- Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: Robert has a moustache in the flashback episodes. He's also been said to have had an afro in high school.
- Robert's afro is there in the flashback episode where he first meets Debra and is Tongue-Tied.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Often times Debra, especially in the later seasons.
- One of the guys at the lodge didn't respond well to what Robert meant as a joke in "Who Am I?":
Lodge Guy: Hey Robert, it's hot in here. (then joking on Robert's bountiful chest hair) Why don't you take your sweater off?
Robert: (laughing with the group) Why don't you take your wig off?
Lodge Guy: ...Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? (a fight looks like it'll break out between the two; Robert is escorted out)
- Halloween Episode: "Halloween Candy".
- Halloween Special: Peter Boyle and Doris playing Frankenstein and wife is truly scary. A Shout-Out too, reprising Peter's role as the monster in Young Frankenstein.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? - Uncle Mel, full stop.
- Heel-Face Turn: Peter originally was a deceptive, rude, underhanded Man Child who's biggest goal was to keep Amy and Robert from getting married. However, by the end of "Peter on the Couch", he and Robert had found common ground and more-or-less made peace. And in "A Date For Peter", he's played relatively normal and not hostile towards Robert at all.
- Ray and Peggy somewhat made peace in "Sleepover at Peggy's" (after a big misunderstanding, of course). Unfortunately, the two were back to being enemies in "The Party Dress" and "A Date For Peter".
- Heel Realization: In "Season's Greetings", Robert realizes how obsessive and petty he's been by keeping a Christmas card (where Ray got more lines than he did) for ten years.
- Hello, Nurse!: Stefania. Invoked in pretty much every episode she appeared in.
- Henpecked Husband: Ray.
- And Frank too.
- Robert during his brief first marriage to Joanne. To the point where Robert hid out at Ray and Debra's because he didn't want to face her nagging and insults.
- Here We Go Again: The ending to "I Wish I Were Gus", where Marie and Aunt Alda appear to have finally made up, but then they start arguing again.
- In the last couple minutes of "Bad Moon Rising", it appears that Ray and Debra have made up; Debra admits that she's been cranky and doesn't mean to lash out at him, while Ray promises to be more caring and understanding during her time of the month. But then, Ray runs to get the pills to treat PMS, and holds the pill in front of her. Debra knocks the pill out of his hand and accusingly says, "Why don't you just lock me in the attic for a few days?!" Bam, we're right back to Ray and Debra at odds, like how it was the rest of the episode.
- Hey, You!: One of the recurring bits is that Ray has a hard time calling Lois by her name, so he resorts to, "Hey... you." One episode, "Call Me Mom", begins with his efforts to get closer to Lois by calling her "mom".
- Hidden Badass: Ray is awestruck when he discovers that Robert is this, while tagging along with Robert and Judy on their police patrol. While they take a break from patrol at Nemo's Pizzeria and Judy goes to the bathroom, Ray notices that there is a man threatening Nemo (with what may or may not be a gun in his jacket pocket) and demanding cash. Robert simply tells Ray: "Get down. And whatever happens, stay down," before crawling across the floor, sneaking up behind the robber, throwing a tray with a hot pizza onto the robber's face and then physically subduing him. Later on, Ray tells Debra:
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Frank. This turns out to be the case in several episodes.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: Debra's presence during the middle of season 3 is drastically reduced (and in a few cases, she's absent entirely) due to Patricia Heaton's pregnancy. In the episodes where she appears, they mask it by having her in bed, holding things in front of her body, wearing loose-fitting clothing, or merely shooting her from the chest up. This gives the first part of season 3 a distinctly claustrophobic feeling.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood:
Frank: I never told you this, but I used to think of you as kind of a weak little mama's boy.
Ray: You told me that.
- Hint Dropping: In "The Bigger Person", when Frank and Ray are using the fight between Marie and Debra to get pampered:
Frank: Hey, you know what the guys at the lodge were just telling me? Apparently if you install it yourself, a satellite dish is actually quite affordable.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Robert is considered "classically handsome", while his on-again/off-again girlfriend/later wife Amy, is... let's face it... she is rather homely.
- Hot Sauce Drinking: ButtGorilla Robert Barone at first refuses to believe his father has lost his sense of taste and smell. He argues that the bottle of jalapeno sauce under debate has been hanging around his mother's kitchen since before the Korean War and has denatured. He then proves his argument by taking a long swallow. Thirty seconds later he is hanging on his back underneath the kitchen cold tap and Debra is berating him to at least use a glass.
- How About a Smile: In "Hackidu", Ray is impatient to get out of Russell's shop with the Scramisaur card, but before Russell will let him have it, he demands, "Let's have a little smile." Ray struggles to force a smile, and after Russell says, "That's what it's all about, man", he says he owes him well over $200 for the purchase.
- In "The Christmas Picture", Ray tells Robert to get over into the picture.
Ray: Get over there.
Robert: "Get over there..."
Robert: There ya go, Raymond. You'll find a little courtesy goes a long way.
- How We Got Here: This trope was used in an early episode that actually used this phrase as its title. The episode was a flashback to how Ray and Debra ended up living across the street from Frank and Marie, revealed that it was actually Debra who had strongly insisted that they live there, while Ray had desperately attempted to convince her that they should live somewhere else, because he knew how crazy his family could be.
- Hypocritical Humor: In "Counseling":
: All I want to do is relax, for once
, and Debra tells me to shampoo the rug! Frank
: What? You can't help out a little? Ray
: What?! You
don't help out! Frank
- In "The Skit", a similar exchange occurs when Frank refuses to write a speech for Lee and Stan's anniversary and then criticizes Ray for not wanting to do it either.
- In "Peter on the Couch", after Robert agrees to get Peter his old apartment:
Frank: Those two think their troubles are over. Believe me, you don't want a relative like that living so close to ya. You can never get rid of them! (immediately turns on Ray's TV)
Debra: (calmly) A lot of the problems in this family wouldn't exist if there was a little more hugging and a little less yelling. So Frank, (shouting) HUG YOUR SONS!!!
Marie: (to Ray) I tried to teach you. I mean, you should know that words can hurt people.
Robert: That's right, Raymond!
Marie: No one's talking to you, Robert. You're such a busybody.
- In "The Game", while playing a board game called Scruples where you're asked morality questions:
Frank: Am I the only one here with scruples?
- I Am Big Boned: In "Who's Next?", Bernie is offended that Debra wouldn't take him as a husband if Ray dies, and instigates:
Bernie: It's because I'm heavy, isn't it? I know I have trouble with weight. I happen to have a glandular problem!
