Everybody Loves Raymond is still considered a top sitcom despite airing its last episode in 2005. Cast members Ray Romano (Ray Barone), Patricia Heaton (Debra Barone), Brad Garrett (Robert Barone), Doris Roberts (Marie Barone), and Peter Boyle (Frank Barone) became household names thanks to the TV comedy’s nine-season run.
With Romano and show creator Phil Rosenthal often taking events from their own lives as material for the show, one outlandish storyline involving Robert’s new love interest was based on a real life date.
Robert Barone is based on Ray Romano’s brother
Romano and Rosenthal often created content for the show by using their own personal stories as well as some from the writing team.
“That was where we started with, based on all the characters in my life and kind of a situation I was living,” Romano said in a 2002 interview on Larry King Live. “But it’s a combination. Phil Rosenthal, our executive producer, it’s his parents also. And every writer – we have 10 great writers, and every one of them brings something from their life.”
Romano had a specific type in mind for casting Ray Barone’s brother Robert, a character based on his real-life sibling Richard, a New York police officer. Due to Brad Garrett’s stellar comedic performance, CBS gave him the role despite being almost a foot taller than Richard.
“They said we think we’re going to go with Brad Garrett,” Romano recalled. “And this was based on my brother in real life, who is about 5’10”.
‘She’s the One’
In season 7, Everybody Loves Raymond featured an episode entitled “She’s the One” where Robert thinks he may have met Ms. Right. Pretty, smart, funny, and kind, Angela (Elizabeth Bogush) appears to have serious potential as a mate. Yet when Robert brings her to meet his family, Ray happens to see Angela eat a fly.
When Ray tells Robert what he saw, Robert thinks his brother is lying out of jealousy. He angrily leaves Ray’s house with Angela, and the couple heads back to her apartment to continue their date.
At Angela’s place, things begin to get romantic for the pair. Angela tells Robert she’s going to freshen up and to meet her in her bedroom. Once Robert goes into the bedroom and turns on the light, he sees the room filled with aquariums, with frogs in each one. Adding to the amphibian-themed decor, there are pictures, paintings, and stuffed animals of frogs adorning the room.
Realizing that Ray was telling the truth, Robert wants to escape and decides to leave via the window. When Angela catches him as he’s making his hasty departure, he simply says, “Goodbye,” and exits.
‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ script made one change
According to Rosenthal’s book You’re Lucky You’re Funny, this hard-to-believe interaction actually took place. Except Rosenthal decided to use reptiles in the scene.
“It happened to Ray’s brother, and it was worse than what we did on the show,” Rosenthal revealed. “In real life, they weren’t frogs, they were snakes.”
Rosenthal went on to describe the sequence of events that were a bit different than what ended up on camera, but they were close.
“Ray’s brother picked up a girl in a bar, went back to her apartment, and the room was filled with snakes,” Rosenthal wrote. “Then he went into her bathroom because he was freaking out. The bathroom was filled with occult and witchcraft stuff, and so he went out the window. And he’s a policeman. That’s how scared he was.”
Making the change from snakes to frogs evolved in the writer’s room. “Ray came up with, ‘What if I see her eat a fly?’” Rosenthal recalled of creating the script. “Then we filled her room with frogs to tie that in. Insane, but you know what? People have done stranger things.”
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