Everybody Loves Raymond
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WHY DOES EVERYBODY LOVE RAYMOND?
Why doesnt everyone hate Raymond? Hes a mamas boy, lazy, and not very attractive. One would wonder why anybody in their right mind would give a guy like this his own television series. Using a couple of Kenneth Burkes theories, cause-to-effect reasoning, and cognitive dissonance theory, I will find out just why people cant get enough of the show Everybody Loves Raymond.
Using Kenneth Burkes approach to language use, we find that the show makes a very strong attempt to connect with its audience members. Burke believes that the sharing of an identity is equivalent to persuasion. “Persuaders create identification by referring to shared substances–preferred beliefs, lifestyles, and values” (Larson, 2001). With this is mind it is quite apparent that Everybody Loves Raymond is trying to identify middleclass families who live in the suburbs.
There are many examples of Burkes theory at work in the show too many to list them all. I have decided to focus on two of these examples. The first is the strong family values that are presented in the show. The way the show is presented actually gives audiences different styles of families so that the audience has more of an opportunity to find something they would recognize in their own family. Raymond and Debra are a middle-aged married couple who represent a more modern nuclear family where the husband helps around the house and the wife handles finances. The idea is that either member does what theyre good at to help out the family. Marie and Frank are Rays parents who live across the street. They represent a more old-fashioned couple. Marie cooks and Frank eats and complains. Aside from their differences both family styles are very loving as well as very relatable.
Along with the values, the lifestyles the characters lead are actually quite relatable. Again, there are differences among the characters in order to appeal to a wider range of people, as well as make the show not monotonous. The way Raymond lives his life is he works hard all day, and then comes home to his family. When he gets home he just wants to relax, but is always being asks to help with the kids or clean. Raymond is very laid back, and is pretty crafty when it comes to getting out of those tight situations. Actually he usually just goes to his mom. Debra is a stay at home mom who works hard to keep the house clean, raise the kids, and cook dinner. She is undermined by Rays mother, who believes that she doesnt do a good job cooking or cleaning. Marie is a perfectionist. When she makes a mistake she can never admit it, and she also does her best to make sure no one finds out about it. Frank has the easy life. He pretty much just eats and complains. Robert is underappreciated, and often times ignored. He is jealous of his younger brother Raymond because everybody loves Raymond. Most members of the audience can most likely see pieces of themselves in all the characters. However, they will most likely find one they feel is most like them.
Kenneth Burke also had another theoretical idea know as dramatism. This is the idea that there are five elements which create drama: scene, act, purpose, agent, and agency. Using these elements, people can create high drama or high comedy. For anyone who has seen Everybody Loves Raymond they probably already know that the show is aimed at creating comedy as opposed to drama. Most of the comedy created in the show uses an agent-act ratio. This means that the characters dont act as we would expect them to. Frank and Marie, who have been married for 50 years, are constantly shouting about how much they hate each other. It is, in fact, extremely rare that they are seen getting along. This is not what an audience would expect from a couple married for such a long time. The end results are some very hilarious situations and conversations. In fact, in the episode I just watched Frank was very kind and loving which is very odd for him, but what wed expect from a grandfather. Of course, this was due to the fact he had a painkiller IV in his arm, which was making him act this way.
In the particular episode I watched there was a lot of cause-to-effect reasoning. The idea behind this is that the actions people take influence the happenings of something or someone. The first cause is that Ray and Debra fall off the bed while having sex. The effect is that Debra hurts her shoulder and Ray hurts his wrist. The next day Rays father asks how he hurt his wrist. Ray lies to him and tells him he fell