- I Ate WHAT?: In "Thank You Notes", Ray and Robert both drink from something in the fridge out of nervousness of the impending chew-out from Marie. They don't realize what they drank until after they do so.
Ray: What is this??
Robert: Vanilla extract.
- Identical Grandson: Or, in this case, Identical Son. In a flashback to Ray and Robert's childhood, young Frank was played by Ray Romano.
- Let us not forget "baby Ally". In a flashback to Debra being pregnant with the twins, the child playing Ally looks suspiciously like one of the twins dressed as a girl...
- I'm a Humanitarian: Played for laughs in "The Mentor", when Amy blocks Frank's exit from Ray and Debra's kitchen:
Robert: (to Amy) What are you doing? He'll eat you.
- I'm Going to Hell for This: In "Angry Sex", when Ray tells Robert to leave so he can have more "angry sex" with Debra:
Robert: Oh you are going straight to Hell.
Ray: And you're going back to live with mommy and daddy.
Robert: ...You win.
- Impossibly Delicious Food: Marie's food in general. Also, Debra's braciole in "Debra Makes Something Good", much to Marie's jealousy.
- Marco's pizza, as revealed in "Stefanie Arrives". When Frank takes a bite, he says: "Holy crap! This is... holy crap."
- The peach gelato Robert tastes while in Italy.
- I'm Standing Right Here: In "Who's Next?", while Ray, Debra, Bernie, and Linda are in an argument about Ray and Debra's game about who they'd get to marry if one of them died, Robert spoke up:
Robert: Did Debra even consider me?
Amy: Hey, I'm right here!
- I Need A Drink: Debra has three caterwauling children underfoot and hears the doorbell ring:
God, I hope that's a bourbon salesman.
- Another example, from "Security":
Amy: Where do you keep your "After Marie" liquor?
Ray: ....We don't have any-
Debra: Top cabinet, behind the Cream of Wheat.
- Inadvertent Entrance Cue:
Ray: (about calling his mother-in-law "Mom") No, that wouldn't feel right. "Hi, how was your trip ... Mom ... Mom ... Mom?"
(Marie walks in)
Linda : I am such sucker for that little-boy thing in men.
(Frank walks in)
Frank: Where's Marie? I lost my shoe!
- Ineffectual Death Threats: In "Net Worth", Robert is asked what's involved in a wrongful death settlement. Debra responds, "Good, good 'cause we're about to have one." (referring to Ray)
- In "Boys' Therapy", Marie told Frank while pointing at the obituaries section of the newspaper, "Frank, you better take a good look at this section, 'cause you're gonna be in there tomorrow!"
- In "Young Girl":
Debra: So what, men have to date women twenty years younger than they are? If Ray dies tomorrow, I have to start dating sixty year olds?
Ray: Whoa, I'm dyin' tomorrow?!
Debra: We'll see.
- Played with in "Odd Man Out":
Marie: I'm gonna kill your father!
Ray: (flatly) Oh no, mom, don't.
- In "The Game", Marie says a hypothetical scenario to see if Ray would let her live with him when Frank dies.
Frank: I died?! How did I die?
Marie: We'll see!
- In "Christmas Present", after Ray accused Debra of acting like a martyr, Debra replied with: "Do you know how close you are to the end of your life?!"
- Informed Attribute: Warren (Debra's father) was repeatedly described by the other characters as being a rather heavy drinker, but oddly enough, we never actually saw anything to suggest this onscreen, besides one occasion when Warren accepts an offer by Robert to go out for drinks (along with food) at Nemo's Pizzeria.
- Inherently Funny Words: Frank seems to think Lake Tahoe is this. Not to mention "Milwaukee."
- Innocent Innuendo: In "The First Time", Ray tells his friends that he's watching a movie with Debra. They immediately assume this means Debra wants to have sex with Ray, so they start giving him advice. Robert chimes in with "Check her eggs, man, check her eggs!", which sounds suspiciously like an ovulation reference. But all he meant was: "You check her refrigerator to see if she has enough eggs to make both of you breakfast in the morning."
- Innocent Swearing: In "The Nice Talk", Frank succumbs to this:
: Can I watch TV now? Marie
: No, Frank. Frank
: Well then what the hell are we gonna do all night?! Hank
: Less cursing, I hope. Frank
: Who cursed? Hank
: You referred to the antipode of Heaven. Frank
) What the hell kind of moon man talk is that?! Hank
: Oh, there it is again.
- Insistent Terminology: Robert was gored in the upper thigh.
- In "Pants on Fire", Ray told a story from his teen years about he had a "fiesta" in the house when Marie and Frank were away. When the story concluded, Marie asked, "You had a party in my house?" Ray replied, "Not party, fiesta!"
- Instant Seduction: Apparently, Frank's come-on line to Marie is "Hey, c'mere a minute."
- Frequently parodied; in "Blabbermouths", Ray says to Debra in bed, "Guess who pees when she laughs?" Debra, not realizing that Ray was talking about Amy, responds, "I gotta tell ya, that's your worst come-on line ever."
- In "All I Want For Christmas", when Ray is frustrated that he can't read Debra's signals, Debra replies with a rhetorical question: "What am I supposed to say? "Hey you, wanna do it?"" Ray replies, "I would love it if you talked like that!"
- Insult Backfire: In "Ping Pong":
: Marie, get a mop, because after I beat Ray, the floor is going to be soaked with tears. Ray
: Yeah, but they're going to be your
tears, because its going to be your funeral. Frank
) If it's my funeral, how can I be crying?
Nice try. Marie
thought it was good, Raymond.
- I Resemble That Remark: Ray: "You're calling me self-centered. Me? Me?! ME?!"
- In "The Article", Ray mentions that he edited a part of Andy's column to be less repetitive. Andy enthusiastically replied with: "I get it, I get it, I get it, I get it, I get it, I get it!"
- Ironic Echo: In "The Contractor", Ray (and later Debra) both say: "It's not like Van Gogh lost his paintbrush."
- In "Fun With Debra", Ray tries to cover a passive aggressive remark towards Debra ("I love it [Debra correcting him] at home, why wouldn't I love it on the golf course?") with a "zing zing!" A scene later, Debra did the same towards Ray ("You don't listen to me at home, why would you listen to me on the golf course?......Zing zing.")
