Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Raising Hope: Check It Out

I’ve been underwhelmed and unimpressed with this year’s Fall TV choices. The shows I really enjoyed like Lone Star and Undercovers didn’t last. The shows I had high hopes for The Event and Running Wilde failed to connect with me. Yet, there is one new show that has delivered: Raising Hope.

This show was barely on my register. The premise: teen dad raising a baby with his quirky middle class family didn’t create pique my interest. In fact, more than anything else, I watched it because it came on after Glee and before Running Wilde, which, as a huge Arrested Development fan, I was eagerly anticipating (what a huge letdown!).

Raising Hope is consistently funny. Newcomer Lucas Neff is Jimmy Chance whose one-night stand with a serial killer leaves him a single dad to infant Hope after the baby’s mother is executed. This was the pilot and while serial killers and execution don’t seem like a comedic gold mine, trust me, it was funny.

While the show might revolve around Neff, it’s the supporting cast that makes Raising Hope such fun to watch. I’ve seen Martha Plimpton for years, mainly as a guest star on dramatic series like Law & Order, Medium, and The Good Wife. Never in a million years did I see her as a comedic actress; but her timing and reactions as Jimmy’s mother Virginia are dead-on. She gets to play of Garret Dillahunt, as Jimmy's dad, another actor mainly known through dramatic guest roles on Criminal Minds, CSI and Damages with a surprising flair for comedy.

Bringing the entire cast together is comedy legend Cloris Leachman as great-grandma Maw Maw. She’s senile with scattered moments of lucidity and she steals every scene she’s in. Whether she’s thinking she’s in labor or running after some teens that tried to steal her candy on Halloween (while wearing a cat costume), she’s hysterical.

Leachman, Plimpton, Dillahunt and Neff are able to make it work because the writers have given them some great material to work with.

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it tonight and turn the channel before Running Wilde.

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