It is in laughter that we make meaningful the comic representations of later life romantic relationships such as that of Frank (Peter Doyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts) Marone in the Emmy award winning situated comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. Some argue that we laugh at such representations to render possible images as obscene, such as older adult sexuality, infidelity, and divorce; laughter serves to keep such images buried and hidden. Certainly many, if not most, images of older adult romantic relationship in film and television limit and push frank conversations about the conditions of later life behind closed doors, behind the mocking voice of the laughter curtain.
Yet in some cases we laugh with the stories being told through image. It is our shared laughter and talk about those stories that we imagine the unseen and unspoken possibility for later life committed relationships. The comic narrative, particularly the characterization of Frank and Marie Marone in this montage and the situated comedy at large, offer more for imagination. Comic devices often situate the viewer with the characters, opening opportunities for identification and imagination of that which is both implied and absent in the images. In such instances serious relational matters framed comically, such as the final clip when Marie confronts Frank for his inability to talk openly and give back those who love him, can enable an opening for critical assessment of relationships, our own and others.