Updated: Oct 27, 2020
By Gabriella Greenhill
Graphic by Rafael Zavala
Being the child of sitcom loving parents, it comes to no surprise that I began to love the very same sitcoms I was forced to watch. I used to really enjoy “Everybody Loves Raymond” in particular, but, after watching the episode, “Bad Moon Rising” my enjoyment and love for the show incarnated instantly. In the episode Raymond blames his wife, Debra’s, aggression on her supposed PMS (premenstrual syndrome), instead of pointing the blame for her aggression at some of the actions he did.
My hatred for this show spikes as Raymond starts the episode with condescendingly expressing to his friends, brother, and father that Debra “is not feeling well hormonally.” All knowing what Raymond is referring to his father, Frank, chimes in with “Oh, got it, the enemy within!”
Debra soon makes her first appearance through yelling at Raymond about his inability to put his dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the hamper. After she leaves, Raymond explains to his group of friends that the reason as to why Debra yelled at him was ONLY because of her “mood swings” instead of his ability to do household chores.
One of his friends begs the question if “Debra is aware of how she is coming off to others?”, which Raymond rebuttals, “she doesn’t hear herself and if I bring it up to her she gets all nuts and denies it. That's the sickness.” Instead of anyone defending Debra, Raymond’s friends continue to question as to “why can’t she take something for this?”
Throughout the episode there was NOT ONE mention of the actual term “period” instead there was “lady’s day”, “problem”, “something”, “mood swings”, “it”, and PMS. Raymond, kind of embarrassed, says that he’ll just wait out Debra’s “mood swings” to which his father, Frank, reprimands him by saying “pretty soon she’s gonna get a mood that lasts 5 days, then, it’s a week and before you know it what use to be a bad mood now takes over and becomes her only mood. And then, you become like me. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish there was a comet screaming towards earth to bring me sweet relief.” Cue nonsensical laugh track.
After hanging out with his friends, Raymond tries to console Debra after both just coming back home. The conservation starts off his emphasis on his wrong pronunciation of the word “femininely” as if it’s such a taboo to take women seriously. He then tries to mansplain a period to Debra and even tries to dissociate the period from her actions. He actually says, “I know it’s not your fault. I understand that. It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde thing, only more Hyde, he’s the bad one-the bad one’s Hyde right? Whatever it is, I know it’s not you that’s yelling at my friends for making a mess or getting crazy about clothes on the hamper, I know that, that’s not you. That’s Hyde, he’s the bad one.” He then segues into offering Debra menstrual relief pills and quotes, “I want to help you feel better, you know and this-this should take care of all your symptoms.” Keep in mind this is all happening way before the halfway mark of a 20 minute episode.
Justice was served when Raymond’s mother, Marie, comes into his house mid Debra’s rebuttal of Raymond buying her menstrual relief pills, and slaps her son for his insensitive purchase. She then slaps him for a second time out of rage and fear that her son is turning into his insensitive, comet praying father, Frank.
Leaving the house to decompress, Debra comes home to an enraged Raymond and finds herself arguing yet again with her husband about her period. Raymond taunts her with a marked calendar of the same day every month where Debra gets her period and treats him like “sh*t”. He even condescendingly whips out a tape recorder and plays the “4:38pm tape recording” of Debra yelling at him and claims “I just thought you’d want to hear what you sound like when you’re like this.”
For the episode to go on for as long as it did without writing remorse into Raymond’s line is ridiculous. Instead, the writers choose Debra to be the one to apologize for her aggression that was really only caused by Raymond’s crap personality and insensitive tendencies. And then, only after Debra nonsensically apologizes and tries to console her husband’s feelings and even sort things out like rational adults, Raymond, after learning nothing, tries to purposely shove “irritability that could be related to PMS” curing pills. He shoves the pills in Debra’s face, nearing her mouth, as if she was a baby being fed. Raymond taunts her with the pills signaling that all men have the solution to every problem that involves a woman’s body.
I didn't laugh ONCE at this episode, no matter all the inappropriately placed laugh tracks. It’s disheartening to know that there are men in this world that are as insensitive as Raymond and even some that are worse. I despise those men.
Why can’t I, a woman, be aggressive because maybe you’re the one provoking my aggression? It should not matter when I’m being aggressive; whether my aggression coexists with the timing of my period. Being hormonal while on my period should not mean you can dismiss what I have to contribute and say. I am as present in what I have to say whether I am less or more hormonal.
Dismissing women because “oh, they’re on their period” or “oh, they’re PMSing” is not to be encouraged. We are being labeled irrational, impossible, aggressive, preposterous, emotional, vindictive, or hypersensitive all because of a bodily function in which we can’t control.
How would you feel if every time you were angry your emotions were not taken seriously because of what week of the month it is? How would you feel if your aggression could only seemingly be because of a bodily function? A bodily function in which you have constant blood uncontrollably flowing while you sleep, eat, talk, use the bathroom, write, read, cook, use the phone, drive or even while you daydream. How would you feel if you have to put half of your already lower wage money on items that have a “luxury” tax such as pads, tampons, and diva cups? How would you feel if now you have to deal with not having free birth control provided through either your university or job anymore? And if all that wasn’t bad enough, how would you feel being those unlucky women who don’t even have access to those “luxury” options or anything to provide them comfort while going through a normal bodily function.
“If there is EVER anything wrong, it’s PMS”, is a Debra quote every woman feels.
Written by writer Gabriella Greenhill