The creator/executive producer of TV’s popular Everybody Loves Raymond tells how he became the guy in command of a winning sitcom.
Forget childhood hopes of a career as cowboy, fireman or lion-tamer. Young Rosenthal wanted to be on television—that’s where the laughs were. Out of the Bronx and into TV came our hero, if not on-screen, then as show-runner. In the ’90s, he moved to California, where he eventually began to thrive in situation comedy. Here, he discusses the Raymond pitch and the pilot, the casting and testing, the crew and suits and table readings, as well as the process of directing, editing and writing. Indeed, this could be an essay on the art of writing comedy for television. Like Raymond, he’s a family guy. He loves his wife (actress Monica Horan, who played Amy on the show), his kids and everyone connected with the project that, after nine successful seasons, shut down last year. But remember, there’s still life in syndication. Fans seeking deep insight into star Ray Romano won’t find it here. A little more is revealed about Rosenthal’s fellow writers who, as may be expected, are a bit nuts. Scripts, he says, start with situations derived from their lives.
Written with what-a-schmuck-I-am wit, this is passable entertainment, a kind of communiqué from the Writers’ Room.