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Everybody Loves Raymond Fans Make It Abundantly Clear Who The Worst Character Is

"Everybody Loves Raymond" is one of the most popular TV sitcoms of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It centers around stereotypically shlubby sitcom dad Ray Barone (played by successful standup comedian Ray Romano). Ray's behavior is irreverent and sarcastic in even the most serious situations; his wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) is out of his league as far as intelligence, maturity, and responsibility goes; and his wildly dysfunctional family, which includes parents Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts) and brother Robert (Brad Garrett), is rarely ever examined through anything other than the lens of comedic fodder.

The casual observer might think Ray himself would be a shoo-in for the worst character on the show. However, it may surprise you to find out that there's someone else who fans dislike more than the series' titular protagonist. Funnily enough, the one character who fans hated more than any other guest or regular on the series was an actor who only appeared in one episode. But where that actor ended up after the show's run is very interesting — especially considering why he earned the ire of so many "Everybody Loves Raymond" fans.

Everybody loved Raymond, but nobody loved Spencer

In Season 7, Episode 8, "Annoying Kid," child actor Brett Buford plays annoying kid Spencer Williamson. His parents, Lauren and Neil (played by Cheryl Hines and Craig Anton) seem mostly oblivious to his behavioral issues throughout the 22-minute episode in which he terrorizes Ray. The little boy insults Ray with fridge magnets, wastes a perfectly good cannoli, tries to get out of it all by pretending to be a robot, and hurts Ray's heinie by tricking him into sitting on the pointy end of a toy gun.

Based on the fan chatter in — and the title of — this Reddit thread, Spencer was crowned the absolute worst. Many Redditors, like u/Sometimesahippie, u/Pocketsand16, u/diakent, and u/btvs97_, can't even watch reruns of that particular episode because of the child's infuriating behavior. Another user, u/Booksmagic, felt the same way about Spencer but also blamed Neil and Lauren for failing to discipline their son. "I honestly hated that kid," they wrote. "And I hated his parents more for enabling that behavior and doing nothing about it."

Redditor u/debsterUK — perhaps with a bit of malicious intent — pointed out that according to the young actor's IMDb page, he hasn't worked in the entertainment industry since 2007. But there's a very interesting reason for that which might be related to the backlash the episode received, but not in the way you might think.

Buford is all grown up and helping kids like Spencer in real life

During the episode, the show makes a punchline out of Spencer's parents calling him "gifted." in hindsight, however, his character does seem to exhibit symptoms of neurodiversity. Spencer is clearly hyperactive, creative, and possesses trivial knowledge of spider biology, which helps him easily win a debate against Raymond's supposedly superior adult intellect. But by the end of the episode, what could have been a teachable moment is sacrificed for the sake of cheap laughs. Ray and Debra celebrate a victory of sorts for their "conventional" parenting style (i.e. yelling at children and intimidating them into obeying instead of teaching them how to behave) after Spencer stomps on his father's foot and embarrasses his parents in front of the Barones.

It's hard to say whether the experience of playing such a character directly influenced the former actor's current real-life trajectory, or whether it was just a coincidence that he ended up where he is today. But according to the Keck Graduate Institute's OTD Scholarship page, the young man is currently conducting doctorate-level research in Occupational Therapy with a specific focus on pediatric mental health. And it's a very prestigious school, ranking 44th place out of over 2,000 other universities, according to College Factual's 2022 report. It's interesting to think that future breakthroughs in pediatric mental health care might have been brought about by a '90s sitcom that arguably trivialized and poked fun at that exact same subject.