- In "Sweet Charity", when Ray doesn't want to do charity for the church, Debra tries to make him feel guilty by saying "This is between you, and him (points upward, indicating God)." At the end of the episode, after it's revealed that Debra sent Robert to the hospital to steal Ray's thunder because she thought Ray was spending too much time there, Ray says, "I don't think you should be talkin' to me. I think you should be talking to... (points upward)." A minute later, after Robert finds out that Debra lied about liking his ventriloquism, he performs the same action.
- Also in "Sweet Charity", Ray asks Debra why he can't just write a check to the hospital instead of actually volunteering there. Later in the first act, Ray visits the hospital and gets queasy from a packet of blood placed on the counter, and is hesitant to enter a patient's room. A surly nurse asks: "Why didn't you just write a check??"
- In "Season's Greetings", Robert says he wants the Christmas letter to say that he's been known to "boogie the night away". To which Ray replies: "So you've broadened the definition of "dance the night away" to "staying home by yourself eating Wheat Thins"?" Later in the episode, Robert gets his revenge when Ray objects to how his job is described in the Christmas letter:
Ray: Look, you may not think my job is so hot, but 600,000 discriminating readers do.
Robert: So you've broadened the definition of the word "discriminating" to include people who do their reading with their elbow on a roll of toilet paper?
- In "Getting Even", Debra says she felt humiliated by Ray's auctioneering (which mostly consisted of making fun of Debra); Ray told her not to feel that way, and she responded, "Don't tell me how to feel!" At the end of the episode, after Ray was convinced Debra was going to get revenge for his auctioneer roast, Ray said he was feeling paranoid. Debra told him not to feel that way, and Ray said "Don't tell me how to feel!" Debra replied: "And there it is. I'll just give you a minute to put it together." (Ray has a hard time doing so, so Debra recounts the Ironic Echo)
- A nonverbal one occurs in "Be Nice": Debra wants Ray to take the kids to the park for an hour and a half, so Ray starts his watch and walks as slowly as he can to get his shoes. At the end of the episode, Ray wants to have sex with Debra and he runs upstairs. Debra says that she'll be right there, and walks as slowly as she can.
- In "Marie and Frank's New Friends", Marie convinces Ray to stay and entertain her and Frank's friends; Ray tells Debra, "You gotta give the people what they want." As soon as Ray enters the living room, Frank announces that they're going to be late for the senior's jamboree at the VFW. Debra says, "You should go too, Ray.", and when Ray tries to worm his way out of it, she replies: "But you gotta give the people what they want."
- In "Counseling", after Ray complained about Debra signing both him and her up for therapy, Debra said, "(...)You are coming with me, because we are going to do whatever it takes to Heal. This. Marriage." Later, when the two actually attend therapy, Ray sucks up to the therapist by using the same phrase: "I'm gonna do whatever it takes to heal this marriage.", prompting an eye roll from Debra.
- In "Boys' Therapy", Frank lied to Marie that one of things he learned from therapy is that everyone needs personal space, a "ten-foot radius". He then told Marie to get ten feet away from him. At the end of the episode, when Frank, Ray, and Robert are caught having lied about attending therapy, Ray tries to apologize to Debra, but she walks away while saying, "I need a ten-foot radius."
- Irrevocable Message: The premise to "The Letter": Debra writes an angry letter to Marie about her behavior, and Ray strives to get it back before Marie can read it.
- I Take Offense to That Last One:
Debra: You're so typical! All you care about are boobs and butts.
Ray: I couldn't care less about butts!
- It Is Pronounced Tropay: In "The Ingrate", Debra pokes fun at the time Ray unknowingly read "stomach ache" as "sto-ma-cha-cha".
- It Makes Sense in Context: "For once, I'd like to be able to bring a board game into this house without being accused of having sex with my brother!" Explanation
- I Want Grandkids: Marie is this to Robert and Amy, to the point that she doesn't count Ally, Michael, and Jeffrey as grandkids because she rarely sees them anymore.
Marie: I've obviously failed as a mother, and I was hoping for one last chance as a grandmother.
Debra: But Marie, you are a grandmother! What about our kids?
Marie: ...Oh? Where are they??
- I Was Quite a Looker: Marie. Mentioned in an episode where she discovers that, among other books, Frank is about to throw away her high school yearbook, in which there are several pictures where Marie looks beautiful. Marie snatches it back and says she wants the yearbook...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Frank is so much this trope. While he definitely has his angry, judgmental moments and often acts boorish, many episodes end with him doing something genuinely sweet or heartwarming. He may have a gruff exterior, but he's definitely not a bad guy.
- In one episode, Frank, Ray, and Robert are having lunch, trying to come up with therapy "breakthroughs" to tell their wives while they're at the track instead. Frank reveals that his father used to beat him all the time, just like his grandfather used to beat his own son, father of Frank. Ray notes, "So his father hit him, he hit you, and you...you never hit us really." Frank replies "I was always weaker than him." Robert offers, "Maybe you didn't want to be like him." After a quiet moment, Frank replies "I didn't."
- Marie is arguably this trope too.
- Jewish Mother: Although Marie is portrayed as an Italian-American Catholic, like Ray Romano's real-life family, she is also partly based on producer Phil Rosenthal's Jewish mother, and the character shares many of the Jewish Mother trope traits.
- When Robert briefly moves in with an elderly Jewish couple called the Stipes, the wife, an actual Jewish mother obviously, fits the trope 100%. When Ray meets the couple, it's lampshaded how similar they actually are to Frank and Marie, and that their being Jewish is literally the only noticeable difference between the Stipes and Frank and Marie.
- Karma Houdini: Debra could get this way regarding her treatment of Ray (he was rarely ever able to verbally defeat her — just annoy her), but Marie would nearly always get the best of her, and the Barones regularly invaded her home and directly and indirectly criticized her, so she's never getting off scot-free. Marie is a better example, almost never getting her comeuppance. The writers would claim after the series had ended that this was a deliberate way of making their wives like the show more.
- Robert managed to avoid karma a couple times too—- most notably in "Jazz Records".
- It could also be argued that Marie having to deal with Frank is karma in and of itself. Frank himself does some pretty bad things, and constantly belittles and insults every member of the family and treats Marie like she's his servant and usually the only punishment he gets is someone mouthing off to him, which he is more than willing to dish back.
