The 5 Most (& 5 Least) Realistic Storylines

For the most part, Everybody Loves Raymond is a hilarious sitcom with storylines most viewers can find relatable. While the majority of the episodes are intended purely for comedic reasons, the show also focuses on real-life, dramatic situations that bring more heart and meaning to the show.

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On the other hand, there are some storylines that are hard to believe. They’re unrealistic and don’t make much sense. Characters might be acting differently than normal, and audiences even notice how unrealistic the episodes are. Take a look at some of the most realistic and blatantly unrealistic storylines featured on the show.

10 Realistic: When The Twins Are Held Back In Preschool

Even though identical twins look similar, they have obvious differences. On Everybody Loves Raymond, Raymond (Ray Romano) and Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton) have twin identical sons: Geoffrey and Michael (played by Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten). They seem to have similar personalities, but the season four episode “Held Back” presents a stark difference in their learning and development.

Geoffrey is ready to advance to kindergarten, but their teacher recommends for Michael to be held back one year. He’s not at the same learning and maturity level as Geoffrey, and Ray and Debra have to make a decision on what to do about their sons. Many parents have had to make a similar decision about their children’s education.

9 Unrealistic: Choosing The Kids’ Guardians

The cast of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

In the season four episode “The Will,” Ray and Debra are drafting their wills and they have to choose legal guardians for their children. They surprise everyone when they select their close friends, Bernie and Linda.

Ray and Debra don’t necessarily want to choose his overbearing parents, Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts). Ray’s older brother, Robert (Brad Garrett), is understandably upset about the decision. Realistically, Robert would be an appropriate choice for the children’s guardians. He’s an involved uncle, a protective police officer, and he’s caring. Why wouldn’t they choose Robert?

8 Realistic: The Meaning Of Life

Ray Barone (Ray Romano) and Ally (Madylin Sweeten) in "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Kids sometimes ask important questions that stump adults. In the season six episode “Talk to Your Daughter,” Ray and Debra think their oldest daughter, Ally (Madylin Sweeten), is curious about reproduction. She wants to know where babies come from.

However, they soon realize that Ally isn’t interested in knowing about reproduction, but rather the meaning of life. No one in the Barone family knows how to answer her questions. Most parents could probably relate to this situation.

7 Unrealistic: When Pat Is Caught Smoking

Pat MacDougall (Georgia Engel) in "Everybody Loves Raymond."

In the show’s seventh season, Robert finally marries his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Amy MacDougall (Monica Horan). Before the wedding, viewers are introduced to her parents, who are devout Christians. They don’t approve of Robert and the Barone family. They have completely different lifestyles.

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So, it surprises audiences in the season nine episode, “Pat’s Secret,” when it’s revealed that Amy’s mother, Pat (Georgia Engel), smokes. She has been smoking for the past 27 years. It’s a little unrealistic that her husband, Hank (Fred Willard), wouldn’t have noticed that his wife smoked for all of those years.

6 Realistic: When Debra’s Parents Split Up

Katherine Helmond and Patricia Heaton on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

In the season five episode “Separation,” Debra is shocked when she finds out that her parents, Warren and Lois Whelan (played by Robert Culp and Katherine Helmond), are splitting up. She thought her parents had a good marriage, but Ray acknowledges that maybe they had issues they kept hidden from everyone else—perhaps even from themselves.

They weren’t open about their feelings. This is a realistic storyline. Sometimes, elderly couples split up after being married for several decades. Debra is worried about her own marriage with Ray. This episode offers a realistic depiction of the ups-and-downs of marriage—at any age.

5 Unrealistic: When Marie Bakes A Tofu Turkey

Marie (Doris Roberts) and Frank (Peter Boyle) on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Marie Barone is known for her delicious cooking. As an Italian Catholic mother, she loves to cook meals for her family. This is a large part of her identity. So, it’s out-of-character for her to serve tofu turkey in the season three Thanksgiving episode, “No Fat.”

In the episode, Marie decides to try a healthier lifestyle. While this is fine, it’s unrealistic that Marie would assume her family would also like to eat tofu turkey on Thanksgiving. She is very traditional, so she would normally serve turkey on the holiday. Why would she switch on Thanksgiving of all days?

4 Realistic: Robert’s Commitment Issues

Robert (Brad Garrett) and Amy (Monica Horan) on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Throughout the nine seasons of the show, Robert has many relationship problems, especially with Amy. He’s afraid of commitment, and he usually ends relationships when it’s getting too serious. He doesn’t know what he wants.

RELATED: Everybody Loves Raymond: 5 Reasons Robert Should Have Married Stefania (& 5 Why Amy Was The Right Choice)

This is a realistic storyline because many people probably feel the same way as Robert. It’s common for people to have commitment issues and to feel uneasy about their romantic relationships. Robert isn’t alone with these feelings.

3 Unrealistic: Ray’s Near-Fatal Surgery

The series finale of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

In the series finale, Ray undergoes surgery to remove his adenoids. It’s a routine surgery, and no one in the Barone family (excerpt for Marie) is concerned. However, during the operation, a nurse announces to Debra that the surgeons are having problems waking Ray up out of the anesthesia.

It’s not uncommon for this to occur during an operation, but it’s unrealistic for an emergency room nurse to tell a patient’s family about the complication as it is happening. As soon as the family reacts to the news, the surgeon says that Ray is fine. The nurse wouldn’t worry Ray’s family until the surgical staff knew more about Ray’s condition.

2 Realistic: Debra’s Complicated Relationship With Marie

Debra (Patricia Heaton) and Marie (Doris Roberts) on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

There are many complicated relationships featured on Everybody Loves Raymond, including between Frank and Marie, Ray and Robert, and Debra and Marie. As the show presents, Marie isn’t the most pleasant mother-in-law in the world. She’s highly critical of Debra’s cooking and household chores. She’s overbearing and Debra can never have any peace and quiet in her home.

It would be exhausting for anyone to have a mother-in-law like that. The frustrating relationship between Debra and Marie is one of the most realistic (and interesting) storylines on the show. Not everyone gets along with their mother-in-law. Many viewers could easily relate to the situation.

1 Unrealistic: Debra’s Fired From Her PR Job

Debra (Patricia Heaton) on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

In the season three episode “Working Girl,” Debra gets a part-time job working at a PR firm. However, she’s terrible at her job. For example, she pitches a pizza advertisement about a character named “Professor Pete Za.” It’s embarrassing and she’s fired after working for just a few hours.

This storyline is inconsistent with Debra’s backstory. When she met and first dated Ray, she worked in PR for the New York Rangers hockey team. If Debra had a background in PR, she should have performed better at her part-time job. She had plenty of experience at the job. It’s unrealistic for her to perform so poorly.

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Updated: December 6, 2020 — 1:00 am

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