I hate Ray Barone (Ray Romano), the titular character in Everybody Loves Raymond. And his wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) was too good for him. There, I said it.

“Why did this thought suddenly enter your mind, Isabella?” you may be thinking. The answer, dear reader, is I don’t know. It just appeared to me in a vision one night and I felt a deep, powerful urge to write about how annoying Ray was.

“Isn’t Everybody Loves Raymond a rogue choice of sitcom to have beef with in 2022?” you may also be wondering. It is, but I don’t care.

Everybody Loves Raymond made its television debut in 1996, which is also the year I made my life debut. As I grew up, I began watching the show with my Italian mother as we found it relatable. I feel extremely cringe saying we identified with Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts), the overbearing, passive-aggressive, controlling yet caring in-laws, and the whole “mamma’s boy” complex Ray had going on. But alas, we did.

At one point I became so fond of the show, I convinced my Mum to buy the complete box set from JB Hi-Fi.

All the opening themes live rent free in my mind, as does the ongoing bit Marie had with Debra about her shithouse lemon chicken. I would go as far as saying I can roughly tell which season clips are from based on what Debra’s hair looks like.

But most importantly, I remember how much of a fucking buffoon Ray Barone was.

All that man did was whinge and moan in his nasal-ass voice about wanting sex and absolving himself of any domestic responsibilities. I understand the bloke can’t control his vocal cords, but you also can’t tell me that his excuses, moronic musings and horny requests weren’t made worse ‘cos of the despondent droll they were delivered in.

Mans was so lazy that when Debra decided to run for school president, he voted for her opponent — whom Ray hated, let the record show — because he was scared if she got the gig, she wouldn’t be at home to cook, clean and look after the kids.

Any school would be lucky to have someone as capable and clever as Debra as its president, yet Ray denied them the opportunity ‘cos he just didn’t want to pick up a mop or parent his children.

And who could forget that episode when Debra had hella bad PMS and Ray, mid-argument, played her a tape he’d recorded from when she was complaining about the house being dirty? Like, could this MF be any pettier?

While all of this is bad, arguably the worst thing Ray ever did in Everybody Loves Raymond was when he taped a football game over his and Debra’s wedding video. Grounds for divorce, I say.

Yes, the whole point of the show was that Ray was a bumbling, idiotic fool and Debra was stressed, tired and cranky because she was lumbered with literally every single responsibility. She also had to put up with Marie constantly degrading her, which would send anyone balls to the wall.

I’m not saying Ray didn’t love and care about Debra, ‘cos he did. He showed sweet moments, like when he tried to arrange a vow renewal ceremony so that it could be taped.

But the point stands that he was a slovenly, self-centred schlub who didn’t appreciate just how damn patient and generous his wife was. Justice for Debra Barone.

Image: Everybody Loves Raymond / CBS Television Distribution / CBS