- Ray does one of the worst things he's ever done on the show, lied to her about how other women at the PTA think Debra dresses "trampy" when they really didn't, because Debra complained about him dressing sloppily at PTA meetings. This makes Debra depressed because she thought those women were her friends. Does Ray decide to tell her the truth? No. At the next PTA at their house Debra comes down the stairs dressed in a low cut red sweater, leather miniskirt, and boots to the shock of everyone. After the meeting Ray finally tells Debra he lied about what the other women said and Debra is mortified and humiliated. Even though she is (rightly) angry afterwards the argument gets to the point where it's somehow Debra's fault and she has to sooth Ray's ego and tell him because he always feels bad that she's better looking.
- "Knock Knock" Joke: One of the biggest fights between Debra and Marie started with Debra not allowing Michael and Jeffrey to tell a knock knock joke to Marie's friends. But to be fair, Debra had been trying to settle her kids down and Marie wasn't helping at all.
- Lame Comeback: In "Ray's Journal", after Robert said he kept his real journal in a safety deposit box at the bank (which contained the stuff he didn't want Marie to read):
: What did you put in that one? Robert
: Well, certainly nothing I'd have to write with my pants down. (referencing a journal entry of Ray's where he measured his erect penis) Ray
: Yeah, if your pants were
down, the only thing you could write is, "Hey, where's everybody going?" Robert
) What? Ray
: (angry) I don't know! (leaves)
- Last-Second Word Swap: In "Slave", Robert is about to say the meal that Ally cooked for him is the best he ever tasted. Marie looks at him disapprovingly, so instead he ends the sentence with a round of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (Ray nervously joins in).
- Layman's Terms: In "The Checkbook":
Andy: You're $3,000 overdrawn here! You didn't even open up your bank statement!
Ray: I trusted the bank.
Andy: You didn't reconcile your checkbook!
Andy: You have to keep track, Ray!
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall In one episode, a radio announcer in-universe says that they'll be right back after a break. Then the episode goes to a commercial break.
- Less Embarrassing Term: Robert insists for several episodes that a bull gored him in the "upper thigh."
- Long List: In "The Bigger Person":
Frank: Anyway, make me a sandwich, will ya?
Marie: A sandwich?
Frank: Uh, roast beef, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, cheese, easy onion.
- In "Snow Day", Marie apologizes that with the power outage, she wasn't able to make much, but then proceeds to list a large amount of sandwiches anyway.
Marie: You know, there's only so much I can do without electricity, but I was able to make some ham and cheese sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, And, of course, macaroni salad, potato salad, and regular salad. Then there's pies and cookies and cake for dessert.
Ray: Ma, you're two pickles away from opening a deli.
- Long-Lost Relative: Debra's sister Jennifer; she and Debra hardly kept in contact ever since college, and when Jennifer finally pays the family a visit, it's to say she's become a nun and is going on an extended missionairy trip to Africa.
- Lost My Appetite: When Raymond accusing Lois of not letting him having any say in his wife's surprise party, he declares that he's lost his appetite.
- Lost Wedding Ring: Down the vent.
- Lysistrata Gambit: A few episodes center around Ray being convinced Debra deliberately withholds sex from him. One, "The Power of No", has Ray turning the tables of being the one to say "no" to sex.
- MacGuffin: The heavily coveted first prize in "Cookies" that spurred the huge rivalry between Ray and Peggy was a cheap beach chair that breaks as soon as Ray sits in it.
- The Mafia: It is heavily implied that Stefania's father Marco has ties to the Mafia. In a hilarious scene, Robert discovers that Marco has taken over Nemo's Pizzeria and the following exchange occurs:
Robert: * nervously* What happened to Nemo?
Marco: He go away.
Robert: * freaked out* Where?
Marco:* glares significantly* Away.
Marie: And so, yes. Maybe sometimes I ask for a favor in return, once in a blue moon. And you call that "controlling"? I call that "a family".
Amy: A Mafia family...
Marie: Is that what you think, Amy?
Amy: ....I'm sorry.
- In "Mia Famiglia", everybody but Debra is speaking Italian at the dinner table. They start talking about how one of their relatives was the only one brave enough to stand up to the Mafia. Debra, only understanding the word "mafia" in the conversation, says, "Your family is part of the Mafia? I knew it."
- Mafia Princess: As noted above, it's implied that Stefania is this, although if it's true, then she at least seems to be blissfully unaware of it. She knows that her father can seem intimidating to potential suitors such as Robert, but she apparently has no idea that he might be in the Mafia.
- Malaproper: From "Party Dress":
Ray: It's morally and ethnically wrong!
Debra: ...You're out of your element, Ray.
- In "The Sneeze", Ray says he should take some Ibuproferenium.
- Debra misuses many golf terms in "Fun With Debra", telling Ray to "slice" the ball into the hole on the green, saying "You didn't par off without me, did you?", and saying that birdies had nothing to do with golf (she got matching visors with birdies on them).
- Mama Bear: Marie has many moments of this trope. One notable one, which doubles as a huge Crowning Moment of Awesome for her character, is the flashback episode to when Robert and his first wife got a divorce. Upon hearing that Joanne has dumped Robert (after treating him cruelly for years), Marie puts down the cake she was carrying, turns to glare icily at Joanne and growls You... before beginning a speech about how she had held her tongue for years and that she found out all about Joanne's sordid past. She ends by saying "You think you're dumping my son? No. My son is dumping you. It's time to take out the trash!" and shoving Joanne out the door.
Ray:*peeking out the window a few moments later* Joanne's gone already. The scary thing is, I think I saw a bat flying away.
- Man Child:
- Ray acts like this. Marie virtually enforces it with her mothering, much to Debra's consternation.
- Robert is an even bigger man child, but mainly because not only does Marie enforce on him as well, but Robert spent a number of seasons living at home with her and Frank and sponging off them as well. Also, Depending on the Writer, Robert level of maturity is either above or below Ray's.
- Manipulative Bastard: Marie is very good at controlling the family. They're all aware of it, but they try not to think about it. Can be best summed up by a line uttered by Marie during a time the family is about to connect the dots and realize she's to blame for something:
Marie: Let's all eat this food I made, and remember that this was nobody's fault.
- Debra has her moments well, such as in the episode where she gets annoyed that Ray is spending so much time volunteering at a hospital, so she tells Robert that he'd be talented enough to take Ray's place there as the resident entertainer. Ray gets upset and leaves the hospital, just as Debra planned. Of course it backfires totally, as she's forced to entertain the cranky seniors who hate her.
- Manipulative Editing: In-universe, Ray and Robert perform this for Frank's video tribute. The reason? None of Frank's friends have anything nice to say about him, but Ray decides to ask his friends what they think about chocolate. This leads to blatantly obvious cuts in the footage: "Oh I love..." (different footage) "Frank Barone!"
