While we’ve grown accustomed to thinking that Everybody Loves Raymond is based on the life of series star Ray Romano, there’s a lot of series creator Philip Rosenthal in there too. While Romano is now taking a more dramatic turn in Men of a Certain Age, Rosenthal is revisiting Raymond with a documentary.
Everybody Loves Raymond first premiered on CBS in 1996 and aired in primetime for nine seasons. Along with Romano, the sitcom also stars Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle, and Brad Garrett. They play family members who love each other with everything they have, even if they never want to admit to it.
Although everyone else connected with Raymond seems to have moved on, Rosenthal is still exploring and he’s produced a documentary called Exporting Raymond. It centers around his journey overseas to get a Russian version of Raymond, titled Voroniny, into development there.
It’s described this way, “A hilarious, warm and intimate journey of one man, considered an expert in his country, who travels to a land to help people that don’t seem to want his help. Lost in Moscow, lost in his mission, lost in translation, Phil tries to connect with his Russian colleagues but runs into unique characters and situations that conspire to drive him insane. The movie is a true international adventure, a genuine, ‘fish out of water’ comedy that could only exist in real life. ”
The film isn’t scheduled to be released until sometime in 2011, but it’s already getting reactions in its limited showings. The Austin Chronicle explains the output as “part travelogue, part fish-out-of-water story, part behind-the-scenes look at the sausage-making process otherwise know as TV production.” Another reaction come from a radio station in Austin saying, “I honestly cannot remember ever hearing an audience laugh so loudly or so often as I did [here].”
Proving there is more of Raymond in Rosenthal himself than audiences realized, he explains the release of his documentary by saying, “I’m very excited that Samuel Goldwyn is releasing my movie. Goldwyn was always my favorite part of MGM. ‘Metro’ sounded very corporate, but ‘Goldwyn’ sounded warm and Jewish, but not too Jewish, like Mayer.”
Romano is amused by Raymond’s transition to the Russian Voroniny series. He told Zap2It, “They translate it for language, and they translate it culturally, but they take the actual script, and they just cast it. Phil was sent over to consult, and so he took a documentary crew with them. It’s pretty fascinating.”
He notes that Raymond’s Russian counterparts don’t look the same, “They’re all better-looking than us. The woman there who was in charge of the wardrobe was a fashionista, and she wanted it to be all about showing the latest fashion… Phil was trying to tell her, ‘You don’t understand, it’s about, What would a housewife wear?'”
Romano shared, “Apparently it’s a hit there now. Like, there was one part, the family couldn’t live across the street, because that was unrealistic, that they each had a house. They had to live in the same apartment building. The fruit-of-the-month club, which was in our pilot, there’s no such thing as a fruit-of-the-month club. It’s like the box-of-water club or something-a-month club.”
What do you think? Would you be interested in seeing Exporting Raymond? How about the Russian sitcom (with subtitles)?