Life Without 'Raymond'

"Everybody Loves Raymond" TV series cast (l-r): Ray Romano (holding his son Joe), and Patricia Heaton applaud the studio audience at the close of a taping of one of the final episodes of the show, 1-13-05
In the grand finale of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Raymond nearly died.

Well, not really. But while Raymond was having his adenoids removed, the nurse told his family he was having trouble waking from the anesthesia.

A few moments later, the doctor reported that he was fine.

But this momentary close call got everybody agitated over what it would be like to actually lose Raymond.

"For 30 seconds, you all thought I might be dead," he said later when his family had told him what happened. A sly smile crept across his face as he prepared to take full advantage of their momentary scare. "What did everybody do?"

So went Monday night's funny finale of "Everybody Loves Raymond," which, in its own indirect way, addressed viewers, too, who now are losing Raymond after 210 episodes.

It was a typical outing, with just a little farewell tenderness - in Raymond's throat after the surgery, which he was nursing with ice cream, and in the hearts of the usually bickering Barones.

But just a little. "Raymond" was a series that, even at the end, wouldn't think of going soft on the domestic tensions that bonded Raymond (Ray Romano) with his wife Debra (Patricia Heaton), his meddling parents Frank and Marie (Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts), and his sad-sack brother Robert (Brad Garrett).

As usual, Raymond played his long-suffering wife against his over-adoring mother.

"You'll just have to have it done," Debra said when he told her he would need to have the surgery.

"Is that it? That's your attitude?" Raymond replied, indignant that she wasn't more upset.