- A Man Is Always Eager: Ray, even when upset, such as in "The Mentor" when he rants about Frank spending time with a fellow employee instead of his own sons.
Ray: (angrily) What?!
Debra: You wanna have sex?
Ray: NO!..... (reconsiders; angrily) Yeeeesssssss!
- Manly Tears:
- In "Golf", Ray and Kevin get misty-eyed when Tiger Woods thanks his father on TV. They break the awkwardness by going to check on the car in the garage.
- This comes up again in "Ray Home Alone," where Doug randomly asks the guys when was the last time they felt like crying ("Other than about sports?" Giani keeps asking); Ray mentions feeling a little choked up when he watched Michael and Geoffrey walking into preschool, hand-in-hand.
- Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: A driving force in the way all the couples are portrayed, though not quite as much with Robert and Amy.
- May-December Romance: "Young Girl".
- Meddling Parents: Is there a better way to describe Frank and Marie?
- Men Are Uncultured: Played painfully straight...over and over and over again.
- Metaphorgotten: In "Sweet Charity":
Ray: Dirty laundry has come home to roost!
- Mind Your Step: When Ray hurts himself in a particularly athletic bedroom session, he claims he tripped on a broken step to his parents. It backfires when turns out the stairs really were broken and Frank falls THROUGH them when he investigates.
- Mistaken for Cheating: In "Raybert", Robert dates a woman who thinks he is Ray, and he gets Ray to pretend to be him. At the end of the episode, the woman goes to what she thinks is Robert's house (actually Ray's house). Debra answers the door, and the woman reveals that she is dating who she thinks is Ray and that he told her his wife was dead.
- Mistaken for Gay:
- Robert, in "What's With Robert?".
- Giani invokes this in "Ray Home Alone," after Ray mentions he felt choked up watching Michael and Geoffrey walking into preschool hand-in-hand; Ray, obviously, meant he was touched at seeing his twins' emotional bond, though Giani interprets Ray was upset because he thought his twins are gay (and for each other).
- Montages: In "Cruising With Marie", there's a montage of Ray/Marie on the cruise and Frank/Robert at home, set to "The Banana Tree".
- In "The Power of No", there's a montage of Ray and Debra going to bed without sex over the course of many nights, set to "The Girl From Ipanema."
- Mood-Swinger: Debra in general, with a prominent example in "The Walk to the Door", at a wedding:
Ray: You win: I'm a bad person.
Debra: (angry, to Ray) Oh, how do I win? You know, you- (notices the bride and groom kissing at a nearby table; becomes happy) Ohoho, they're kissing. (back to angry) You know what would make me happy? If you recognized a regret before you did it!
- Perhaps the most infamous example is in "Bad Moon Rising" when Debra, having just finished berating Ray for not being more sensitive to her during her time of the month, answers the phone. It's Amy on the other end, and after only a couple seconds, she is in a good mood. But after Ray breaks out that pill again, reading the problems it solves....
- Mood Whiplash: In "Lucky Suit", Robert is angling for a job at the FBI, which it seems Marie unwittingly ruined by sending his interviewer a long apology note for ruining Robert's lucky suit. It's played for laughs, especially when Marie goes to the office to set things right, until she reveals that she did it on purpose because Robert was one year from retirement on the police force, and she was tired of worrying about Robert on the job every night. It's a very moving speech... until the agent says they were going to pass on Robert because of better candidates. Cue another whiplash back into comedy as Marie doesn't take kindly on someone being more qualified then her Robby.
- The second act of "Golf For It" starts heavy on the comedy as Ray and Robert, still annoyed at Marie's demands, joke about her and place a golf-bet on who has to take her after Frank dies. However, things turn serious when Ray says, "She's gonna be with you 'til the day she dies!" After that, the tone gets more serious as the two golf with the reward of taking Marie after Frank dies. Robert even accuses Ray of not loving Marie as much as he does. Things veer back towards comedy, though, when the two physically fight and call a truce.
- "Snow Day", which starts out light-hearted as usual, gets a sudden mood whiplash when Debra blurts out that she's surprised she's having a good time with Frank. Frank, offended by the idea that Debra doesn't enjoy his company, sullenly walks out of the house. Cue commercial break.
- In "The Home", Ray, Debra, Robert, and Amy are all ecstatic about Marie and Frank moving to a retirement community. However, in the next act, Debra begins to have conflicting feelings about it, and bears her heart to Marie just before the two leave:
Debra: Okay. I know I should have said this years ago, but... We kind of... no, we have butted heads a lot over the years and... we've said some unfortunate things to each other and about each other, and I guess we've just decided that that's how it is. But I know that you and I are not okay with the way things are between us. You know, when you told me that you were moving, I was happy, because it meant I wouldn't have to deal with all the fighting and the tension. But I don't like feeling that way. I feel like we're just giving up, and I don't want to do that. I don't. I... I think that there could be so much more for us. And I'm sorry that we haven't gotten there yet, but I think that we can.
Marie: Oh Debra... do you know what your problem is? (audience laughs) You're always so dramatic. I'm fine with the way we are!
Debra: ...Have a great trip.
- "Separation" has a very touching scene where Warren consoles Debra, who is upset that he and Lois are getting divorced. Then towards the end of the scene, Warren admits that he wishes his marriage was a lot like Marie and Frank's. "They seem to have the secret."
Debra: ...But they're maniacs!
- Then there's the finale, which runs the gamut of comedy and drama, especially concerning Ray's near-death experience.
- Ms. Fanservice: Debra provides this in at least two episodes - one where she "tells off" a woman who she thought accused her of dressing provocatively by overdoing it in front of her, and another where she tries to seduce Ray wearing only a nightie. Generally though, it's relegated to her wearing tight, but not out-of-place in reality clothing.
- Stefania was also a good example of this trope. Lampshaded in one episode where the Barones are hosting a party for singles, in hopes of getting Peter together with a girl. When Stefania shows up and takes off her winter coat, revealing a sexy dress on her already-sexy body, the other women simply declared "I'm out!" and left, assuming that they had no hope of getting a guy's attention with Stefania in the room. However, it turns out they were actually wrong: Peggy, aka the "Cookie Hitler Lady" as Ray calls her, and Peter end up falling in love.
- The Mutiny: "Thank You Notes", where Amy offends Marie by not agreeing to write her wedding thank-you notes as soon as possible. Debra realizes that now that it's two against one, she finally has a chance to take down Marie once and for all.
- My Beloved Smother: Marie, Marie, Marie.
