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In the Everybody Loves Raymond series, why does Frank (the Grandfather) always opens the zip of his pants when he sits down in chair?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

People sometimes undo their pants when the are bloated after a meal. The ever-uncouth Frank does this routinely, in front of others, reminding us that he really doesn't care what anyone thinks about him. This was a running gag that appears to have been originated by the creators of the show.

In a book about the creation of the series, You're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom, Phil Rosenthal writes about the casting of Frank Barone. They were looking for a "nonethnic ethnic" to contrast with the more ethnic Italian/Jewish Ray Romano and Brad Garrett. When Peter Boyle arrived for the audition he was furious because he had had trouble finding the place.

He scared me, and I gave him the part.

He happened to be funny, too, when he calmed down. But we saw that we could use a little of that anger... Lucky for us, he was also hilarious at sitting in a chair with his pants open and rifling one-liner at his wife, his sons, and anyone else in range. We had the father.

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Interesting additional trivia from the book: Boyle was once a monk, and John Lennon was the best man at his wedding. – MJ6 Nov 2 '12 at 4:50

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