Why ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Star Ray Romano Called Ray Barone a ‘Dumbed-Down Version’ of Himself
Fans of Everybody Loves Raymond still get their fix of the sitcom thanks to syndication and streamings services. The show starring Ray Romano (Ray Barone), Patricia Heaton (Debra Barone), Brad Garrett (Robert Barone), Doris Roberts (Marie Barone), and Peter Boyle (Frank Barone) ended in 2005 after a successful nine-season run.
With the majority of the episodes based on real events from the lives of Romano and show creator Phil Rosenthal, Romano admitted he shares some similarities with his onscreen persona.
Ray Barone often fell short, but he tried
Playing the harried married father of three on the show, Romano’s character was often subjected to his onscreen wife’s wrath for not living up to her expectations. Heaton saw Debra as somewhat representing the frustrations of long-suffering wives.
“It’s funny, she could be sort of such a b*tch but I guess she was really patient,” Heaton shared with the Television Academy Foundation. “She recognized Ray’s good qualities, as much as she got angry at him. … She was always a little bit angry that [Ray] couldn’t read her mind, that he wasn’t sensitive and everything he tried fell apart.”
While Debra often expected Ray to pitch in around the house and help out with the kids, he often opted for grabbing the TV remote. Yet there would often be a point in the episode where Ray would show his soft side.
“I think the thing that saved Debra’s and Ray’s marriage – and I think it’s in any marriage – is you know that your spouse is well-meaning ultimately,” Heaton explained. And it’s one thing if they’re doing things deliberately, but if they’re just an idiot – which I often called Ray on the show – then they kind of can’t help it.”
Ray Romano sees similarities to his character
While Ray Barone is portrayed as aloof, lazy, and awkward, Romano confessed that the character is somewhat like himself, but to a lesser extent.
“But I would say he’s a dumbed-down version of me – which is like splitting the atom almost,” Romano told 60 Minutes in 2005. “He’s a little more selfish. A little more naïve, a little more ignorant.”
Like Heaton, the sitcom star sees the humanity underneath the less than redeeming qualities.
“I think he’s still a good person,” Romano noted, then made one of his trademark jokes. “The wife and, you know, my TV wife, my real wife. I don’t sleep with either of them, to be honest with you.”
Ray and Debra – Lucy and Ricky?
Show creator Phil Rosenthal saw Ray Barone as a very relatable guy, which helped draw in such big ratings each week.
“He’s Everyman. You know, that’s what’s great about him,” Rosenthal explained of the stressed out family man. “He wants to be left alone. ‘Please let me sit on the couch and watch television without all my responsibilities and obligations and family bothering me.'”
Heaton may have summed up Ray and Debra’s relationship best when she compared them to another iconic television couple.
“They were kind of Lucy and Ricky, I think,” she remarked, referring to the legendary Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. “Kind of a modern day Lucy and Ricky. But it was just flipped. Ray was the new Lucy.”