- My Way or the Highway: In "A Job For Robert", Marie only lets Robert and Amy live in her and Frank's house if they'll keep trying to have a baby.
- The Napoleon: Frank Barone. Frank is by no means a short man, approaching six feet tall. But both his adult sons are taller still. Frank therefore tries to exert dominance and alpha-male status over Raymond and Robert - especially the hulking six-foot-eight Robert - at every possible opportunity. An unfulfilled working life as an accountancy wage-slave, low on the employment totem pole, didn't help. Frank also has military fantasies expressed through American Civil War re-enactment. But his "Josephine" generally gives him short shrift.
- Near-Death Experience: Occurs to Ray (without his knowing) in "The Finale". Later in the episode, he is told he almost died on the operating table; he remarks that now that he mentions it, he thinks he saw a light.
- Never Lend to a Friend: Ray & Debra lend Robert money after visiting his run-down bachelor pad, but Ray gets upset when Robert goes to Las Vegas. By the end of the episode, though, Ray has admitted to Robert that he secretly envies him. As Ray puts it, a vacation for him would be going to the bathroom for 2 minutes "without a gang of maniacs pounding on the door." As Robert is still single, he can afford to just up and go to Vegas. Ray urges him to go.
- Never Mess with Granny: You do not want Marie angry with you. She usually won't retaliate with violence (unless you're someone like Joanne), but she will find other ways to settle the score...
- New Job Episode: Robert got two of them; the first was in "Confronting the Attacker" when Robert briefly quit the police force to sell appliance insurance, and the second was in "Security" when he sold home security systems as a second job.
- Debra got back into the work force in "Working Girl", though her job at an advertising agency was short-lived due to butting heads with the other execs over a new pizza mascot (her creation was Professor Pete Za).
- News Monopoly: In "Brother", Ray and Robert sit down to watch a sports game on TV but are horrified to discover that every channel is airing the president's State of the Union Address instead. They very quickly turn it off, only for Robert to turn it on a couple minutes later after Ray shared an uncomfortable bit of info about the first time he had sex with Debra.
- New York City Cops: Robert and Judy. They completely avert the "grim and gritty" stereotypes that often accompany the NYPD on drama shows.
- The Nicknamer: Ray seems to always have a weird little pet name for Debra anytime he enters a room.
- No Accounting for Taste
- Noodle Incident: Whenever Ray and Robbie reminisce about their rather interesting childhood, they seem to mention a lot of incidents that seem to fit this trope.
- One is brought up by Frank in the episode where it is found out that Ray pre-wrote Frank's eulogy:
(referring to Ray) I remember one time I went up to the attic, turned the light on, and lo and behold... Ray:
Alright, stop it Dad!
- Validated in the Stinger when Robert also leads in to the same scenario, but never clarifies it.
- In "Golf", when Ray is at the doctor's:
Doctor: How are Robert's feet doing?
Ray: ...Fine. It's been a while since I've seen his feet.
Doctor: I tell you, that was an uphill battle. (pause) Anyway...
- No Ending
- No Periods, Period: The episode Bad Mood Rising didn't just avert this trope. It smashed it to pieces.
- No Sympathy: In "Separation", Debra tells Ray that her parents have separated and are on the path to divorce. After a brief pause, Ray smirks and almost laughs. Debra is understandably aghast at his reaction, and Ray tries to explain himself by saying the atmosphere was too serious and that he was amused at the way she phrased it (he was picturing a literal path to divorce in his mind). Later in the same episode, when Debra opens up to him about it, she uses the analogy that her parents' marriage was like a rock. Ray responded with: "It was like a stone, and now it's passed."
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: In "The Sneeze", Ray and Debra don't have time for "going away" sex before Ray's trip. When he gets back, Debra wants to make it up to him by dressing in a skimpy nightie, lighting candles, shaving her legs, and generally being amorous. But Ray's too distracted by the man who sneezed on him at the airport to be turned on.
Debra: (after Ray leaves, sans sex) I want credit for this! Can't believe I shaved my legs...
- The entire plot to "The Power of No", where Ray deliberately turns down sex with Debra so he can have the "power" for once. The highlight of the episode is when Ray and Debra both try to turn the other on; Ray goes to bed oily and shirtless, wearing satin boxers, and flexing, while Debra wears skimpy lingerie, crawls seductively into bed, and lays on the bed outside the covers. Neither give in.
- Both played straight and subverted in "Older Women": Frank tells a story about a cleaning woman that used to help Ray and Debra when they were first married. After Frank lugged a high chair up the steps of their building, the cleaning woman asked Frank if he wanted a drink to cool off. But when she handed him the glass, she pulled it back in a flirty way. Frank didn't want to play games and firmly asked for the drink; after he drank, she washed the glass, and he left. He told the story in order to prove that he loves Marie and wasn't tempted by another woman. But then Debra asks a question:
Debra: Wait a minute... you watched her wash the glass?
Frank: Well yeah, I'm not a monk!
- In "A Date For Peter", Peter isn't distracted by the beautiful Stefania; he's more interested in Peggy.
- Note to Self: In "Bad Moon Rising", Ray revealed that he made an audio recording of Debra chewing him out so he had proof of her PMS-based mood swings. After playing the tape, Debra (bordering on tears) told him, "You are a gigantic ass!" and left. At this, Ray talked into the tape recorder: "10:32: "Gigantic ass"."
- Not Helping Your Case: In "The Cult", Robert says he joined the cult to get love. Marie replies: "You have that here, you stupid ass!"
: How could we respect a guy who said, "Stop brushing your teeth so loud! I'm trying to watch Gunsmoke
: You did
brush loudly, Robert. Robert
: Are ya helpin' me, ma?
- In "Homework", Ray gives a speech to the PTA about lessening the homework load. However, he basically negates any points he made by using technically bad grammar at the end of it:
Ray: It feels like the kids today have ten times the homework we had. You know? And I don't want my daughter to hate learning; I want her to be curious and thoughtful, and, I think I speak for all parents, I want her to be happy. I mean, I think there's homework that's important and everything, but then I feel like there's overload. Are we piling it on? We're so worried that our children aren't going to be competitive in the future that we're taking away their present. (pause) Anyway, maybe we could all just keep that in mind. Because after all, isn't that the kind of school we want our children to be a part of? (is about the leave the podium, but returns when he realizes he ended a sentence with a preposition) I mean, "in". I mean, "of". I mean, "a part of". I mean... isn't that- isn't that the kind of school we want our children to be a part of. (pause) In. (sits down)
Teacher: (to another teacher) And you wanted to cut down on the English homework.
