Everybody Loves Raymond: Season 5
DVD | Box Set
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Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
Standup comedian Ray Romano stars as Ray Barone, a successful sportswriter who deals with his brother and parents, who happen to live across the street. Patricia Heaton ("The Goodbye Girl"), Peter Boyle ("While You Were Sleeping"), Doris Roberts ("Remington Steele"), and Brad Garrett ("Gleason") round out the stellar cast.]]>
The beloved sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond would be as brutal as a Strindberg drama if it didn't make familial bitterness so genuinely funny. Stand-up comedian Ray Romano (Ice Age) plays Ray Barone, a sportswriter married to Debra (the sharp and sexy Patricia Heaton) who has the misfortune to live just across the street from his invasive, bickering parents Frank and Marie (Peter Boyle, Young Frankenstein, and Doris Roberts, Remington Steele). Rounding out the cast is Ray's neglected older brother Robert (Brad Garrett, Gleason), whose every accomplishment has been ignored because his parents prefer to dote on the younger, cuter Ray. Robert, whose gloomy mug and huge size makes him loom over Ray like some malevolent alter-ego, is actually more honest and sensitive to the needs of others than is Ray, who's both self-centered and too eager to please--an impossible balance that Romano spins to great comic effect.
The fifth season presents the show at the peak of its strength. The season opener, a two-part story about a trip to Italy, degenerates into schmaltz, but immediately afterward Everyone Loves Raymond regains its bearings and launches into series of deftly played and skillfully written domestic skirmishes between husband and wife or parent and child. Episodes range from an explosive fight over wallpaper (a fan favorite) to anxiety over Ray's twin sons playing fairies in a school performance to the separation of Debra's seemingly perfect parents (Katherine Helmond, Brazil, and Robert Culp, I Spy). It's hard to imagine that any other show could get away with such a morbid view of marriage. In one episode, Ray and Debra panic when they realize they're running out of things to talk about; but after they witness Ray's parents having a meal without speaking a single word (a hypnotic pas de deux between Boyle and Roberts), Debra persuades herself that being quiet with each other is true intimacy...but the show never tells you whether she's discovered marital zen or if she's just rationalizing the inevitable emotional heat-death of a life-long commitment. Robert's romantic troubles recur throughout the season, culminating in the nightmare of having his ex-girlfriends meet to hash out everything that's wrong with him. Just a slight adjustment in tone would make Everyone Loves Raymond a bleak indictment of how people can be cruelest to those closest to them; instead, it's a cunningly comic celebration of how people can be cruelest to those closest to them. --Bret Fetzer
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But I forgot - did I ever realize? - how good ALL the shows are! I don't think there's a bad show in this fifth season collection, and I recall others from other seasons, so I'm going to have to buy the complete collection.
This situation is further exploited to serve as the premise of the episodes "Meant to be" and "Stephania Arrives"
Writer Tucker Cawley began to hit his stride this season and began to write some good but overrated episodes (The walk to the door, Silent partners, Ally's birth) I say overrated because if you analyze the episodes he wrote from this season forward, he uses the same plot device over and over again: Ray or Robert does or says something dumb that Debra, Amy, or both way overreact to and a huge argument ensues, which is usually smoothed over at the end. The arguing only got worse in season six, and I believe Cawley is partially to blame.
Classic episodes from this season include "Humm Vac", "Christmas Present", "Fighting In-Laws", and "The Canister"
Forgettable episodes include "The Sneeze" "What Good Are You?", "Fairies", and "Net Worth", where Ray invests money in the go-cart craze.