Raising Hope is an American sitcom created by Greg Garcia that aired on Fox from September 21, 2010 to April 4, 2014. Garcia is also the creator of My Name Is Earl, and that show’s sweetly absurd tone is present in Raising Hope as well. Fans can still watch Raising Hope online.
The offbeat comedy centers on James “Jimmy” Chance (Lucas Neff), a kind but clueless 24-year-old who gets beautiful serial killer Lucy Carlyle (Bijou Phillips) pregnant during a one-night stand. Jimmy gains custody of his daughter, Princess Beyonce (Baylie and Rylie Cregut), when Lucy is sentenced to the electric chair.
Jimmy brings his daughter home to live in the house he shares with his parents, Burt (Garrett Dillahunt), who runs a lawn and pool service, and Virginia (Martha Plimpton), a surly cleaning lady. All three look after Jimmy’s senile great grandmother, Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman), who has a habit of walking around topless. Burt and Virginia doubt Jimmy can handle raising a child but reluctantly agree to help. They rename the baby Hope.
Raising Hope received positive reviews during its run:
“I’m already sold. Plimpton is sensational as Jimmy’s tough-as-nails mom,” TV Guide’s Matt Roush wrote.
USA Today’s Robert Bianco said, “It has a very good cast, with Neff and Dillahunt sure to be welcome weekly presences.”
Newsday’s Diane Werts wrote, “Garcia’s got a feel for working-class life and also a demented sense of humor that’s truly good-natured.”
At the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Martha Plimpton was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Virginia Chance, and Cloris Leachman was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Maw Maw. Plimpton was also nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2011 and 2012 Critic’s Choice Television Awards. She won a Satellite Award for Best Actress in a TV Series — Comedy or Musical in 2011. Garrett Dillahunt was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Burt Chance at the 2011 Critic’s Choice Television Awards.
The first season of Raising Hope introduces viewers to the eccentric world of the Chance family as they go about their lives in the quirky town of Natesville, beginning with the unusual story of Hope’s conception.
In other highlights, Jimmy has a crush on the unavailable Howdy’s grocery store cashier Sabrina (Shannon Woodward), who he learns has a phobia of germs. Burt gets a second shot at a blown guitar audition for grumpy rock star Smokey Floyd (Jason Lee), and a visit from Virginia’s down-on-her-luck cousin Delilah (Amy Sedaris) causes trouble.
In addition, a trip to meet Hope’s other grandparents on Thanksgiving goes horribly wrong, Hope learns to crawl and exposes Virginia’s hoarding problem, Virginia and Sabrina learn each other’s darkest secrets and blackmail each other to keep quiet, and Burt and Virginia reminisce about Jimmy’s teenage goth phase.
The second season of Raising Hope opens with an adorable synopsis of Season 1, sung by Hope’s babysitter Shelley (Kate Micucci). Also, Jimmy discovers he was a musical prodigy until an unfortunate run-in with a golf putter ended his budding career.
In other highlights, Virginia finds out Burt’s mysterious kidnapping years ago wasn’t what it seemed, the Chances learn that Sabrina is embarrassed to be rich, Hope shows signs of being a genius, inspiring Jimmy to get his G.E.D., and Nancy Grace comes to Natesville to tell the “real story” of Hope’s serial killer mom.
Meanwhile, Jimmy’s crush on Sabrina leads to heartache as her relationship with her insensitive boyfriend Wyatt becomes more serious, and a crazy plan by Burt and Virginia helps Jimmy finally get Sabrina’s attention.
The third season of Raising Hope finds Jimmy and Sabrina happily moving forward with their romance, until a stipulation in a family member’s will throws it off. Also, a social worker checks on Hope and ends up taking away Maw Maw.
In other highlights, the Chance family rescues Maw Maw from a state-run nursing home, Jimmy tries to win Hope a ride on a float at Natesville’s annual Thanksgiving Radish Harvest Festival, a trip to Hollywood leads to Hope’s appearance on the TV show “Yo Zappa Do,” Burt’s family tells him that he’s Jewish, and Jimmy and Sabrina’s wedding goes catastrophically wrong.
Jimmy then spends time at a gay bar to impress Sabrina’s gay best friend, the Mayan calendar has Virginia convinced the world is going to end, Jimmy’s weird co-worker Frank (Todd Giebenhain) tries to throw him a party, and Burt discovers Maw Maw’s mother may still be alive.
Raising Hope’s final season begins with a mysterious Natesville resident reappearing in town, while Burt and Virginia learn the joys of bartering for goods and services. Also, Virginia’s new glasses bring life’s imperfections into unpleasant focus.
In other highlights, Burt and Virginia go undercover to discover what is killing Natesville’s bees, Burt runs for mayor just for the privilege of plugging in the town’s Christmas tree, Cousin Delilah gets on Virginia’s last nerve, and a ghost takes up residence in Maw Maw’s house.
The series comes to a sweet close when Virginia’s father, Arnold, arrives in Natesville claiming he wants help planning his wedding. Then, Arnold surprises Burt and Virginia with the dream wedding they never had.
To experience this show’s charm and hilarity, watch Raising Hope online.