Marie’s Most Passive Aggressive Mother-in-Law Moments on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’
Over the nine seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond, Marie Barone (Doris Roberts), Raymond’s meddlesome mother, wielded her conniving wit like a knife, making sure that Ray, her daughter-in-law Debra, her son Robert and her husband Frank always bent to her will. Yet, thanks to the masterful performance of the late Roberts, it was clear that she still loved each and every member of her family — even Debra. That love was just wrapped in a whole lotta (hilarious) passive aggression. Here, then, are Marie’s most passive-aggressive moments from every Everybody Loves Raymond season.
Season One: A Very Fishy Thanksgiving
Marie’s Manipulation: Thanksgiving would become a regular point of contention during the series, and the stage (table?) was set all the way back in Season One, when Debra insisted that Thanksgiving be held at her and Ray’s house. For Marie, this was upsetting enough, but when she discovers that Debra is making fish instead of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey, she decides to upstage Debra by bringing a bird of her own to the holiday festivities.
Season Two: Meatball Subterfuge
Marie’s Manipulation: Among Marie’s defining traits is that she’s a fantastic cook, something she regularly rubs in the face of her daughter-in-law. In “Marie’s Meatballs,” Debra humbles herself by asking for Marie’s meatball recipe. But instead of taking it as a compliment, Marie views the request as a threat and sabotages Debra’s meatballs by putting an oregano label on a bottle of tarragon, making them decidedly less mouthwatering.
Season Three: Exchanging Raymond’s Christmas Gift
Marie’s Manipulation: Raymond is usually babied by his mother, so she rarely turns her passive-aggressive ways on him. But when she does for the Season Three Christmas episode, it backfires on her in a big way. Marie asks Raymond for a coffee maker for Christmas, but when she receives a toaster instead, she returns it without even looking at it. Raymond later tells her that he and her grandchildren had the toaster engraved for her. And so, Marie’s typical passive aggression turns to outright aggression when she’s wrestling the toaster away from another woman at the store.
Season Four: Battle of the Braciole
Victim: Debra and Frank
Marie’s Manipulation: Debra breaks her bad cooking streak when she makes a braciole better than Marie’s. With Raymond, Frank and everyone else preferring Debra’s braciole over her own, Marie goes crazy with jealousy and begins to criticize Debra even more than usual. Frank feels the wrath, too, as Marie refuses to cook him dinner one night.
Season Five: Staging an Intervention for Robert’s Dating Life
Marie’s Manipulation: When Marie turns her focus on her eldest son, Robert, she usually finds a way to humiliate him. In Season Five, Marie gets fed up with Robert's perpetual bachelorhood and his obvious fear of commitment, so she holds an intervention with him, his female partner at the police department and two of his ex-girlfriends.
Season Six: Sabotaging Robert’s Career Advancement
Marie’s Manipulation: When Robert goes on a job interview with the FBI, Marie is afraid of him being in harm’s way, so she sabotages the interview in a number of different ways. First, she ruins Robert’s lucky suit when she burns it with an iron, then she sends a fax to the interviewer at the FBI telling him all about Robert’s lucky suit. Of course, the letter from his mother makes Robert look crazy and he doesn’t get the job.
Season Seven: A Real Fork You
Marie’s Manipulation: In what many cite as the best episode of the entire series, Marie reveals that one of her longest passive-aggressive grudges relates to an oversized fork and spoon that hang in her kitchen. They were a wedding present from Frank’s aunt, so Marie felt he should return them, but Frank felt that, as the wife, it was Marie’s duty. Frank upped the ante by nailing the spoon to the wall. Marie countered by hanging the fork up higher than the spoon. The utensils then remained on their kitchen wall for the next 40 years out of sheer spite.
Season Eight: The Thank-You-Note Guilt Trap
Marie’s Manipulation: In the final two seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond, Marie and Debra’s rivalry softened and Marie set her sights on Amy, Robert’s new wife. Their first fight occurred as soon as Robert and Amy returned from their honeymoon and Marie insisted that their thank you cards for the wedding were well overdue. She then proceeds to guilt Amy into doing them.
Season Nine: Setting the Mood
Victim: Robert and Amy
Marie’s Manipulation: Marie begins to butter up Robert and Amy by ensuring that they’re both relaxed and getting plenty of alone time. Eventually, Ray figures out that it’s all an elaborate plot to get Robert and Amy to make some grandchildren for her.