Everybody Loves Raymond: 5 Best Running Gags (& 5 That Were Annoying)

Everybody Loves Raymond had some great running gags but from time to time some of them could just get annoying for fans.

CBS’ hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond has kept fans laughing for several seasons thanks to its wacky premises and the zany Barone family as well as their friends. With a whopping nine-season run and a delightful sense of humor, Philip Rosenthal’s comedy is full of humorous running gags.

These moments can sever to generate yuks, especially for longtime viewers of the show who recognize the callbacks. Catchphrases, character quirks, and reoccurring scenarios can help give a sitcom an identity and provide a sort of humorous throughline fans can rely on. Yet, there are also a handful of these bits that, for one reason or another, tend to be irritating for certain fans.

10Annoying: Fruit Of The Month Club

Ray’s difficult parents clearly aren’t great about accepting gifts with gratitude or appreciation. Not only do they end up returning a specialized engraved toaster from Ray for Christmas, but they’re horrified by the idea of being enrolled in the Fruit of the Month Club.

This irritating gag is set up right from the outset, as it’s featured in the very first episode of the series. Why they can’t simply cancel the membership is anyone’s guess, but Marie and Frank are apparently stuck for an entire year. This prompts them to complain and essentially throw fits over the monthly arrival of free fruit – until it’s eventually canceled.

9Funny: Robert Touching Food To His Chin

A defining feature of Ray’s brother is his distinct array of quirks and ticks. One of the most prominent is his knack for touching food to his chin before eating it. Most of the time this subtle action isn’t even acknowledged which makes it all the more interesting and funny. Apparently, this tick is so ingrained that he once tries to stop doing this when eating – only to violently kick food off a table.

The origins of this habit do finally reveal themselves in the fan-favorite episode “Crazy Chin,” which flashes back to Robert’s youth. As it happens, the habit stems from jealousy, as he would always watch his mother touch food to Ray‘s chin before feeding him, in the form of a vague airplane impression.

8Annoying: Garvin Cheering When Ray Shows Up

Frank’s friends provide some laugh-out-loud moments, at least in the few scenes they’re featured in. Still, one of his lodge buddies lapses into a rather annoying habit that involves him throwing his arms in the air and cheering every time Ray shows up.

His jovial proclamation that “Ray’s here!” which is followed by a satisfied laugh, is clearly meant to tie in with the title of the show itself. Still, it’s a pretty simple, goofy gag that many fans could likely do without.

7Funny: “Holy Crap”

Catchphrases can be hit or miss, depending on the context, delivery, and how often they’re used. And while Frank’s “holy crap!” exclamation is used liberally, it’s hard not to chuckle at least a bit when he says it.

Whether he’s fallen through a collapsed staircase, looking at a suggestive sculpture, or reacting to a great gift from Ray, this simple reaction always seems to work – and usually manages to be funny. It’s one of those memorable character-defining traits that fans remember him for.

6Annoying: Debra Calling Ray An Idiot

Ray has more than his share of dense, dimwitted moments in Everybody Loves Raymond. Something like, say, taping over a wedding video can certainly be deemed an idiotic move, to say the least.

Regardless, Debra’s frequent one-word disses to Ray don’t do much from a comedic standpoint. Rather than being endearing or funny, they usually just ring mean spirited and pointless.

5Funny: Debra’s Lack Of Cooking Skills

Most fans would agree that the Barone family has their share of odd quirks and flaws – but that’s part of what makes them humorous and likable. When it comes to Debra though, she often exudes an air of grounded normalcy and even superiority over most of the others. This makes the allusions to her poor cooking skills all the more amusing, in a sense. Not only does it set the stage for some funny banter and awkward moments, but it also gives her a more humble, humanistic quality.

Still, at least she can make a mean lemon chicken – as well as braciole.

4Annoying: Frank’s Homophobia

Frank has a cruel, no-nonsense demeanor, which, more often than not, makes him one of the more humorous characters and a favorite among fans. This overly masculine attitude can provide some yuks, though it also leads him to speak his share of homophobic remarks. On several occasions, he’s expressed a “concern” in various male characters in the show, including Ray, Robert, and even Ray’s young children.

It’s one of his harsher, more immature, traits and tends to reveal a more repellent side of his character. It’s these instances where he crosses that line from amusingly brutish to just aggravating.

3Funny: Ray’s Flubbing And Naivety Of Big Words

Despite being a writer, vocabulary and pronunciation aren’t exactly Ray’s strong suits. Ray mocks Debra for her use of her “big words,” – which aren’t particularly big at all – confuses subconscious and unconscious, and draws a blank on terms like “cathartic.”

Some of his funnier moments are when he occasionally stumbles on the pronunciation of a certain word – such as “cinnamon” and “asterisk.” The episode “Ray’s on TV” features a funny – and uncomfortable – bout on a sports talk show in which his nerves cause him to fidget and confuse “adopt” for “adapt.” As Frank so delicately puts it – “I could have eaten a box of Alpha-Bits and crapped a better interview.”

2Annoying: Marie’s Constant Belittlement Of Debra

The rivalry between Debra and Marie makes for some funny moments, though Marie’s constant jabs at Debra tend to get a bit old after several seasons. Marie prides herself on her cooking and cleaning – two areas in which Debra apparently doesn’t thrive. Thus, she’s not shy about making subtle – and some not-so-subtle – disses in these areas. She’ll even go as far as criticizing the ice in her freezer.

What’s more irritating is that Ray rarely stands up for his wife in these rather tense moments.

1Funny: Ray And Robert’s Rivalry

The character dynamics and chemistry of Raymond is really where much of the show’s humor can be traced. This is especially the case when it comes to Ray and Robert, who maintain a sort of love-hate rivalry throughout the series.

It’s hard not to be amused by Robert’s blatant schadenfreude at his brother’s misfortune. And it’s similarly funny when Ray pokes fun at his uptight, quirky brother, who’s often mopey and down on his luck. It’s an endearing and humorous sibling rivalry that many can relate to in some form – just taken to the nth degree.

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