Thinking about a wonderful television show.
Everybody Loves Raymond was the first American television show that my family truly fell in love with collectively. It was an Italian-American family who might as well have been an Indian family living in India. The same frustrations, the same jealousies, the same crotchetiness. It was perhaps the first time on TV, we saw a representation of ourselves on TV. The only difference — people looked Italians. I could easily see a lot of Robert, or Frank, or Ray, or Debra, in the people that I had met. But, no character could come as close to the Indian counterpart as Marie. The mother-in-law. The grandmother. The overbearing mother. I mean it was right out of the Indian playbook.
It was uncanny the similarities between people who were raised in completely different parts of the world to produce that same character that was strong, sometimes slightly manipulating, using guilt to the nth degree, disliking any woman that came into their son’s lives, and also with a tendency of solving every problem with food. And perhaps the most important, not taking any shit from their husbands in an era where women were brought up to do so. Raising their children to have higher aspirations than the war-stricken time that affected their own aspirations. I saw a lot of Marie in both my grandmothers. And to know that that character was a composite of the Italian and the Jewish grandmother, it just made a new immigrant feel that well things may just be not as bad. People are essentially similar. Their hopes are similar. Their dreams are similar.
Anyhow, to know that our favorite TV mother-in-law/grandmother passed away just brought back those amazing memories of tuning into TBS to start with Seinfeld on 6:30, and then watching a double dose of Raymond every day from 7–8pm. RIP Doris Roberts.