Airing from 1996 to 2005, the CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond has stood the test of time as one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. Featuring a larger than life cast of characters and seemingly endless comedic talent, the series produced over 200 episodes in its depiction of the bizarre and loud Barone family and the many zany adventures they got into.
The series' handling of family dynamics and the uncomfortable closeness that comes with being in a loud, overly close Italian family continue to be all too relatable even over two decades after the series premiered. But with changing social beliefs and education to diversity increasing over time, some of the series' tried and true formulas for jokes definitely wouldn't make it to air in a series airing today.
10 Frank's racist remarks
As the patriarch of the Barone family, Peter Boyle's Frank Barone is one of the loudest and most opinionated members of the series. He positions himself as a fountain of wisdom and experience after all that he has lived through. But what he refers to more often than not is the time he served during the Korean War.
But all of Frank's comments about his time in Korea are deeply steeped in incredibly racist language, insensitive to Korean culture.
9 Marie's embarrassing sexuality interrogation
Everybody may love Raymond, but everybody really loves picking at poor older brother, Robert. Never quite successful in the love department, Robert finds himself the subject of scrutiny and mockery alike by all members of his family. But more than any other Barone family member, matriarch Marie almost delights in trying to understand the failures and foibles of her son's romantic life.
Marie likes to blame Robert's inability to form a relationship with a woman on her perception that he is, therefore, homosexual. But whenever she discusses this possibility, it's never in any understanding and meaningful way. Instead, it's an almost mocking accusation, such as when she tells him, "I just want you to once and for all say it to me. That you’re homosexual. You’ll feel better."
8 Frank's caveman-like sexism
Frank Barone might be the patriarch and ostensible leader of the Barone clan, but his many years of life and experience have hardly made him kinder and wiser in any way. If anything, his age and experience have only made him more insensitive, cruel, and downright clueless in many ways.
One area where Frank definitely shows his age and obliviousness is in the area of gender relations. Almost every time Frank opens his mouth, he manages to be a sexist pig, offending people left and right all without even thinking about what he's saying. Take, for example, this particular gem: "God made man to sew his seed where he may. He made woman to limit the crop to one farmer." There's nothing we can say to make this one funny.
7 Even more sexism from Frank, with bonus mental health insults
As we've just explored, Frank Barone is hardly an expert on gender dynamics. But he's apparently just as bad when it comes to matters of mental health, too.
Frank: You see, son, when your mother got pregnant with Robert, the hormones turned her into a nut case. She'd cry for no reason. Two seconds later, she'd want to cuddle. She was, like, demented.
Marie: That's not true!
Frank: You were always grabbing at me!
Marie: I was pregnant with a 14-pound baby! I needed help getting up!
Frank: Nonetheless, did it bother me? No! Because you cannot get upset with a crazy person! I decided from that day on never to waste time trying to understand your mother. I just accept that she's insane!
Frank's mockery of Marie and his many sleights at her expense continue all throughout the series, and unfortunately, so does his failure to understand matters of mental health. Even years later, when presented with the opportunity to attend therapy with his sons, Frank spends the entire episode making fun of mental health altogether.
6 Robert's transphobic comments
Considering when Everybody Loves Raymond was airing, it's understandable, on the one hand, that the series didn't really know how to handle matters relating to the LGBTQ+ community. But that doesn't make any of the series' numerous fumbles any easier to handle or explain away.
Take, for example, this particularly offensive joke that older brother Robert makes about his work on the police force: "Most of the women I talk to are in handcuffs. And then half of them turn out to be men." Ignoring the clear discomfort that is created by the first gendered power dynamic line, the second line elevates Robert's tasteless remark to another uncomfortable level, by taking a crass shot at potentially transgender individuals.
5 Offending African Americans and Italians in one fell swoop
The episode "Robert's Date" is widely regarded as one of the funniest episodes of the entire series. Robert, always struggling to find his place in this world, finds himself taken under the wing of his partner, Judy. As a result, he winds up frequenting the popular dance clubs that Judy goes to, and, as a result, becomes a bit more "ethnic."
The episode itself is mostly harmless, until Robert starts leaning into stereotypes and speaking almost in Ebonics. But the episode manages to offend two cultures all at once when Ray makes the remark that "We're Italian, Robert. 'Whack' means something else to us" - both equating Italians with the mafia, and mocking slang all at once.
4 Baby Hitler
It's a commonly held belief that tragedy plus time equals comedy. But even if that might be true for some comedians and some specific topics, it's still pretty hard to explain away the series' decision to make a Hitler joke featuring an infant. World War II is pretty difficult to make jokes about without running into clearly offensive territory.
In its fourth ever episode, Everybody Loves Raymond has Ally draw a Sharpie mustache on one of her little brothers that winds up looking like a Hitler mustache. So Frank, picking up on that, decides to run with it when he asks, "Can Hitler have a juicebox?" So much cringe.
3 Ray's homophobic joke at Robert's expense
It's natural for brothers to make fun of each other. The entirety of Ray and Robert's relationship consists of them insulting each other, making fun of each other whenever they can, and relishing in each other's humiliation - with the occasional sweet moments mixed in along the way.
But arguably one of the most tasteless moments of this kind of behavior comes at the end of the series' iconic "Ping Pong" episode. When Robert and Ray start to play a game of ping pong opposite each other, they quickly start trash talking each other the way their father always did whenever playing the game with them. But Ray stoops to a particularly low level when he throws this insult in Robert's face: "Zero serving zero - you experimented in camp," clearly implying Robert's past sexuality questioning and hurting him in the process.
2 The entire Bad Moon Rising episode
We've already shown that Everybody Loves Raymond doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to being impartial in the area of gender relationships. But no episode makes that case more clearly, and more offensively, than the otherwise highly regarded episode "Bad Moon Rising."
The entire punch line of this episode is the fact that Ray refuses to understand what Debra is feeling when she is going through her period. Furthermore, he believes that a single pill can fix all of Debra's mood swings and pains. He is routinely shown to be clueless, but, in the end, sympathetic, and Debra is made out to look like an unhinged madwoman, instead of a woman going through a painful monthly ritual.
1 Frank's rampant homophobia
It's pretty obvious by now that Everybody Loves Raymond is not a series that you can turn to for advice on matters of race, gender, sexuality, and much more. It's even clearer that no such kind of advice should ever be taken from Frank Barone in particular. But while Frank has made plenty of off color "jokes" over the years, the most pervasive of these behaviors comes in the form of his constant use of homophobic insults.
Frank often refers to his sons as Nancy, or Mary, or Sally, or various other feminine names, all while wagging his pinkie finger and clearly insinuating they are homosexual and, in his eyes, less of men because of that. Raymond even calls him out on this one time, noting that doing this is "not nice to gay people." Frank, seems, momentarily conciliatory, apologizing for his behavior... until he calls Raymond "Mary." Frank's understanding of gender and sexuality clearly leaves a lot to be desired, and clearly will never change in any way.