Raising Hope Raises Expectations

Cameron Hines

It takes quite a bit for a TV show about a “wacky family” and their week-to-week hijinks to distinguish itself from the plethora of current shows based on this premise, but somehow Fox’s Raising Hope has done just that.

The show follows the Chance family, which is made up of characters all unique in their own ways. First there’s Jimmy and his adventures in raising his daughter Hope (get it?). However, there is no mother in the picture. See, one night Jimmy was driving and this crazed girl got his attention. She said she was being chased and needed a place to lie low. So where did Jimmy have in mind? His car. And in the moment of the confusion and passion of her appearing, they proceeded to make love.

He brings her home, and they all are enjoying a nice breakfast, when what should come on but a news alert about a serial killer that escaped. And this serial killer looks eerily similar to the girl that Jimmy entertained the night before. She is then struck by Jimmy’s mother Virginia by a TV and taken away to jail. Nine months later, his daughter Hope is born, and he is now charged with her upbringing. That is the premise of the show.

Jimmy is joined by his mother Virginia and father Burt, who were also young parents when Jimmy was born. There is also Maw Maw, Jimmy’s senile grandmother. They are supported by a cast more colorful than a box of crayons, from Frank the creepy grocery store clerk, to Dancin’ Dave, a guy who rollerblades around listening to his boom box.

The characters and humor are wonderful, though a few of the jokes can at times fall flat as they really play to the lowest level of humor. But this does come anywhere close to ruining a great show.

What makes the show exceptional is the earnestness and sweetness, as you truly see a boy trying to do right by his daughter and be the best father possible so she grows up well. It’s truly a wonderful show that is not only funny, but also feels realistic of a family hanging together as they face all sorts of problems that any family is subject to.

If you are interested in starting the show, but intimidated by the fact that it’s on its third season and worried you can’t catch up, fear not: the show plays by a week-to-week storyline structure, so you can really jump in at an point and understand what’s going on.