The Eighth Season
Everybody Loves Raymond is based on the work of stand-up comedian Raymond Romano. The series itself is basically about an oddly arranged family, which makes for a great sitcom. Romano plays Ray Barone, a not-so-typical sports writer, husband, and father of three. Ray and his wife Debra live across the street from his neurotic parents Frank and Marie, weird brother Robert and his wife Amy. The comedy revolves around the entire family acting goofy and turning some rather common situations into a riot. The actors and actresses deliver dialogue with talent and also incorporate physical comedy into the show with ease, which only adds to the hilarity. For more details about this series please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four,
season five, season six,
season seven, and series finale.
In season eight, the Barone family continues their crazy antics and a few other faces come along for the ride. With Robert and Amy betrothed in the end of season seven, Amy's family, the McDougal's, join the Barone's on more than one occasion. As for the content, the stories are just as exciting as past seasons and the fun, loving, neurotic, and hysterical Barone family is at the top of their game. Some of the fun stories include Robert considering a new career, Peter sleeping on the Robert's couch and not going home, Ray facing off with Peggy (again), and the Barone boys competing to care for their mommy.
The season begins with a fantastic episode, "Fun With Debra", about Ray and Debra. Ray is getting ready for day of golf while Debra is hard at work with the kids and household. Debra is frustrated that Ray won't spend quality time with the kids. So, the next day Ray spends the day with the twins... playing golf. At first Debra is not happy how they spent the day, but realizes the boys had a lot of fun. It makes her realize that she and Ray do not share what they enjoy. Debra decides they should share what makes each other happy, which means Ray and Debra going golfing. The outing turns out for the worse, and the repertoire Ray and Debra have make the episode hilarious.
The next episode "Thank You Notes" is the first of many this season about Robert and Amy's marriage. When Amy and Robert return from their honeymoon, Marie takes control as the bossy mother-in-law. Marie tires to get Amy to write thank you notes for her wedding gifts. But Amy shows some restraint, and Debra convinces her to lead a rebellion against Marie's reign of terror. The notion is over-the-top, but carried well by everyone, from Ray and Robert cowering in fear to Debra's overzealousness to take Marie down.
"Peter On The Couch" is a great example with the McDougal family included in the fun. Peter comes to help Robert and Ray move furniture and when Amy asks Peter to stay for dinner, he never leaves. The situation drives Robert crazy and he kicks him out. With nowhere to go, Peter has to spend the night at Ray's... but Ray decides to take him back to Pennsylvania. At the McDougal residence, Peter finds his parents have enjoyed having their 40-something son gone and decide to use his room for other things. Ray takes him back to New York and Peter and Robert find they have a lot in common.
Another fun episode is "Party Dress", where Peggy faces off with Ray. Ally's best friend Molly is having a special party for her thirteenth birthday and her mother Peggy is planning a formal affair. The catch is that the dress costs two-hundred and fifty dollars. Ray refuses to pay the high price and tries to unite the other parents to take a stand against Peggy. It is a fun episode with Ray and Peggy having the same great chemistry like they had in the season six episode "Cookies".
Another fun set of episodes involves Robert and a couple new career paths. In two unrelated episodes, Robert tries out alternative jobs. In "Security", Robert has a part-time job selling home security systems. He is offered a full-time position, which means retiring from the police force. Robert is not sure what to do and asks everyone and anyone their opinion. In "The Model", a man approaches Robert at a Chinese restaurant and asks him if he ever considered being a model. Robert gives it a chance and finds out that his has been ripped off. Ray and Robert give fantastic performances in both episodes, especially in he modeling episode when Ray does Robert's portfolio.
The season finale "Golf For It" is a twisted episode. Ray, Robert, Andy, and Gianni spend the night in their car waiting in line for a good golf tee time. Prior to leaving for the night of waiting, Marie guilt trips Ray and Robert about not doing enough for her. While waiting in the car, Ray and Robert begin to feel guilty about not caring enough for their mother. The situation escalates to competition and the Barone boys play for who will get to take care of mom after dad passes away. How energetic Ray and Robert get about wanting to take in Marie is hysterical. It is a kooky episode with some backwards thinking.
