#popHR Turning Point

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, February 17, 2012

In the last part of the 1990s, and early part of the 2000s, like much of America, I was a regular viewer of "Everybody Loves Raymond."  Peter Boyle always was good for a laugh or two every episode.  But, is its humor translatable across cultures?  This is the challenge of "Exporting Raymond," a 2010 comedy by the co-creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Phil Rosenthal.

Wanting to maximize the success of the sitcom, Russian TV came calling to do their own version of the show, called "Everybody Loves Kostya."  However, Rosenthal meets resistance at every turn:
*A dark, dank studio ("is this where they filmed "Saw?" a nervous Rosenthal asks
*The Russians see Raymond as too wimpy
*The costume designer wants the cast to wear hip clothes, even when doing the cleaning.
*Comic setups, such as leaving one's luggage on the steps for weeks on end that turn into a power struggle among husband and wife (who will be the one to succumb and move it), fall on deaf ears.
*The actor desired for the lead can't get out of contract with the major theater company
* Writers toiling on multiple shows and can't dedicate their full-time effort on this sitcom

While a bit broad, Rosenthal provides a lighthearted look at cultural differences, a bevy of workplace issues, and the transcendence of comedy.

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