I’m Glad I’m Not Patricia Heaton

See how miserable she looks? Source

Remember that show “Everybody Loves Raymond”? In it, Ray Barrone lives in Queens across the street from his overbearing mother (Marie) and grizzled father (Frank) and has to deal with constant clashes between them and his wife Debra, played by Patricia Heaton. I can no longer watch this show because it stresses me out beyond belief. My viewership was one of the casualties of getting married and having a child myself.

I assume that the big idea behind her constantly-bedraggled character is that she is no June Cleaver or even Clair Huxtable, for that matter. The life of a stay-at-home mom is challenging, and it’s made even more challenging when you marry into crazy and crazy lives across the street. But she frustrates me because in the multiple seasons that the show was on the air, she adamantly tries to “fix” her husband and her mother-in-law. Inevitably, her plans to cut the cord between them never ever work, and she just ends up yelling and clenching her jaw by the end of the episode. Give it up, lady. This is the hand you were dealt when you decided to marry an eternal man-child.

My life is not Debra’s, though. Here’s how:

1. My child is present.

Did you know that Ray and Debra have three – count ‘em – THREE kids, two of which are twin boys? Where the heck are they? They are brought out whenever there is a back-to-school episode but that’s about it. They aren’t even usually around for Christmas or Thanksgiving episodes. Since her kids are never around, I cannot understand why Debra is always so stressed out. I guess she’s too busy hating Marie that she forgot they existed.

2. Apartment living

I complain about my apartment a lot, and I’ve gone on the record saying that the idea of owning a home isn’t totally reprehensible to me. However, Debra does a great job of keeping my head level about the advantages of living in an apartment. Despite the fact that sightings of her kids are as rare as the Loch Ness monster, that place is too big for her to keep it neat. The proliferation of bric-a-brac is worse that at the Salvation Army thrift store. At least our several rooms are manageable.

That first pillow on the sofa passed out in horror when it saw the Barones bring in a snazzy Thomas Kincaid print. Source

3. I get along with in-laws and they are not insane.

Even if I did live across the street from my mother-in-law Sidney, I wouldn’t lose my mind. Sidney is one of my favorite people ever. She has always seen me as my own person, not as B’s girlfriend/fiancee/wife. She got to know me from the beginning, and as far as I can tell, never felt like I took her son away from her. And she likes loves to spend time with Miss C. That’s another thing I never really got about ELR; the grandparents are more preoccupied with their middle-aged sons than their grandchildren. Weirdness.

4. I have a blog.

There is an episode that stands out vividly in my mind where Debra takes a little time out to do some cathartic crying. Marie sees her doing this and freaks out because she thinks there is something really, really wrong. Debra explains that it just feels good to cry sometimes.

I am occasionally a crier too. Sometimes it just feels good to weep about nothing and everything at the same time. I did it a lot when Miss C had just come home. But I also have a blog, AKA a hobby. Maybe if Debra got herself a blog or another hobby she wouldn’t be so dead-set on the fruitless task of making her husband behave like, oh I don’t know, an adult.

5. My husband isn’t an idiot.

Guess who doesn’t love Raymond. Ding-ding, it’s me. The central positive relationships in his life are with his dopey brother and his mother. His wife does not get the best parts of him, and when they do have a conversation it’s about his jacked-up family. I can’t help but wonder if Ray and Debra will both look back on their lives when they’re old and cherish the years when their kids were young. Probably not. By then their own kids will be living across the street from them, and they will be busying themselves with ruining their lives too.

****

Related Reading

8/28/12

So, this post written by Bea Magazine was just Freshly Pressed. I guess I’m not the only one who’s recently been hot and bothered by Patricia Heaton! It further discusses the multiplicity of Patricia Heaton the woman and the characters she depicts. I recommend it.

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65 comments

  1. My husband and I both have a strong reaction to that show. We call it “Everybody Hates Raymond”. It is annoying for all the reasons you mentioned and possibly a couple of more.

    1. Oh, for sure a couple more! Do tell!

      1. Well, Ray’s brother is uber annoying IMO. And, not just the fact their house is messy but the way it is decorated…that makes me sound like a total snob. It is just all so overwhelming to me. I cant’ even watch for five minutes without wanting to scream!

  2. krugthethinker · · Reply

    Ack, there’s nothing worse than a bad sitcom. So bad. For some reason Russians really love that witch show with Alyssa Milano and it was often the only thing on, besides debate shows. There is another one that makes me crazy, and it’s for the same reasons–I don’t even know what it’s called, but it has this big football coach-looking guy as the lead and then he lives out every male stereotype in the book while the women around him go through the full gamut of frustrated facial expressions. Aggghhhhh. Thank God for Arrested Development.

    1. The sitcoms that they played in Korea were pretty random too. They had like one season of Everybody Hates Chris and it was on CONSTANT rotation the entire time we lived there. Then there was the standard fare like Friends and Ugly Betty. But yeah, I think that show you’re talking about with Alyssa Milano is called Charmed. How random!

