‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: The Thanksgiving Episode Where Marie Barone Went Maddeningly Low-Fat

A scene from 'Everybody Loves Raymond'
A scene from ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ | Robert Voets/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

On Everybody Loves Raymond family matriarch Marie Barone, played by the inimitable Doris Roberts, doesn’t do things halfway.

She spies on her adult children and criticizes her daughter-in-law’s cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing because as she likes to say, it’s all for love.

One of the show’s most deliciously funny episodes was “No Fat,” in which the family is subjected to a Thanksgiving meal devoid of fat and flavor.

Thankfully, it was chock full of laughs.

‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ did Thanksgiving right

The now-classic comedy knows how to capture family dynamics perfectly well. Family dysfunction is portrayed in all its ugly glory, and yet hilariously. In that same vein, holidays with family is represented simply spot-on.

The show’s executive producer and creator Phil Rosenthal commented to the Archive of American Television that the show, for him, was based on accurate family interaction. Namely, his own. He spoke on the character of Marie and her true role on the show.

“Now that the show is over, I can say this,” Rosenthal said. “Marie is the villain in the show. She is the antagonist of the show. But you can’t tell [Doris Roberts] that she’s the villain. Because everyone wants to be loved. And so I told her that. Everything you do, comes from love.”

Marie went low fat for Thanksgiving

After attending a local health fair, Marie discovers that she has high cholesterol. Determined to live more healthfully, she begins pouring over books on lowering cholesterol and changing how she cooks, to the horror of the three men in her life: husband Frank and sons Raymond and Robert.

Marie’s tofu turkey isn’t just an assault on their taste buds; it’s a blow to their family tradition and affection, which is hanging on by the slender thread of fatty, filling food.

RELATED: ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Doris Roberts Said the Exec Producer’s Treatment of the Cast Was ‘Horrible’: ‘You Can’t Do That To Actors’

The only Barone backing Marie up, surprisingly, is Debra, who scolds the men for their selfishness when Marie is trying to improve herself.

The episode climaxes when Ray’s order of a full traditional Thanksgiving meal arrives at his parents’ doorstep.

Marie initially thinks Frank has gone and ordered the meal. When she discovers it was her own son, she leaves the room hurt and betrayed.

Raymond apologizes and the two make up. By the episode’s end, the entire family is sitting around Ray’s dining room table – eating the Thanksgiving meal Ray had ordered.

Patricia Heaton was very pregnant in this episode

In “No Fat,” Debra Barone actor Patricia Heaton was far along in her pregnancy with her fourth child during this season.

To hide her growing belly, she was shown from the shoulders up or holding large items.

“You know, poor Phil,” the mother of four told the Archive of American Television, referring to the show’s executive producer. “Every time I’d call him and say, ‘Hey, I’m pregnant!,’ he’d just say ‘Mazel tov!’

The actor described how the show would dress her in “big, checked, lumberjack shirts” to hide her pregnancies.

“I always carried a laundry basket around,” she said. “There were some people who didn’t know I was pregnant. What did they think I was eating?”