- In "Father Knows Least", Debra wants herself and Ray to attend a parenting class. Ray doesn't want to, and says that his parents never took a parenting class. Debra gives him a look that basically says, "That's not helping your argument."
- Similarly, in "The Annoying Kid", Debra complains that she doesn't have any friends. Ray says, "I'm your friend." Debra responds, "This is the argument??"
- In "Lateness", Amy goads Robert into seeing Dr. Greenburg for therapy:
Amy: I just think you could be happier!
Robert: Do we have to talk about this here?
Amy: I just want you to feel better about who you are!
Robert: (angrily) I AM FANTASTIC ABOUT WHO I AM!!!
- In "Seasons Greetings", when Ray criticizes the way Debra and Marie worded the section about his job in the Christmas letter:
- Not So Different: Marie and Debra. Think about it. Their personalities really aren't very different at all, especially in their desires for complete and utter control over Ray.
- Ray and cousin Gerard. Namely the whiny, nasal voice.
- In "Peter on the Couch", Robert realizes that he and Peter are a lot alike, in that they both lived at home for forty years and were suddenly on their own. Considering that Peter tried to break up Robert and Amy's wedding (and Peter and Robert had a feud in this episode), it's kind of sweet when the two find common ground and Robert agrees to help him find his own place.
- Not What It Looks Like: Subverted in "Sleepover at Peggy's"; Ray patting Robert's butt was meant to demonstrate what Peggy did to Ray, but since Ray didn't want Debra to know that, he pretended he was showing Robert how the college and pro football players pat each other.
Debra: I'll let you guys get back to your "half-time show"...
- Similarly, in "Debra's Parents", just as Hank and Pat show up for Thanksgiving, they see Warren and Lois in nothing but bed sheets, with Warren proudly proclaiming to Debra, "Sweetie, you don't have to be married to have sex!" Hank and Pat are shocked, so Robert quickly covers, saying that they're rehearsing a play.
- In "The Apartment", two women invite Robert to an apartment-wide party. He goes to get his checkbook, and while he's gone, Debra comes in. When Robert returns, he gives them a check and says, "Here's your money, girls!" One of the women jokes, "Thanks, but we don't usually take checks. (laughs)"
- In "Cruising With Marie", the activities director doesn't believe Ray when he says that Marie is his mother, not his older lover. Ray's insistence on this fact isn't helped by a scene later in the episode when Ray says he doesn't know how to dance, and Marie shows him. Guess who walks by their room when this occurs?
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Several episodes suggest that Ray is actually far more clever than he lets on. One episode has him & Frank actually telling Robert to deliberately act this way so the wife will do all the work.
- The idea of Ray being more clever than he lets on is hinted at further during the "Angry Sex" episode: if you look closely during one scene, Ray is actually reading a book about Zen Buddhism.
Ray: I may seem stupid, but that's just to get your mother to not ask me to do stuff, okay?
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Frank, Marie, and Robert are practically the Trope Codifiers
- Obvious Beta: In "Security", Ray is irritated that the alarm system that Robert installed keeps going off for no reason at all.
: Yeah well, you know, the Excalibur 2000 can be a little buggy. For an additional $99 a month, I could install an upgrade. Ray
: Yeah, how 'bout I install my foot right up your- Debra
- Obvious Stunt Double: In the opening credits for an early series, Ray Romano needed to be seen performing desperate athletic feats, such as propelling himself across the living-room on a tea-trolley and somersaulting towards the door to lock it - in order to prevent his parents getting in. It only becomes apparent a stunt double was used if you look really closely. note
- Occidental Otaku: Peter.
- Oh Crap!: In "Bad Moon Rising", Ray buys Debra some pills for PMS, and says it should take care of all her symptoms. Debra examines the package and her reaction causes an Oh Crap! response in Ray:
Debra: Except for "bitchy", right, Ray?
Debra: (raising voice) I mean there's nothing in here for BITCHY.
Ray: ...Probably need a prescription for "bitchy"...
- From the episode "Frank's Tribute," a few hours after Marie storms upstairs after Frank refuses to talk about his issues with her, Frank goes upstairs to find her in bed, seemingly asleep. He gets in next to her, and...
Marie: We're going to talk about this, you know.
Frank: Oh, crap!
- Older Than They Look: Played for laughs in numerous episodes; Frank will claim that Marie is impossibly old, often claiming she's as old as cavemen or dinosaurs.
Marie: When I was your age-
Frank: You sat around the fire and wondered how it got there.
- Or this example, from the finale:
Marie: What's my birthday?
Ray: Uh, December 9th.
- One-Shot Character: A relative rarity for the series; it was more content to focus the storylines on the five main characters. Regardless, there were some one-shot characters over the years:
- "Pilot": Leo, a friend of Ray's who is never featured in any other episode
- "I Wish I Were Gus": Aunt Alda
- "All I Want For Christmas": Erin
- "The Sitter": Lisa
- "Working Girl": Charlotte
- "The Sister": Jennifer, Debra's sister
- "Debra's Workouts": Nick the aerobics class instructor
- "The Christmas Picture": Steven Golden the photographer
- "Marie and Frank's New Friends": Seth
- "Italy": Aunt Colleta, Giorgio
- "Ray Home Alone": Robert's girlfriend Eileen
- "The Walk to the Door": Elizabeth, the woman that Ray didn't walk to the door when they were teens
- "The Angry Family": The school counselor
- "Older Women": Emma, Warren's older girlfriend
- "Raybert": Natasha, Robert's girlfriend who thought he was Ray Barone
- "Homework": Miss Purcell
- "She's the One": Angela, Robert's fly-eating girlfriend
- "The Annoying Kid": Spencer, as well as his parents
- "Somebody Hates Raymond": Jerry Musso
- "The Shower": Mr. Hodell; Officer Keon
- "Robert's Wedding": Reverend Stevens
- "The Mentor": Sammy
- "Not So Fast": The condo president and his assistant
- "Ally's F": Mr. Putnam
- "Boys' Therapy": Cousin Bella
- "The Faux Pas": George and his son, Chris
- "The Finale": The doctor and his assistant
- Only Sane Man: Ray, particularly in the early season.
- The kids, fit this trope throughout the entire series, as they were the only characters who appeared to be relatively "normal."
- Amy as well. It's true that she was a bit naive, but for the most part she was one of the few "normal" members of the family.
