Robert Barone is a quirky, quirky guy, and we love him for it, if we are going to be completely honest. One of his most notable traits is the odd habit of touching all his food to his chin before chowing down on it. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for it, but it’s harmless, and eventually, the Barone grandchildren start imitating him.
Believe it or not, this habit comes from Ray Romano’s real brother, on which Robert is based, who has the same odd, memorable habit. There’s still no explanation for why anybody does this, but…it still happens.
Made up on the Spot
One of the endearing throughlines of the entire show was the nicknames that Raymond calls Debra. As it turns out, every single one of those nicknames was improvised by Ray Romano, and he would even come up with a new one if he had to shoot the same scene several times. He seemed to have an unlimited number of names for her.
Each and every time, it was a different nickname, no matter how many takes were required for a scene. Must have been hard for Patricia Heaton to not break character if he came in with a different weird name every time.
A Different Kind of Audition
There are a lot of clear reasons why Patricia Heaton got cast as Debra – she has great acting talent, she has a good mom/wife look to her, and she worked perfectly against Ray's parents. However, according to Ray Romano, there is another reason that she was his pick for playing his on-screen wife – she was the only one that was willing to kiss him on the lips during the audition.
This raises a number of other questions, such as why wouldn't anyone else kiss him on the lips, as well as why this was the most important part. It was baffling.
The Proper Background
We get to meet a whole lot of the Barone family over the course of the show, and the name, mannerisms, and background tell us that they are a classic Italian family – angry and loving, crabby yet cheerful. However, if you look into the background of the actors, you will notice something quite funny about the fact that they were cast to begin with.
The only one who is Italian in real life is Ray Romano – everyone else is of some other nationality. Sure, Debra, Marie, and the children might not be full-blooded, but not even Brad Garrett or Peter Boyle are Italian – they're just darn fine actors.
Not in Every Episode
Out of all the principal actors, only two of them appear in every episode: Ray Romano (no surprise there) and Doris Roberts. All of the other adult actors had at least one episode off. Brad Garrett and Patricia Heaton had one each (“Fun With Debra” and “Cruising with Marie” respectively), while Peter Boyle had a whopping four episodes to kick back and relax: “Working Girl,” “Dancing with Debra,” “How They Met,” and “Sleepover at Peggy's.”
Likely, these were just because of the episode plotlines, though it's possible that Boyle asked for a little bit of time off for his health.