Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

“Raising Hope” Pilot Review

Posted by Marlo Stanfield on September 22, 2010


What is this?  Throw in random things that Andrew likes to make him happy when he has to watch seven premieres this week?  Thank you for your use of “Danny’s Song,” creators of Raising Hope.

This show could be the surprise hit of the season, like Modern Family of last year.  FOX seems to be looking for the next Malcolm In The Middle, and they may have succeeded with Raising Hope.

Written and produced by My Name Is Earl’s Gregory Thomas Garcia,  Raising Hope feels very much like the show that I tried and failed to watch for five or six years. Also, the whole premise of the show reminds me of the last few seasons of Malcolm in the Middle when Francis was dealing with a brand new child of his own.

I promise I watched at least half of three episodes of you while I was playing flash games on my laptop.

Chicago actor Lucas Neff stars as Jimmy Chance, a hapless 25 year-old working for a landscaping business.  By a bizarre turn of events, Jimmy ends up as the single father of Princess Beyonce, renamed by the end of the episode.  (I’m keeping the synopsis to a minimum because the humor is dependent on the plot.)  Martha Plimpton plays Jimmy’s mother, Virginia, who gave birth to Jimmy at 18 and daylights as a housekeeper.  Cloris Leachman, God bless her, plays the senile Maw Maw, Jimmy’s grandmother.  Rounding out the cast is Garret Dillahunt as Burt, Skyler Stone as Mike, and Shannon Woodward as Sabrina, a local grocery store clerk Jimmy has an eye on.

I may be less partial to this show than most, but it’s something I’ll watch throughout this season.  Raising Hope is pretty funny, but I think it relies mostly on the situation for the joke, like the previously stated My Name is Earl. .

My favorite line of the pilot:

Virginia:  I don’t believe that.  I smoked throughout your pregnancy and you’re fine.

Jimmy: Fine?  I had asthma the first seventeen years of my life, I have seven permanent teeth that still haven’t come in, and I’m allergic to fruit.  Fruit!

The actors obviously have the chops to do the comic material  (Plimpton and Leachman especially).  The flashback portions of the show may turn off some, but it separates Raising Hope from most absurd sitcoms in that this is where the earnestness lies.  I hail from an area where I know many single parents around Jimmy and mine’s age, some with support from their families, some not.  Despite Virginia’s pleas for Jimmy to drop off Princess Beyonce at the fire station, Neff’s character states, “I want people to look at me differently.  I’m sick of people looking at me like I don’t have a purpose.”  I know it’s sentimental, but isn’t that ultimately what we want most of all?

Grade: B

I hear babies are expensive.


5 Responses to ““Raising Hope” Pilot Review”

  1. CJ Cregg said

    Yah, ok. I didn’t like this show at all. Especially in the beginning, I felt like it couldn’t get beyond frat boy humor. I do like the sentimental value, and I take to heart its ultimate message.
    But still. The whole sleeping with a serial killer who gets executed is too weird for me. The entire show is just a bit too offbeat for me.

    I just didn’t find it that funny. Although the earnestness of the main character was touching.

    Grade: C-

  2. Mr. Feeny said

    Thank goodness. I was really beginning to worry that Marlo and I were bringing the exact same thing to this blog. Of course, as a result, I now have the same opinion as CJ. Actually, almost exactly the same.

    I didn’t think it was that funny. There were some lines I definitely laughed at, and I liked the sincerity of the delivery from Neff and Woodward (my favorite character). But CJ’s right. The humor is too off-beat. It’s low brow (not as low as some other sitcoms) and often cringe-worthy. I thought the supporting cast was terrible (including Leachman, who I haven’t liked since “Mary Tyler Moore”…excluding Woodward). This is the type of show I’ll tune in to now and then to see if I like it more, but I’m not interested in watching again next week.

    And the circumstances leading to this plot, which CJ alluded to, are the most ridiculous in the history of television.

    Grade: C

  3. […] intent of this blog isn’t to give you reviews of all the latest shows, as there are many fine websites already doing just that. I like to look back at shows with the perspective of time, especially […]

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