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Saturday, July 24, 2021

TV Rewind | Everybody Loves Raymond: The OG Sarabhai vs Sarabhai

The nothing-ness of Everybody Loves Raymond is what made it wholesome.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: January 3, 2021 9:09:52 am
everybody loves raymondEverybody Loves Raymond has a certain timeless quality about it.

If the Sarabhai reference in the headline caught your eye, then this is just the article for you. We have all loved Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, and for many, it is still one of the best Indian comedy shows, but what if I told you that way before Sarabhai, there was a show in the US that had a similar premise. This isn’t to say that Sarabhai is a copy of something Western but just to acknowledge that while Sarabhai’s jokes and characters are as original as they can be, the show’s basic plotline could have been somehow inspired by Ray Romano’s Everybody Loves Raymond. There are more parallels between the two than there are differences so in the spirit of examining the source, here’s looking back at Everybody Loves Raymond.

Created by Philip Rosenthal and starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond started airing in 1996 and lasted for nine seasons.

What is Everybody Loves Raymond all about?

Everybody Loves Raymond follows Ray Romano’s Raymond Barone who lives the nice suburban life with his wife and three kids. The cause of friction in Raymond’s household is his parents and brother who live next door and are constantly interfering in his matters. Ray’s wife and mother are often pulling him in opposite directions, and for him, choosing one over the other would be the worst mistake.

Everybody Loves Raymond is a classic family sitcom that might seem dated today but still carries a strong sense of nostalgia for the kind of television that was quite the staple in that era.

What works for Everybody Loves Raymond?

Much like other sitcoms of the era, the plot isn’t what drives the show, but it’s the characters and their unique antics that move the story along. Ray being a lazy person around the house, Marie being uptight about Debra’s housekeeping skills, Frank’s tough-guy exterior and Robert’s glumness make up the show’s broad-strokes, but unlike other sitcoms, these characters find newer layers as the show goes along.

Everybody Loves Raymond is a simple show and much like its overall premise, the stakes here are never too high. With no big pressure points, the show actually works like a stressbuster, in a Seinfeld-like fashion. To this day, it’s possible to have a full-day marathon of Everybody Loves Raymond, and still go back for more the next day. Of course, it won’t be a fruitful weekend, but Everybody Loves Raymond doesn’t really make that promise.

Everybody Loves Raymond was designed for Ray Romano who was having a great time as a stand-up comic at the time. And while Ray wasn’t the best actor on the show when it started, the other cast members more than made up for it. You wanted to stand up for Patricia Heaton’s Debra as her husband acted like a man-child. Doris Roberts’ Marie was just snarky enough that you took pleasure in her sarcasm. Peter Boyle’s Frank sure had a tough exterior, but in episodes where he showed a streak of his emotion, he walked away with all the applause. Brad Garrett’s Robert was the one who stole the show. Starting as the guy who feels inferior in front of Ray, he turned out to be the one who was the centre of Everybody Loves Raymond.

The nothing-ness of Everybody Loves Raymond is what made it wholesome, and the same was conveyed in episodes like the one where Ray signs up his parents for the ‘Fruit of the Month club’ or when Robert has a girlfriend who eats flies. The overall progression of Everybody Loves Raymond is quite glacial and nothing much really happens, sometimes for an entire season, but that’s the beauty of a show like this, where you just come in for some laughs.

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The official Indian Everybody Loves Raymond spin-off

Star Plus’ Sumit Sambhal Lega was Everybody Loves Raymond’s official Indian adaptation. While the show tried to capture the same kind of comedic friction that the American counterpart was known for, it looked rehearsed and felt quite cumbersome. In many ways, what Sumit Sambhal Lega was trying to do, was already successfully done by Sarabhai vs Sarabhai.

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