- Debra is this on occasion as well. Though, she can be just as crazy and a Jerkass as the others. Frank considers himself and Debra as the "normal ones".
Debra:: When I got married, I didn't just get a husband, I got a whole freak show that set up their tent right across the street!
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Frank suddenly compliments Ray's writing in "You Bet", Ray suspects something's up (turns out Frank was pumping Ray for information about sports teams to win bets).
- While Robert initially enjoyed the attention Marie suddenly lavishes on him in "Pants on Fire", he suspects she has other motives for it (he's right; it was just to make Ray jealous).
- Open Heart Dentistry: When policeman Robert Barone thinks he has to deliver Debra's baby during a traffic jam on the Queensborough Bridge while rushing her to hospital. Fortunately for Allie and Debra, it's a false alarm.
- Ordered Apology: In "Ray's Journal", Debra is aghast that Marie made Ray apologize for private thoughts he wrote 25 years ago. Marie retorts with a hypothetical scenario, which convinces Debra to force Ray to apologize again:
Marie: Imagine little Michael, who loves you, who lights up whenever you get near him. Now imagine him at fourteen, and he doesn't talk to you anymore. And you don't want to push him, so you just offer him more love. And then one night you make him his favorite dinner and you try to give him a kiss good night, but he walks upstairs with a grunt. Then one day, you come across his journal, and you open it, and it says "I hate my mom." I wouldn't wish that on you, Debra.
Debra: Apologize to your mother.
Ray: ...I already did.
Debra: DO IT AGAIN.
- Out-of-Character Moment: In one episode, Marie is excited by violence-heavy action movies. This seems in direct contrast to what we usually think of with her.
- Overcrank: Seen in the "Ode to Joy" and "football game" opening sequences.
- Overly Preprepared Gag: In "Blabbermouths", Ray told Debra that he had a dream where a train ("choo choo") left him behind, and was saying "Choo choo gone!" in his sleep. When Robert and Frank come over, Frank asks for the chips from Robert and both eat with their mouths open.
: Hey animals, could you chew with your mouths closed, please? Frank
: Oh sorry, don't you like the way we "chew chew"? Robert
: Hehehe, "chew chew"! "Choo choo gone!"
- Parental Favoritism: What do you think the title means?
- The Unfavourite: Where else could Robert fit?
- Amusingly, in "A Job For Robert", Marie claims that the only reason she lavished so much attention on Ray was because he was a needy, weak little boy, and she never had to worry about Robert. Of course, when Marie secretly winks at Ray, it pretty much disproves that, and she was only saying those things to butter up Robert enough so that he'd deliver on wanting to have kids with Amy.
- Also, in "Pants on Fire", Marie suddenly lavishes attention on Robert, merely because she's mad at Ray for throwing a party in her house when he was a teen.
Robert: All right, what's going on?!
Ray: Yeah, stop it, ma, you're freakin' him out.
- Parental Hypocrisy: The problem in "The Disciplinarian"; Ray and Debra realize they have a hard time telling Michael and Jeffrey to behave when they did rebellious things as teenagers. (Ray repeatedly broke curfew and Debra took her top off at Mardi Gras)
- Parenting the Husband: Used frequently, especially in the later seasons, either due to Ray being lazy or Debra wanting control over Ray. Ray at one point outright states he pretends to be a buffoon so that Debra does all the work.
- Pet the Dog
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Debra, to Warren in "Debra's Parents" when he attempts to hug her in nothing but bed sheets (he and Lois were having sex just a few minutes prior).
- Poor Man's Porn: The educational variety. In "The Invasion," Ray picks up one of his childhood encyclopedias and jokingly asks Debra if she wants to look up reproductive organs. Debra gives him a look and Ray says, "It's all I had. Until Farrah."
- In one episode, Frank is going to hold down the fort while Debra and Ray take the kids trick-or-treating, and he asks if they still have the "naked channel." Ray says it's all scrambled and Frank says, "I don't mind." In another episode, Debra mentions Ray periodically checking this channel just in case the cable company forgot to scramble it.
- Portmanteau: In "Sister-in-Law", Robert combines "jealous" and "ass" into "jealass", in describing Ray.
- Potty Failure: In "Blabbermouths", it's revealed that when Amy laughs, she pees a little. At the end of the episode, Frank walks in the house with a toupee. Everyone laughs at how ridiculous it looks, including Amy, who abruptly stops laughing and slowly crosses her legs.
- In "Who Am I?", Ray joins Frank and his old friends in the lodge steam room. To fit in, Ray admits some physical issues he's been having, and one of them is, "I got up twice last night to pee." The guys express sympathy for him, and one of them says, "At least you got up."
- Preacher Man: While not actually a preacher, Amy's father Hank definitely could have been one.
- Preemptive Apology:
Ray: So it should be all me. I should go to work and raise the kids. And what do you do all day? I'm sorry.
Debra: Excuse me??
Ray: I'm sorry.
Debra: That's right, you're sorry.
Ray: That's right, I'm sorry.
- Primal Fear: "Ray Home Alone" reveals that Ray and Robert have not quite gotten over their childhood fears of the dark.
- Prison Episode: the one where Debra is put in the tank for drunk-driving. Fortunately Lieutenant Robert Barone is nearby.
- Progressively Prettier: Debra spends the early seasons with short, dowdy hair, "mom jeans" up past her waistline, and big sweaters. By the final three seasons, she's wearing the tightest T-shirts humanly possible, painted-on jeans, and has glamorous hair, as if someone suddenly realized Patricia Heaton was attractive.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The intro to certain episodes in seasons 3-5 used Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as its theme.
- Pun: From "Confronting the Attacker" during the public service announcement where Robert's standing next to the bull that gored him:
Robert: When you're out on the street, anything can happen. And that's no bull.
- Earlier in this story arc, Frank showed Robert his favorite newspaper headline: "Runaway bull: Cop gets horny".
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: LOVELESS MARRIAGE?!
- An exchange from the episode where Robert ends up dating a girl who secretly eats bugs and raises hundreds of frogs:
Ray: Angela ate the fly! Robert: What? Debra: What?! Ray:
''The fly, that was flying around...Angela killed it, it landed on her napkin, she picked it up...and then SHE. AAAAAAATE IT!!!!!!!!''
- In "Faux Pas": "FE, FI, FAUX PAS!"
- In "Not So Fast", Robert tells God, "YOU, ARE. NOT. FUNNY!"
- Ray: In "A Vote For Debra" when Marie tries to give water to Michael and Jeffrey: "I SAID NO. MORE. WATER!!!"