Everybody Loves Raymond is an American television sitcom starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle, Madylin Sweeten, and Monica Horan. It ran on CBS from September 13, 1996 to May 16, 2005. Many of the situations from the show are inspired by the real-life experiences of Romano, creator/producer Phil Rosenthal, and the show's writing staff. The main characters on the show are loosely based on Romano and Rosenthal's real-life family members.
The show revolves around the life of Italian-American Raymond Barone, a sportswriter for "Newsday" living with his family in Long Island. Whiny and flippant, Raymond does not take many things seriously, making jokes in nearly every situation, no matter how troubling or problematic. He often avoids responsibilities around the house and with his kids, leaving this to his wife Debra.
Raymond and Debra live with their daughter Ally (which is a nickname – her real name is Alexandra) and twin sons Michael and Geoffrey (originally Matthew and Gregory in the pilot). The Barone children are regular characters but not a major focus. Raymond's parents, Marie and Frank, and older brother Robert live together across the street (although later in the series, Robert has his own apartment), and frequently make their presence known to the frustration of Raymond and Debra; Debra's frequent complaints about Raymond's family are a running joke. Out of the three unwanted visitors, Debra is particularly put off by Marie – an insulting, controlling and manipulative, though ultimately loving woman, who constantly criticizes Debra and coddles Ray, clearly favoring him over Robert, whose impending birth drove her into marriage (a fact revealed in the episode "Good Girls").
Raymond often winds up squarely in the middle of all the problems and arguments and proves himself incapable of taking any sort of stand, especially if there is the chance that it will bring his mother's wrath down upon him. His biggest nemesis is his insecure brother Robert (as well as Peggy), who is jealous of Raymond's position as favorite son, as well as the relative success Raymond has realized in both his professional and family life. Robert and Raymond frequently fight like children and focus much of their energy on picking on each other, although they on occasion have been shown to love one another.
Raymond and Robert's father, Frank, is a boorish and obnoxious person, constantly making insulting and sarcastic remarks to everyone with whom he comes into contact. Largely an absentee father when the boys were growing up, Frank does not like to show his feelings, although in an effort to make the character a bit more sympathetic throughout the years, several episodes were crafted to show that he actually does love his family. Frank is the only one who has the nerve to criticize Marie and often comes to Debra's defense following Marie's jibes.
Raymond and Debra constantly have marital disagreements, with Raymond's preferring to watch sports television instead of talking with Debra about important matters. Like his father, Raymond works full-time, leaving all the child-rearing responsibilities to Debra, and he has to be bullied into helping with any work around the house. A recurring theme on the show has them having a long interaction each night while in bed before going to sleep.