Raising Hope: An Introduction and A ReCap

You may start to think that all I do is watch television– what, with the weekly Parenthood recaps and now branching out to the new show on Fox called Raising Hope. I’ll let you in on a secret: On Tuesday nights, I do plop down at 8pm and try my hardest not to get up until 11pm. First it’s Glee. Then it’s Raising Hope. Then it’s Parenthood.

Parenthood got shoved aside this week for a marathon of the Biggest Loser. So I turned my TV Recap spot to face Raising Hope instead.

For those unfamiliar, Raising Hope is a half hour comedy starring Martha Plimpton (of the movie Parenthood, btw) and a strong supporting cast. Martha doesn’t play the teenager anymore, in this series she is the grandmother. She plays Virginia Chance, a not-yet-forty year old mom to now 23 year old Jimmy. Jimmy still lives at home with his mom and dad (who in turn, still live with Virginia’s grandmother), and when his one night stand drops a baby in his lap, their family of semi-adults will never be the same.

Each week there is misadventure and comedy, with Jimmy’s dad, Burt, causing a good part of it. To type out the plot lines would make them sound ridiculous — would you really watch an episode based around a baby stuck in a garage full of junk, whose only hope is to get freed by her great grandmother, the crazy Jenga pro? Or would you watch an episode based around legendary rock star “Smoky Floyd” who goes from idol to idiot in the course of twenty minutes? Maybe yes, maybe no.

What I love about Raising Hope though, is the love that Jimmy’s family has for each other. The show also portrays parenting in a sometimes skewed, yet realistic light. In one episode, Hope has a cold. Jimmy freaks out, and tries to get Hope into a doctor, but he soon learns he has no health insurance. What ensues is a hilarious episode of jimmy trying to get a second job behind his dad’s back, while his dad does the same, both with the goal of getting insurance for Hope. It was a funny episode, but at the heart of it was both men stepping up to provide for the child they love.

Tuesday night’s episode had the theme of unrealized dreams. Jimmy’s parents notice that he’s dragging a little on the bed time story duty, and Jimmy admits he feels like he needs more. He starts drawing again, and finds success and satisfaction. This exercise causes Burt’s own restlessness to stir, reminding of the chance he once had to play with the legendary “Smoky Floyd”. “Since your mom had detention, I had to take you,” Burt said to Jimmy, retelling the story. Basically, Burth thinks that having a baby kept him out of rock and roll. A few things fall into place, and Jimmy arranges for Burt to play with Smoky locally. Turns out, Smoky’s a douche. Burt then gains recognition for knocking him out. See? It sounds crazy. But it’s heartwarming and amusing, I promise. (procrastibate! ~ed.)

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