Everybody Loves Raymond’s Face, Pt. 1

Ray Romano in his element

Take a moment to appreciate Ray Romano’s face. It’s so lovable, like a talking cloud or a kitten with fairy wings. He’s got that adorable hangdog look – you couldn’t stay mad at him for more than a few minutes, even if he burst into your house and strangled your children. He looks like your friend’s go-getting dad from school, the one who made all those jokes when you came round, and attended his son’s parties. Ray knows he’s got a friendly, marketable face which everybody loves, which is why he based an entire TV show around it, and plastered it all over the DVD covers.

But never let it be said that he rested on his chummy laurels or took his personable grin for granted, because the cover of each season of Everybody Loves Raymond features a unique pose from Ray, with his head cocked in a variety of directions, pearly whites on display in all sorts of ways, and any number of slightly different blue shirts. This effort should not go unnoticed, which is why I’ve put together this two-part tribute to each cover of the nine seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond. The details differ, but the message beaming out from that large, wholesome face is the same: everything’s basically going to be fine, even if maybe you’re not as universally popular as I am.

First Raymond: The Bartender

This is the classic Raymond, the baseline. All other Raymonds must be held up against this first excellent effort.

Notice the top Raymond, in between his wife and some gormless moron, grinning for all he’s worth like Tom Cruise on Oprah’s sofa. He remains the same throughout the run of covers (until the final ninth one), always reminding us how Raymond looked in his fresh-faced early days.

Demeanour: Raymond is leaning forward on his elbows, welcoming us in to his new, cheerful sitcom like a trendy, just-opened bar. His eyebrows are raised hopefully, the smile ingratiating – he wants us to enjoy ourselves and relax. Nothing’s going to be too challenging, he says. It’s all just a bit of amiable fun.

Hair: Quite a short cut for Raymond, which he regrets – he grows it out and it never gets quite as short as this again. A shame as far as I’m concerned, I quite like it at this length. It gets longer with each passing season, possibly (I’m just speculating) due to age-related insecurities.

Blue shirts?: As early as the first season, Ray had found his look: an open shirt with a t-shirt under it. He looks good that way and he sticks to his guns for the whole show. More often that not, as in this first season, one or both shirts are blue. Here we have a dark blue check shirt over a light blue t-shirt. This is classic Raymond.

Second Raymond: The Adulterer

Raymond attempts to settle confidently into a second season.

Demeanour: Something of a misstep after the charming original cover, this Raymond seems to be trying a little too hard. The mouth is slightly too far open, exposing a good majority of Ray’s teeth. They are extraordinarily white, fair enough, but it still seems excessive, especially when combined with the rather dead, narrow eyes. He looks like he’s trying to laugh off a sinful act as though it were nothing, but he is fooling nobody.

Hair: Ray’s hair has grown out a bit, and therefore requires a healthy extra helping of gel. Is it my imagination, or are there streaks of grey appearing at the temples?

Blue shirts?: Ray does not mess with the formula. He feels reluctant to wear exactly the same clothes twice, however, and so chooses another blue check shirt from his wardrobe to wear over the blue t-shirt from before.

Third Raymond: The Serial Adulterer

Raymond tries to find his feet.

Demeanour: This is better, an adaptation of the second season’s pose which improves on its shortcomings. This time he faces us directly, head tilted up slightly, which takes the edge off the (still enormous) smile. The guilt-stricken look from before has been replaced with an impression of practised fakery – this Raymond has learned to get away with it, even if the eyes are still not quite as happy as the mouth is. Distractingly, one eye (the left) is a little more closed than the other, a problem which will return to haunt Raymond on later covers.

Hair: Someone noticed the slight greying from Season 2, and his hair has been carefully blackened. Other than that, much the same as before.

Blue shirts?: This time, just the one. Ray tentatively leaves his comfort zone, with a plain blue shirt over a white t-shirt.

Fourth Raymond: The Surprise Party

Raymond heads into uncharted waters.

Demeanour: Raymond is clearly loving making his TV show, Everybody Loves Raymond. Fourth Season Raymond is the most delighted Raymond yet, a Raymond who believes anything is possible. His mouth is wide open with pleasure – he seems to be saying, “Heyyyy!”. My one quibble is that I think the eyebrows could be raised a little more.

Hair: His parting is a little messier than usual. He must have been so excited to get on with the photoshoot he didn’t let his stylist quite finish. I like it, though.

Blue shirts?: Shockingly, no blue shirts here at all. Maybe they were all in the wash, or maybe someone thought blue clashed with this season’s chosen orange shade. Whatever the reason, he looks weird without any blue on him and luckily he doesn’t make that mistake for any more covers.

That’s it for this time! Check back tomorrow, when we’ll find out where Ray wants to take us for Seasons 5-9.

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    • sawsmint
    • May 19th, 2012

    I think there’s more gleaning to be done from season four’s face
    .
    He’s saying, “Heyyyy!” with his mouth, but his eyes are telling a totally different story. I reckon by this point in the photo shoot they, being the windows to the soul, have given up and clearly demonstrate tiredness, cynicism and bored-ness…

    This is a shoot of a purely sarcastic “hey…!” after which he probably muttered a few curse words with that whiny little voice.

  1. May 20th, 2012

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