Friday, October 1, 2010

DVR Guide - "Raising Hope"

Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) is a blue collar nobody from a family of blue collar nobodies, a kid in his late teens with no plans or goals for the future who hates his job cleaning pools. While driving home one night he "rescues" a girl from a would-be attacker, drives her home, sleeps with her, and wakes up the next morning to find that she is wanted for murdering her two previous boyfriends. When he shows up to visit her in prison, his newborn daughter is put into his possession and everything changes.

"Raising Hope" is a quirky little sitcom, full of wit but not above juvenile physical humor. It's dead pan comedy that crosses slapstick with a bit of realism, a formula that has made show creator Greg Garcia successful before. If you've ever watched and enjoyed "My Name Is Earl," then you understand the kind of humor "Raising Hope" brings to the table. The shows are extremely similar. The cast for "Hope" is quite strong, mixing a bunch of no names with "oh that's the guy from..." faces expertly. Jimmy's parents Burt and Virginia (Garrett Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton) hit their notes perfectly. Virginia has accepted her lot in life and displays little passion towards anything while Jimmy is an immature, boy-child who wears band t-shirts and pushes his nephew into bushes. Dillahunt is one of the very best character actors the industry has to offer and I would bet that he'll be an immense asset if this show gets a full season. (Plus I'm always happy to see a "Goonies" alum like Plimpton get back into the act.) Jimmy himself illustrates the disaffected, "gotta be something better" kid quite well and his lack of knowledge on how to care for a baby is only bested by his drive to give his daughter a better life than he had.

The thing that could make this show great is its touch of hope. The over-the-top ridiculousness plus redneck satire could become quite tiresome and depressing without some influence from the other side of the emotional spectrum. The hint of familial love, dysfunctional though it might be, brings balance to "Hope" and sets the table for what could be an outstanding comedy. I'm only holding back my Season Pass endorsement because I don't trust Fox to keep this thing on the air.

Verdict: Week-to-Week

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