Well, I just felt like doing something different, even though it isn't Wednesday, so I checked out a "spark" - in this case, a kind of linky-love free link exchange - over at SocialSpark.com, a social network for bloggers where you can get paid for blogging, and my friend over at Dragon Blogger asked this question: what is your favorite TV Comedy?
I didn't even have to think about it. I mostly hated comedies, and I had a reputation of being on the somber side. It isn't that I don't laugh easily, but in general I have an odd sense of humor. But a few years ago, I discovered Everybody Loves Raymond. I originally posted about it at TV.com in 2006, and my opinion hasn't changed.
I have seen most all the episodes now, but when I first discovered the Barone Family in syndication a couple of years ago, my husband couldn't believe there was actually a sitcom that could make me laugh out loud. But the laughter was from twenty years of recognition of my own peculiar challenges of having been a non-Italian, non-Catholic career woman marrying into a closed society. The depiction is spot on.
I'm not sure that anyone outside of New York or New Jersey who isn't Italian, or married to one, can appreciate just how brilliant this comedy is. Ray Romano didn't make this stuff up. He had to have taken these characters out of his own family, or the families of friends.
They are authentic, right down to the last detail. The decorations in their homes, the mother who dominates "for love", the obsession with food, the plastic slipcovers, the combination of affection and hostility that characterizes all communication, the relationship between the sons and the mother, the obnoxious cousin who plays the accordion--I have seen them all. They just aren't as hilarious in real life. This is one of the best comedy ensemble casts ever.
Everybody Loves Raymond contains some mature themes and a fair amount of profanity, of the kind that is routinely thrown around in this setting. Probably less than is actually used in real life, and a whole lot less than other shows, but enough that it is not suitable for young children, in my opinion. That is why I never watched it when it was in prime time - my children were young and I thought it was inappropriate. But if that isn't an issue for you, and you could use a good laugh, Everybody Loves Raymond is a great place to start.
TBS airs 3 episodes daily, back to back from 6:30-8:00 PM EST.