I kept myself out of the show because I loved it and didn’t want to ruin it. ~ Phil Rosenthal
Have you heard of, or seen, the show Everybody Loves Raymond? The television series is no longer running new episodes (since 2005), but the reruns are shown in syndication. Yes, I know that not everybody loves Raymond, but I do. It now equals my other longtime number one favorite, The Dick Van Dyke Show.
I’m obsessed with the show Raymond and its writing. I write memoirs and fiction, not scripts, but I can appreciate the genius writing on Raymond. There is much I could learn from them in my own writing. Their fictional characters are so distinctive and well-rounded. For me, it’s the characters that carry the plot line on each episode.
I found interviews with the writers of these shows. Each of them said the same thing … they wrote their episodes out of something that really happened in their lives. Of course, as a writer, I know stories must be embellished with fiction intertwined. However, their stories have heart because the writer’s dealt with the same life issues.
I have many questions for them about different episodes and characters. Who came up with the Robert chin-touch and what made them think of it? Who came up with the personalities for the MacDougalls? For Amy? Does Marie know she is manipulative, or is she oblivious to it because she’s offering her help?
Another favorite show of mine is Sex and the City. The casual sex thing is not my style, so I didn’t think I would enjoy the show. After watching only one episode, I was hooked! Those female friends resonated with me to my very core. The show had heart, and the personalities distinct. It depicted human beings who were dealing with life and relationships the best they knew how, human foibles and all.
I didn’t think I’d be able to relate to the show Modern Family either. Sure enough, those distinctive characters made me laugh, and touched my heart all at the same time. Cam, cracks me up.
I enjoyed Seinfeld in its time, but it never had heart. The show did make me laugh, but in the final two-part episode(s) the writers let us know, that they knew, their characters had no heart. Real people do.
In my own novel and short story writing, I’m learning to create strong characters who can carry my plot lines. I’m not quite there yet, so I guess I’ll just have to keep watching reruns of Raymond.
I thank God for the show Everybody Loves Raymond. It kept me sane by getting me to laugh at my own dysfunction. Sometimes I laughed and cried at the same time, because I related all too closely to Debra. Phil Rosenthal (the creator & writer), is the first person that ever made me feel completely understood.
P.S. All time favorite Raymond line. Debra is talking to Marie, and I’ve since used this same line on my own mother-in-law.
Debra: “Marie, when I speak, what is it you hear? Is it … is it like backwards talk or dolphin squeaks?”