And we start the Debra-less episodes. I don’t blame Patricia Heaton of course, but fact is her absences hurt the show. Thank goodness the show survived, but before it would we need to slog through the next six episodes. The good news is that these were all on one disc, which mean we can get this over with in one article. So yeah don’t be surprised if there isn’t much high praise in this one folks.
Season 3, Episode 13
Plot Summary-Ray is determined to beat his father at ping pong
Nitpick of the episode- So Ray found out that Frank lied to him about the ball back in season one and in an episode of Cosby found out he lied to him about his old high school days. Why does the whole ping pong lie bother him so much? Why Ray really that proud that he beat his father?
Best Line-“Zero serving zero. Ray can kiss my rearo”…Frank
Episode Fun Fact –If you get the DVD there is a blooper from this episode where we see just how pregnant Patricia Heaton was at this time. No wonder she had to be covered in a blanket.
Syndication Edit-teaser, Ray is happy to be traveling (I love the huge blanket Debra is wearing!)
Best Character-Frank, Peter Boyle once again takes something that would make another person a jerk and actually makes it charming.
Worst Character-Ray, suck it up you’re an adult now
Final Thoughts-I’ll probably says this a lot this time, but I’m not sure how to feel about this episode. It feels like the same idea from “The Ball”, only with ping pong this time. Sometimes I think Marie and Frank’s basement is a magic one with all the things that appear and disappear. In this episode a ping pong table that wasn’t there before and will never be there again. The episode isn’t god awful but it also isn’t the best either.
Season 3, Episode 14
Pants on Fire
Plot Summary-Marie is upset to find out Ray rebelled as a teenager
Nitpick of the episode-at the top of the episode Ray is sitting at his parents’ house hanging out rather than them over his house, which never happens. I’m sure Debra must be thrilled Ray isn’t at their house helping with the kids. I mean couldn’t they have at least given a reason, like maybe Debra took the kids somewhere?
Best Line-“I for one am shocked and disappointed”…Robert
Episode Fun Fact –
Deleted Scenes-Ray tries to have sex the next day, and fails
Syndication Edit-part of the teaser, you almost agree with Robert at times like when Marie and Frank explain he didn’t have a 1st birthday party but Ray did.
Best Character-Robert, its fun watching him be the center of attention-for a few minutes anyway.
Worst Character-Marie, I can buy her being upset why did she stay upset? she didn’t flinch at finding out what Ray did in his old make out mobile and she finds out other things later on that doesn’t bother her that much, and a few episodes ago she was mad at Ray and got over it, why does this get her so upset?? At least when Marie is mad at Debra in a later episode they are equally mad at each other.
Final Thoughts-And we get to the problem with this batch of episodes. With no Debra every episode was about Ray and his family. Which isn’t what the show is supposed to be about. Last one was his father, this time it’s his mother. And it’s stupid. Marie never liked Ray because he was a good boy? Huh, did I miss when that was established? Not only does she stay mad at Ray but the reason she changes her mind makes no sense. Robert asks Marie if she would have been mad if it had been his party instead, and she jumps on the bandwagon thinking Ray was covering for Robert. Even though Robert clearly didn’t say that! How does that excuse what Ray did at the party? Or does Marie think Robert did everything Ray described? Why would ray do that? Whatever, it’s stupid. This would have made a great Brady Bunch episode but it’s wrong on ELR.
Season 3, Episode 15
Plot Summary-Robert starts hanging out with his partner Judy
Nitpick of the episode-Why does Robert get so carried away?
Best Line-“We’re Italian, Robert. “Whack” means something else to us.” (yeah I know I complained about the mafia joke in another episode but this one isn’t so bad)
Episode Fun Fact –
Deleted Scenes-Robert has dinner with Ray and Debra (and takes all the food). I wish they’d put these scenes back in the episode the same way the “Friends” DVD’s did.
Best Character-Robert, he’s funny
Worst Character-Judy, why is it so hard for her tell Robert to chill out?
Final Thoughts-This is a decent Robert episode, we never really see him get out or anything. The only episode in this bunch where Debra doesn’t feel missed. Robert is funny and I like the scene with Ray and Robert in the restaurant. The one good episode this week, savor it.