  3. I hated Debra. She’s constantly rolling her eyes and making snide remarks, almost with contempt. She’s a housewife who can’t keep the house clean and can’t cook to save her life—as they declare on the show. And she yells at her husband for not contributing in the house! But you gotta feel bad for her with those in-laws.
    I’m not too fond of that show, but strangely, it has repeat value. I can leave it on and do other things.

    1. It really does have that repeat value. So does the George Lopez show, which is equally (if not more) horrible yet I have it on during the day as I get my stuff done around the house. It’s good white noise, if anything.

  4. I never liked Patricia Heaton’s character in this show. She was so whiny and mean. Like, I get that mothers are tired when their husbands come home, but by always complaining about rays family, I think she stressed him out even more. You would think that they would have moved after a couple years…voila! Problem solved!

    1. I KNOW, right? There’s the episode where the in-laws finally do move away for a brief period and everyone else goes nuts they’re so happy. Geez, THEY were the ones who chose to live next to their parents, not the other way around.

  5. I am proud to say that I have never watched more than a few minutes of this show–it’s only been on my television when I’ve switched from an ASPCA commercial on another channel. I never liked any of the characters. And I have a hard time separating Patricia Heaton’s characters from her as a person, because from what I’ve heard about her, Patricia Heaton is a crazy, mean-spirited wingnut.

    1. You are indeed a wise lady for steering clear of this televised monstrosity, Weebs. I’ve heard the same thing about Patricia Heaton. She’s on some other show now, playing a slightly watered-down version of her character on Ray. I guess America can’t get enough of shrewishness.

  6. I’m glad you’re not her, too. Your blog would suck if you were her.

    1. Hahahahahaha! That would make the most terrible blog ever. All the posts would be about how I hate my mother-in-law and how I can’t cook. I wonder if it would ever get Freshly Pressed?

      1. I sincerely hope not.

  7. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks it’s weird that kids in TV shows rarely seem to be around, especially in sitcoms that are about families (!). Or they’re only there when it’s convenient. And when the parent is off doing something else, there’s never any information about who’s home watching the kids. :)

    1. But then there’s the opposite extreme where the show sucks because it’s so kid-heavy. I’m thinking Full House here. There has to be a happy kid medium on shows. I don’t watch it often, but it seems like Modern Family does this successfully.

      1. That was the show that came to my mind, too. The Middle is another great one (has Patricia Heaton in it :) ).

  8. My life has been enriched by you being you. It has nothing to do with being B’s wife ( which is a dream come true ) or being C’s mommy ( which is nothing short of saintly ) ….or by putting in writing the fact that I’m NOT insane ( which I am forever indebted to you for )….Your check’s in the mail sweetie….love this blog

    1. Hahahaha! You should print this off and carry it in your purse for proof that you ARE sane if you ever doubt it!

  9. I always hated that show. You do a good job of enumerating why. I just don’t get it… It also doesn’t seem like a hopeful show in the least. More a warning.

    1. I know! I think that was the draw of it for a lot of people; it made light of a lot of the family miseries they went through on a normal basis. That kind of depresses me.

  10. I wouldn’t want anyone I know to either be the PH character or the actual PH herself if what I read about her is true. I’ve never watched an entire episode of that show, but any show about people who are eternally unhappy and do nothing about it is off limits for me: too much like work!

    1. Amen to that! That’s why I like Arrested Development; for all their tomfollery and ridiculousness, they really are happy people when it gets down to it. And they do something about their unhappiness, like try to build Sudden Valley.

  11. I have to relate a bit from ELR that my husband and I found SO relevant to our lives. There is a suitcase on the stairs and it stays on the stairs throughout the episode. I can’t remember if she expected him to take it upstairs or not, but the point was that he just didn’t see it even though he walked past it several times. My husband can do that! He can balance trash delicately on top of a full trash can and never think, “Gee, I should take the trash out.” He sees right past the dirt on the kitchen counters, etc., etc., etc. But, you’re right; it’s a pretty lousy show.

    1. I think I know what you’re talking about. I seem to remember an episode where she asks him to move the luggage and he never does and he eventually falls over it on the stairs. I remember the set being so cluttered and it is very true-to-life, especially now that we have a baby and her crap is proliferating all over the apartment. I am tempted to get rid of it as she outgrows it but if we ever have another baby I will regret not keeping it.

  12. Hands down, at least for me, the most annoying thing about that show was Ray’s brother. His character’s voice made me want to kill him. Ugh! No wonder Marie preferred Raymond over her other son, he’s was a goon!

    1. He was sooo annoying. As much as I dislike that show, one really funny thing from it is when the dad Frank is talking about how bad Ray’s brother was at sports when he was a teenager. He said that his basketball coach called him “the useless giraffe.” That always cracks me up.

      1. Hahaha! The dad probably had the best lines. That’s funny.

  13. Haha! I always wonder how Ray and Deborah even stay married. I mean, she hates everything, he never talks to her about anything good, they never have sex. If that’s what marriage really was, I’d die.

