‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Ray Romano Imagines How the Barone Family Would Handle a Worldwide Pandemic

Fans of Everybody Loves Raymond have seen the Barone family tackle all sorts of crises and situations throughout the years. The Barones at a wedding. The Barones in Europe. And who could forget the Barone family dealing with their son Robert having joined a cult?

But the Barones during a pandemic? Former show star Ray Romano took a stab at that one.

The cast of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'
The cast of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ | Richard Cartwright/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Acting like a Barone did not come naturally to Ray Romano

Having started out as a stand-up comic, transitioning over to work as an actor on a regular sitcom did not come naturally to Romano. It took him a great deal of time to overcome his doubts, as he told NPR in 2011.

“I was wracked with insecurity,” he said. “When we were rehearsing our first episode … there’s Peter Boyle, and I hadn’t really talked to him that much … his reputation just scared me. Who he was, you know this, he was this hulking, strong presence.”

He learned quickly that Boyle was on his side and eager to help Romano learn the actor’s craft.

“During day one of rehearsal … our paths crossed backstage and he just stopped me. He just stopped me and he goes, ‘It’s just like water, just let it flow.’ And that was it. … I know what he meant. At that moment I was just blown away … this kind gesture of trying to make me feel comfortable. And then we became great friends after that,” he said.

How Ray Romano thinks the Barones would have dealt with a pandemic

It’s a humorous exercise, trying to picture Marie Barone staying poised after being told a pandemic was taking hold around the world. Ray Romano had to think about it and offered his perspective on his television family, in his July 2020 conversation with TV Insider.

“What’s funny is we had an episode like that where I think the power was out,” he said. “My memory is shot now. But there was one episode where we were all stuck together and we played a Scruples kind of game where all these questions came up, then everyone was revealing a certain honesty about each other.”

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The Parenthood star had to admit the current pandemic would get his creative juices flowing around the Barones.

“It would make for some good episodes if we were writing the show now,” Romano said. “But we didn’t need a quarantine to get in each other’s space, because in the show, my mother, it was like she was quarantined in my house anyways. There were certainly a lot of times we couldn’t get rid of her.”

How the show’s writers came up with all those great episode ideas

Romano described the process by which the writers thought up episode scenarios for Everybody Loves Raymond. Basically, it was their own lives, which they were willing to play out on national television.

As in the case of a season 7 episode, “Baggage,” as Romano explained, it just happened in one of the writers’ lives and became comedy gold.

“It was funny how that show came about,” he said. “We were in the writers’ room and [creator] Phil Rosenthal said, ‘Anything happen this weekend?’ And [writer] Tucker [Cawley] said, ‘I think I’m having a fight. I’m not sure. But there’s a suitcase on the staircase and nobody’s putting it back.’ And that became an episode.”