Grade-A, nice break from the episodes here since we make the focus on Robert
Season 3, Episode 16
Plot Summary-Ray and Robert have to make a tribute for Frank
Nitpick of the episode-Frank really had no idea his buddies in the lodge felt that way? Later on he’s proud that he’s “the tough guy”. And if Robert and ray couldn’t get anyone to say anything nice why didn’t they scratch the video tribute for something else?
Best Line-“And what’s with Correlli saying he likes me hot with marshmallows?”
Episode Fun Fact –Patricia Heaton was pregnant of course hence her one brief scene covered by a blanket for no reason
Syndication Edit-Robert and ray enter the lodge
Best Character-Ray and Robert because their scenes are the only good part of the episode
Worst Character-Frank, his caring what everyone thinks is out of character. And is it really that hard for him to compliment Marie? Sometimes the writers forget they do like each other, deep down. Why can’t he say “I love your food” or something? Heck, lie! She’s right he can’t asks her to give him praise and then not expect the return
Final Thoughts-At least the first half is good. We see Robert and Ray trying to interview Frank’s lodge buddies. The problem with the second half? It’s just Frank and Marie. That’s it! And they really can’t carry the whole episode. They managed to carry a whole scene in “The Toaster” but the whole half? Oh they try, but it just gets boring. This kind of thing can be done on other shows because there will always be episodes focused on various cast members so it doesn’t feel odd. On this show Ray is always involved, making his total absence in the second half very off putting. It almost feels like a backdoor pilot. We even get a tender scene in the end which just feels, weird. The episode should be Ray feeling guilty which we do get, in the tag.
Grade-D, it’s not the Marie and frank show!
Season 3, Episode 17
Cruising with Marie
Plot Summary-When Frank hurts his knee Ray takes his place on a cruise with Marie
Nitpick of the episode- It’s a necessary contrivance (and probably an unfair nit) but the idea Debra would let Ray go off for the weekend leaving just her with the kids is totally ridiculous. I suppose it’s possible she didn’t want Ray to lose the money spent on the cruise (it was a gift) but that’s still a bit of a leap considering her comments in other episodes. By the way what cruise lasts only a weekend?
Best Line-“Yeah. And if Ma’s the first to go, God help us all!!”…Robert
Episode Fun Fact –The only episode without Patricia Heaton at all
Syndication Edit-no idea I hardly watch this one in reruns
Best Character-Debra, because she isn’t it! Yeah cheap one, I know
Worst Character-Ray, if he had to go why not at least try to have fun?
Final Thoughts-Welcome to the worst episode of the series. Once in another article I said “Thank You Notes” was worst, and while I will of course get into that horrible episode more when we get to it I have decided this is really the worst. That’s because it doesn’t even feel like the same show, and every character is out of character in my opinion. The scenes where Robert has to take care of Frank are annoying, and why have frank explain he faked the injury only to really injure himself? As for the cruise while watching Marie have fun is kind of cool it gets old fast and all Ray does is mope around and eat.
Grade-F, my friends this is the worst. Just boring
Season 3, Episode 18
Ray Home Alone
Plot Summary-When Debra take the kids to Connecticut Ray spends the night alone
Nitpick of the episode-If I were Ray I would have just slept down on the couch, that way I could have kept an eye on the doors.
Episode Fun Fact – In this episode we find out Ray was responsible for Robert’s “bed wetting”. Problem is after this episode the fact Robert wet his bed pops up a few more times. A lot of people like to refer back to this episode and Ray’s revelation, but I maintain that despite that Robert would still have this stigma and would still be the brunt of jokes from it. Also final Kevin James appearance of the series, and yes he’s playing Doug which makes no sense really.
Deleted Scenes-Ray hanging out with his friends
Syndication Edit-the top of the teaser which sets up a joke for the tag which is also cut
Best Character-Frank, for once I’m on his side when he mocks ray and Robert and I love how he foils Rays attempt to scare him (why did Ray think that would work?)
Worst Character- Robert, As baffling as Ray not being able to sleep is he has an excuse. Debra isn’t there. What the hell is Robert’s excuse? Even Ray points out that he just walked over Robert had to drive over!
Final Thoughts-This episode is, weird. Ray and Robert are made to be little a little too wimpy. It is kind of cool to get a glimpse of what life must have been like when the two were kids. I think I would have liked this more if we didn’t have Ray’s family overload over the last few episodes. I can also relate to this one a little since my brother and I also shared a room. So he would bother me at night and like Robert needed to have the hallway light on at night.
We’re concluding season 3 next time, and I promise more praise!