Overall, Everybody Loves Raymond's eighth season has nonstop fun, with one great episode after the other. As previously mentioned, one notable change in the show's dynamic is the inclusion of Amy's family. Since Robert and Amy are married, the McDougal family joins the cast on several occasions. The family events are quite fun, with lots of crazy antics neuroticisms. The season also has some all-around good episodes dealing with the kids, Robert's career, the past, and more. It is a season that fans will not want to miss.
1. Fun With Debra: Ray gets teed off at Debra when she joins him for a round of golf so that the two of them can spend more time together.
2. Thank You Notes: Marie instantly tries to get the upper hand in her relationship with her new daughter-in-law when Amy and Robert return from their honeymoon, but Debra steps in, determined to stop Marie's meddling once and for all, which horrifies the guys.
3. Home From School: Michael claims to be sick for the third day in a row and refuses to go to school, so Ray takes his son to work with him in hopes of boring him so much that he'll want to return to the classroom.
4. Misery Loves Company: Amy and Robert throw a dinner to celebrate three months of wedded bliss, but it takes a nasty turn when they dole out marital advice to Ray and Debra, and even Marie and Frank.
5. The Contractor: Debra persuades Ray to hire Gianni to do some remodeling in their kitchen, but they both soon regret it due to their friend's laziness. His hiring also upsets Frank, who believes he should be allowed to do any handiwork needed around Ray's house.
6. Peter On The Couch: Amy's brother (Chris Elliott) comes to help move a couch and ends up calling it his new bed, much to Robert's dismay, who fears that his psycho brother-in-law will never leave.
7. Liars: Ray and Debra get caught up in telling lies in order to cover up previous falsehoods, after Ray fibs to Marie about why he missed a scheduled time with her.
8. The Surprise Party: Debra's mom (Katherine Helmond) plans a surprise birthday party for her daughter, but a loose-lipped Ray spills the beans and then takes all the credit.
9. The Bird: The Barone clan visits Amy's pious parents, Hank and Pat (Fred Willard, Georgia Engel), on Thanksgiving and the day turns into a real turkey. The trouble begins when a bird is found injured outside, prompting Pat to take matters into her own hands with a shocking solution.
10. Jazz Records: Ray tries to make up for destroying his dad's collection of jazz records more than 30 years ago by giving him CDs of the same albums, but Frank the Grinch refuses them.
11. Debra At The Lodge: Debra agrees to help recruit new members for Frank's lodge, but Ray doesn't like all the time she's spending there and neither does Marie, who thinks it's shameful.
12. Slave: Debra gives Ally additional responsibilities, including laundry and baby-sitting chores, but Marie doesn't approve and thinks her granddaughter is being turned into a slave.
13. Whose Side Are You On?: Ray gets upset with Debra and accuses her of turning the kids against him after he learns that she, Ally and the twins make bets about his behavior, such as whether he'll notice something new, forget something from the grocery store or remember to zip his pants.
14. Lateness: Ray claims that Debra is always late on purpose, so he threatens to leave her behind if she's not ready on time for an important sports banquet they plan to attend.
15. Party Dress: Ray and Debra disagree over whether they should purchase an expensive dress for Ally to wear to a friend's formal 13th-birthday party. Debra thinks they should, but Ray can't see spending $250 for a dress that will be worn only once. Of course, Marie takes her son's side.
16. Security: Robert considers retiring from the police force and becoming a security-alarm salesman, but he's afraid to make the decision alone, so he gets input from everyone. Unfortunately, Amy and Marie disagree about his future, which leads to a tense birthday party for Robert.
17. The Ingrate: Debra is hurt when Ray receives an honorary doctorate and thanks everyone except her in his acceptance speech. He claims it was accidental, but Debra is quick to remind him of past snubs that were all too deliberate.
18. Crazy Chin: Amy's dad embarrasses Robert when he points out his son-in-law's habit of touching food to his chin before eating it. Soon, everyone weighs in on why Robert does it. Worse still, Ray and Frank recall stories of when the annoying habit first began.
19. The Nice Talk: Amy's parents (Fred Willard, Georgia Engel) visit for Easter and everyone gets jealous when Ray and Pat bond during a late-night conversation.
20. Blabbermouths: Ray accuses Debra of gossiping about him after he learns that she revealed to Amy a dream he had. To get even, he tells Robert and Frank a juicy detail about Debra. Pretty soon, the chatty guys are swapping all sorts of secret spousal tales, and of course, the gals find out.