    1. In reality, you know they’d break up and the world would be better for it.

  14. I never liked Debra. Maybe it’s because Patricia Heaton is a huge Republican or maybe it’s because Debra sucks or maybe it’s both.

    1. Le Clown · · Reply

      Speaker 7,
      Actually, I don’t think Debra sucks. Not even on anniversaries.
      Le Clown

      1. Le Clown,
        A wise man once said to use this statement when you want to comment, but can’t think of something: Amen to that!
        Speaker7

    2. I’m thinking that it’s both.

  15. Le Clown · · Reply

    Emily,
    Do me a favour now… Try parallels with Married With Children…
    Le Clown

    1. I’m gonna let you down and say that I’ve never been a fan of that show either. The set is so ugly and Peg’s hair is so gaudy that it hurts my eyes and I have to turn it off.

  16. I quite liked the show but I agree with the majority here by not liking Deborah. Did you see the ‘Family Guy’ episode with Ray and Deborah arguing about Marie? The same thing over and over again for nine years. Yup, that was basically it. Anyway, great blog post; very creative :-)

    1. Thanks! I will have to check that clip out. I think like every segment ever from Family Guy is on YouTube so I will have no trouble finding it.

  17. I never loved Raymond, either. I just didn’t get it.

    1. You and me both. We can both not get it together.

  18. Having a blog is better than breaking down and crying. Fortunately, you can sometimes cry WHILE writing your blog. I find those tend to be the best posts! ;-)

    1. Oh yes indeed! Truer words were never spoken. Those salty tear-stained posts are the best of all.

  19. Having successfully avoided the show, I never knew they had children. Why the heck did the writers avoid including the kids in the plot? That’s so strange. It sure would explain why PH was so bedraggled, for sure. And I hate the stereotype of not getting along with the MIL. That’s so played out.

    1. It’s almost as played out as the bumbling sitcom dad having a hot wife. King of Queens was pretty much the only show that successfully pulled that off.

  20. I strongly dislike not only this show. But all shows of this manor.
    I do not understand how it is classified as comedy. Seriously?

    1. It’s the comedic equivalent of a laxative.

  21. I was never a big fan of this show. They were all whiners the time I did happen to have it on. I’m not very tolerant of sitcoms — it needs to get funny, good funny real quick because I rarely give them a second chance if not!

    1. I know! My time is valuable. I have to be LOLing within the first two minutes or I will change it and just watch Antiques Roadshow.

  22. I like ELR but can only take a few episodes at a time before I feel completely and unnecessarily stressed out.

    1. TV should not be stressful! I feel the same way about Curb Your Enthusiasm; I like the show but after watching several episodes in a row my blood pressure goes up. Some of the incidents Larry David gets himself into are just too true-to-life.

  23. oopsie23 · · Reply

    I hate that show. And I seriously hate all of te characters! They make me itch….

    1. I kinda like the grandfather simply because he makes jokes about not wearing pants at home. That’s an idea I can stand behind.

      1. Haha! Mama’s FOR the pants-free zone!

  24. The few times in my adult life that I’ve watched network TV sitcoms I’ve sat stone-face as if attending a funeral. I don’t find them funny. I find them formulaic, insipid and a waste of time. That said, I was aware of ELR, but until I read this post I never knew about the actual premise of the show. I feel very lucky that I did not miss out on viewing something remarkable like, I dunno, the invention of the wheel.

    1. “Formulaic, insipid and a waste of time” is a good way to describe them. There are a few exceptions like Seinfeld, Arrested Development, Parks and Rec, and until recently The Office, but sitcoms generally make me want to stab myself too.

      1. I actually liked 30 Rock but I so rarely watch any of this crap I kept forgetting to tune in. I never got into Seinfeld, but I loved Curb Your Enthusiasm back in the day when I could still afford the “luxury” of HBO. That show actually did make me laugh.

        1. I love 30 Rock too! I forgot about that one! I like Curb Your Enthusiasm but it stresses me out if I watch more than one episode at a time. Some of the situations he gets himself into are just too true-to-life.

          1. What turns me off network TV so much — aside from the in-your-face artificiality of it (kinda/sorta going back to your spot-on gripe about ELR) — is the commercials.

            1. That’s why we watch a TON of PBS!

  25. Go you for having a real life TV can’t touch!
    And love the comment above from your Mother In Law!

    1. Haha, I’m glad you caught her comment! She is awesome.

  26. Hi, thanks for the recommendation! I always thought Debra had the worst time, and found the fact that it was supposed to be a typical depiction of family life so depressing. Thank goodness it’s not true for you :)

    1. My pleasure! We both must have Patricia Heaton-brain to have both just written about her. I hope it’s not contagious. ;)

  27. Ck jacobs · · Reply

    I really like the show, especially Doris Roberts as Raymond’s mom. I am not a fan of Debra, though.

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