marie's definition of family: "We stick together, we support each other." In the pitch-perfect finale (watched by a reported 32 million people), all resentments and bickering are forgotten when Raymond, undergoing minor surgery for adenoids, momentarily does not awaken following the operation. This set contains "The Last Laugh," an emotional series retrospective built around the filming of the finale (which had to be delayed when Heaton developed laryngitis), amusing deleted scenes, and rollicking, spontaneous commentaries on eight episodes. The brief blooper reel is hardly worth the trouble, but we do get to see Romano break up Boyle with a Young Frankenstein reference. --Donald Liebenson