21. The Model: Robert is discovered by a modeling agent who believes the big guy's unique look is perfect for print ads. All of the ladies are impressed, but Ray and Frank think Robert is wasting his time.
22. The Mentor: Everyone is stunned when a man (Jason Kravits) shows up looking for Frank and recalls how Mr. Barone mentored him when the two of them worked together many years ago. Ray and Robert become upset when Frank hugs the guy and acts affectionately toward him as if he were a long-lost son. It's a thought that Marie takes to heart; she accuses Frank of being the man's father.
23. Golf For It: In the eighth-season finale, Ray and Robert argue over which of them will take care of Marie if Frank dies first. When they are unable to agree, they decide to play golf to determine who gets the duty.
Seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond prior to season four have come in full frame color. Since season four filming was shot for high-definition television and as such the video is given in anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen color. The picture quality is quite good and looks much better than previous season sets. There are minor traces of grain and slight hints of edge enhancement. There is also some minor aliasing (not a lot, but still a few scenes with it). In general colors look right on. Overall it's a nice looking picture.
The audio comes in the standard 2-channel Dolby digital stereo sound track with language options in English, Spanish, and French. The sound quality is good with distinct and clear dialogue. The track typically sounds a little flat, but that's expected with dialogue driven tracks. There is also little advantage of taken of the stereo setup, with little distinction between channels. This release also comes with subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
For extras, Everybody Loves Raymond's eighth season set comes packed with extras. They include audio commentaries for "Misery Loves Company" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tom Caltabiano, Mike Royce, and Aaron Shure, "The Contractor" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Jon Manfrellotti, "Liars" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Tucker Cawley, "The Bird" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Chris Elliott, and Jeremy Stevens, "Debra At The Lodge" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Albert Romano, and Max Rosenthal, "Lateness" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Andy Kindler, and Tom McGowan, "Crazy Chin" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Richard Romano, and Tom Caltabiano, and "Golf For It" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tom Caltabiano, Tucker Cawley, and Mike Royce.
The other extras include a "Bloopers" (12:30) and "Museum of Television & Radio Panel Discussion with Series Creator and Writers" (1:44:14). The former is a series of the cast goofing off caught on film. The latter is a long discussion with Phil Rosenthal and others about the series.
Lastly, there are twenty-three deleted scenes. They include
"Misery Loves Company" - Ray has a choice of watching the game or helping out Debra,
"Misery Loves Company" - Ray has a new use for Marie's book on marriage,
"Peter On The Couch" - Ray drives Peter and Ms, Puss home to stay with the family,
"Peter On The Couch" - The family awaits Ray's return home with Peter,
"The Surprise Party" - Debra's mother's visit provides the family with some awkward moments,
"The Surprise Party" - Debra discovers what Ray really thought about dinner,
"The Bird" - The family shares their displeasure at the prospect of celebrating Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania,
"The Bird" - Frank skips dessert in order to retire early,
"Jazz Records" - The family prepares to trim the Christmas tree,
"Lateness" - While at an affair with the fellas, Ray realizes the time,
"Party Dress" - To the dismay of Ray, Debra has seized control of the television set,
"Party Dress" - Debra justifies a rare moment of rest to Marie,
"Security" - Robert has to make some tough decisions,
"The Ingrate" - The family teases Ray about the honorary doctorate he is being awarded,
"The Ingrate" - Debra makes a point with Ray before they turn in,
"Crazy Chin" - Amy comes to grips with some of Robert's eccentricities,
"The Nice Talk" - The family prepares for company,
"The Nice Talk" - Ray, once again, outshines Robert,
"Blabbermouths" - Debra shows Amy the ropes with regard to matrimony,
"The Mentor" - Robert teases the twins,
"The Mentor" - Debra learns the true value of a hug,
"Golf For It" - Marie lays a guilt trip on Ray and Robert, and
"Golf For It" - Robert and Ray struggle to build a piece of furniture.
Everybody Loves Raymond's eighth season is exciting addition to the series. The show keeps the excitement fresh by including Amy and her neurotic McDougal family in the mix, which when combined with the Barone's make for a fantastic time. In the end, the show's eighth season continues to be a blast and will be great for fans. The DVD set is also packed with great extras.