Monday, May 16, 2005

Let the Healing Begin.

The national nightmare is over, they finally quit airing new episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

I think what offends me the most about that show is the sheer unlikability of all of the characters. Well, the main ones- I don't know if the children were written to be nice or not. But back to the topic. Seinfeld, which this show is obviously a "if he can do it, so can I" clone of, had characters who were awful. In fact, everyone was awful. But they were cartoons of real people, clowns whose horrible actions were amplified to extremes so that we could laugh. The Raymond characters weren't. All you saw were people oddly similar to awful people we encountered in real life, doing oddly familar awful things to each other. Grandpa yells, grandma nags. Wife nags, dad is a putz, brother/uncle is a lovable idiot. With some one liners thrown in. That's not good, and I frankly don't understand how people can like it.

Another problem, which I can't prove, is that I heard that they didn't necessarily have a cohesive writing staff. As I understand it, any schmoe with screenwriting software could choose the sitcom radio button, plug in some dialog and fax a script in. And they'd shoot it. So you'd get episodes where the characters didn't even fit into the mediocrity established for them. So all of a sudden we get the very special episodes where cancer is gotten, fought and beaten in 23 minutes, or the wacky neighbor makes a pass at the wife and Raymond gets tried for murder. * Or the oh-so funny episode (this one is real) where the wife is in traffic court for a DUI. Hilarious.

* "Murder 2? C'mon, uh, he wasn't really that great a guy. He's worth maybe ... murder 8." It's not that hard.

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