In Season 5, Episode 13 (“Super Bowl”), Ray’s job as a sports columnist earns him a weekend trip for two to Tampa for the Super Bowl. Ray doesn’t hesitate to invite his friend Gianni (Jon Manfrellotti) over, much to Debra’s annoyance. She says: “You get to go on this great journey and it didn’t even occur to you to ask me?”
After arriving in Tampa and seeing the other men with their wives, Ray asks Debra to come down. However, she quickly becomes excited when she learns that she will be spending most of the trip with the other women. Of course, there is an explosion between Debra and Ray. To calm her down, Ray tears up both Super Bowl tickets. This also angers Debra, who asks him, “How selfish do you think I am?”
On Reddit, many fans agreed that this episode shows Debra at her absolute worst. Redditor u/karti24 said, “I feel like she pushed and shoved Ray until he ripped up his Super Bowl tickets, and then when she realized how awful she looked, she completely backed off.” Meanwhile, u/GiggityDPT said: “She was completely unreasonable and made a fun, memorable excursion into just another of her ‘you’re a bad husband’ arguments.” And u/Character-Attorney22 pointed out that Debra would, if the tables were turned in this situation Not were satisfied with Ray’s behavior.
As for Patricia Heaton herself, she has a more forgiving take on Ray and Debra’s marital troubles. Speaking to FoundationINTERVIEWS, Heaton said, “I think what saved Debra and Ray’s marriage … is knowing that your spouse ultimately means well. And it’s one thing when they do things on purpose, but when they’re like, ‘You’re just an idiot … then they kind of can’t help it.’