In addition to the many shows I recap here in the blog, I also watch a bunch more that I just don’t have time to write about. One of my favorite new series this season has been the comedy ‘Raising Hope’ on Fox. If you haven’t checked this out yet, the network is re-running the pilot episode tonight after ‘Glee’. Give this one a shot. It’s funny. I promise.
By and large, this new TV season has been kind of a bust when it comes to new series. I’ve already dropped ‘Undercovers‘ and ‘No Ordinary Family‘. ‘The Event‘ is hanging on by a thread. I’m taking that one episode-by-episode, and could give up on it at any minute. The only new shows I’ve scheduled for Series Recordings on my DVR are ‘Terriers’ on FX (a great show that I really ought to give some coverage here), ‘Hawaii Five-0‘ (not a great show, but reasonably entertaining), and ‘Raising Hope’.
‘Hope’ is the new sitcom from Greg Garcia, creator of ‘My Name Is Earl’. Yes, you may be thinking about how tepidly ‘Earl’ petered out in its last few seasons, but try to remember how fresh and funny it was when it started. The pilot episode of ‘Hope’ even gets in a pretty funny pot-shot about NBC canceling ‘Earl’ without resolution to the storyline.
The seies is about an early-20s slacker named Jimmy (Lucas Neff) who still lives with his parents. The family is kind of white trashy and lives on the fringe, barely scraping by. The mother (Martha Plimpton) cleans houses to make ends meet – and also to obsessively collect all the junk that wealthier families throw out. Jimmy and his father (Garret Dillahunt) do lawn work and clean pools. The batty grandmother (Cloris Leachman) has only brief moments of lucidity. Through a convoluted chain of events involving a one-night-stand with a serial killer, Jimmy inherits a young baby daughter named Hope. And, well, now the family has to figure out what to do with the damn thing. His mother insists that he just dump the kid at the fire station and forget about her, but Jimmy decides that he wants to step up and give parenthood a shot.
The show has a very loopy sense of humor that often skews into black comedy, yet it’s also permeated with a sweetness that keeps all the characters likeable and sympathetic. I’ve seen Dillahunt in probably a hundred other TV series (seriously, are they any shows he hasn’t appeared in?), but I never thought of him as funny before. Turns out that he has a pretty good flair for comedy. And Leachman is a hoot whenever she gets screen time.
The first episode is kind of important in setting up the basic premise and establishing the tone of the show. After that, you shouldn’t worry about missing any of the other episodes that have aired. This isn’t a serial narrative by any means. You should be able to pick it up pretty easily.
I’m not sure how well ‘Raising Hope’ is doing in the ratings. Give it a try. It’s worth some attention.