Everybody Loves Raymond is considered one of the best sitcoms of all time. Its success is largely owed to the Barone family, and holidays are a great way to highlight strange family dynamics. Everybody Loves Raymond offered fans a Thanksgiving episode each year, but a few stand above the rest. If you’re looking to get into the holiday mood, these three episodes should do the trick.
“No Fat” perfectly highlights the importance of food at Thanksgiving
Marie Barone may have taken great pride in creating delicious food, but apparently, none of that food was healthy. In the season 3 episode, “No Fat”, Marie decides to embark on a healthy eating plan, but it coincides with Thanksgiving. To make things healthy, she subs out the turkey for a tofu offering, and the resulting disappointment is hysterical. Ray finds himself in trouble when his traditional Thanksgiving meal, which he plans to dine on later in the day, is delivered to the wrong address.
So, what exactly makes this episode so great? The acting is perfect, and Frank Barone’s freak out over the way skim milk reacts to his coffee is a pretty classic television moment. According to IMDb, fans agree. The episode received an 8 out of 10-star rating from viewers.
“The Bird” proves that family dynamics can be disrupted by the addition of new people
While many fans argue that the later seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond weren’t as good as the early seasons, the show could still do a Thanksgiving episode right. In season 8, the Barone family finds themselves in Pennsylvania to celebrate the holiday with the McDougal family. While everything seems to be going alright early on, tensions run high when Pat McDougal kills a bird, much to the horror of the Barones.
The way the Barone family and the McDougal family interact is a perfect example of what can happen when in-laws have very little in common. The tension between Hank McDougal and Frank Barone is especially funny. IMDb rated the episode an 8.5 out of 10.
Everybody Loves Raymond featured in-laws at Thanksgiving before the McDougals
The McDougal family weren’t the only in-laws that Frank and Marie couldn’t manage to get along with. Long before Robert Barone got serious with Amy McDougal, the Barone family hosted Lois and Warren Whelen, Debra Barone’s parents, for Thanksgiving. In the season 5 holiday special, “Fighting In-Laws”, Ray discovers that Warren and Lois are having serious marital problems. He’s so giddy about it that he insists on telling Debra who reacts comically.
It has been rumored that several key scenes in “Fighting In-laws” were adlibbed. According to IMDb, the scene in which Ray is standing in the garage while Warren and Lois argue was improvised. Debra’s mishandling of the turkey was also a spontaneous moment. The improvisation adds to the magic of the episode.