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HBO presents
Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Second Season (1997-98)

Debra: Look, all I'm saying is that, y'know, given everything that I do around here, why do I care so much that I can't make spaghetti and meatballs for my husband as good as his mother?
Ray: Because...because you're a good wife.
Debra: Don't you ever, ever call me that again.

- Patricia Heaton, Ray Romano

Review By: Nate Meyers  
Published: December 21, 2004

Stars: Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle
Other Stars: Madylin Sweeten, Sawyer Sweeten, Sullivan Sweeten, Monica Horan, Kevin James, Andy Kindler, Roy Firestone, James Worthy, Linda Kash, Phil Leeds, Daniel Hansen, Ethan Glazer, Dave Attell, Pat O'Brien, John Lee, Bob Odenkirk, Pamela Bowen, Brian Poseha, Marty Rackman, Maggie Wheeler, Jon Manfrellotti, Kristen Truckress, John F. O'Donohue, Argentine Brunetti, Stella Farentino, Tina Arnin, Joseph V. Derry, Sherri Shepherd, Susan Varon, Dan Castellaneta, Jenny Buchanan, Robert Culp, Katherine Helmond, Charles Durning, Fred Stoller, Al Romano, Michael Duddie
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild sexual references, brief scene of a robbery)
Run Time: 09h:29m:57s
Release Date: December 14, 2004
UPC: 026359237027
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B A-C+B- D+

DVD Review

Ray Barone must have the best life in the entire world. He works as a sports writer, has a beautiful and loving wife, three healthy children, a brother that (despite some bitterness) looks up to him, and his parents live across the street. Well, come to think of it, if this was a real person's life it would be rather treacherous. Fortunately for Ray, however, he is the lead character in the immensely popular Everybody Loves Raymond.

Yes, there are many who thumb their nose at this show. Certainly it lacks the daring and innovative storylines of Seinfeld and has none of the creativity found on many shows that were cancelled far too soon (Herman's Head and Andy Richter Saves the Universe). However, fifty years from now Everybody Loves Raymond will be looked at like The Honeymooners. The basic structure is the same—the techniques employed to tell the stories have been in use since sitcom came into existence. Yet it's good, wholesome entertainment that children, adolescents, and adults can enjoy.

In an age of trendy shows about little more than consequence-free sex, Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Second Season chose to devote itself to family. The season premiere features Ray (played by Ray Romano, who appears to be doing little more than playing himself) getting the opportunity of a lifetime: he gets to be a guest on a sports show. Despite a miserable performance (he misspeaks and scratches at his microphone), he's granted enthusiastic praise from his loved ones. However, things turn sour when his loving wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton), gives him a few pointers for future television appearances. Ray's ego is shattered, as he learns that all of his life he's been lied to by his family. But there's a silver lining at the end of the episode, which means that the 20+ minute show gives plenty of laughs and a nice lesson for everybody to enjoy.

The second season is when the writers and actors really began to find the characters and kick the humor into high gear. What is largely considered to be the show's first classic episode, The Letter, is found here. In it, Debra sends an angry letter to Ray's mom, Marie (Doris Roberts), after Marie disrupts Debra's Tupperware party. It's a classic portrayal of a spouse's relationship with the in-laws and even manages to conclude with a hilarious display of how women and men approach conflict differently. There are many other fine stories to be found in the second season, such as The Checkbook. Ray makes the mistake of assuming he can handle the family's finances and winds up messing everything up, causing him to seek a loan from his brother, Robert (Brad Garrett). By the time the episode ends, Ray has learned the importance of Debra's role in the family and comes to the realization that, truth be told, she's the head of the household.

The best parts of this season relate to Robert. As the show continued on, Patricia Heaton's Debra became the highlight of the cast, but during the early years that title belonged to the Brad Garrett for his inspired performance as Ray's older brother. Robert is jealous of Ray because their parents favored him, and Ray's continued success only eggs him on. The highlight of the season is Brother, in which Robert is sulking on the anniversary of his divorce. Ray helps him out by going to the movies with him, and the way the two interact is genuine and, ultimately, quite emotional. Another fine examination of their relationship can be found in The Ride-Along, where Ray learns how dangerous Robert's job as a police officer is.

Are any of these episodes sensational or surprising? No, but they provide wonderful humor that a family can gather around to appreciate. Debra is a marvelous wife and loving mother. Marie is a well-intended, but infuriating parasite. Robert is a caring, even if reluctantly so, brother and devoted son. And Ray, at the center of it all, is a great straight man for everybody to love.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The image transfer preserves the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1. There are plenty of instances of compression artifacts, but not enough to distract. Colors are solid and edge enhancement is non-existent. The image is slightly sharper than the syndicated re-runs, but as a whole is not significantly better.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Stereo 2.0 mix is very dull, without any sound separation at all. It defaults to Pro Logic, but the surround speakers don't get any noticeable workout. Dialogue is crisp and easily understood, which is the most important thing for a show like this.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 90 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
13 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal
Packaging: Book Gatefold
Picture Disc
5 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Blooper Reel—a collection of bloopers by the cast during the second season.
Extras Review: There aren't many extras on this set. However, Ray Romano and series co-creator Phil Rosenthal sit down to do commentaries on The Letter and Good Girls. In addition to the commentaries, there are 13 deleted scenes from a variety of second season episodes (14m:07s total). Nearly every scene is less than a minute in length and was wisely cut from the show, but the continuation of a scene in Brother is sorely missed in the final cut. There's also a Blooper Reel (16m:47s) that mixes up alternate takes, foreign language tracks, and people forgetting their lines for a few laughs. The closing portion of the reel is a montage of behind-the-scenes footage in the writer's room and on the set, in which people are seen dancing to Funky Town.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Second Season is a nice set of one of the better shows on TV today. It doesn't have much in way of extras and the presentation isn't fancy, but the show's humor and good nature remain intact for all to enjoy.


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