Thursday, February 24, 2011

Checking in on "Raising Hope"

The two best actresses on the show: Martha Plimpton and the baby.
Credit: FOX

Since I haven't reviewed this show since it returned I thought I'd do a post with more general thoughts about the show since individual episodes don't give me a lot to review. My thoughts on Raising Hope are after the jump.

Raising Hope is a comedy that grew a lot from its pilot. In the pilot, the show would often rely on the conceit of "stupid people raising a baby" and would have us laughing at the characters, not with the characters. This didn't work for me and I ended up thinking of the show as "the thing that airs after Glee". I stuck with it because it was in a timeslot where I didn't have anything else to watch and it happened to be after Glee. 

Slowly but surely, the show started to grow and find itself. It started to have us laugh with the characters instead of laughing at them. When the show came back in 2011 the show had solidified itself with that (save for parts of this week's episode). The show has become a perfectly enjoyable comedy. I find myself laughing with these characters and enjoying the time I spend watching them. 

My problems with the show is not with the majority of the cast. This is a group of funny people who know how to create a laugh. It's a group of people who work really well together and have chemistry.

Lucas Neff has been a huge surprise as Jimmy. He's the straight man on the show and the straight man is generally not given an opportunity to be funny in the first few episodes. The character has to be grounded compared to the rest of the crazies that surround him. Later in the season Jimmy was able to be funny. He was one of the best parts of the episode from last week ("A Germ of a Story"). I'm growing to like and root for this character, which is all I can expect from the main character of a show.

Shannon Woodward has been amazing this season as Sabrina. She hasn't had much to do in 2011 but hopefully she plays a major role in an episode soon because she's fantastic. She can play both funny and sweet. And she's just sarcastic enough with her delivery for her character to work with the show. She's been relatively underused this year and I hope that changes soon.

Martha Plimpton is the funniest actress on the show. She plays one of the more "out there" characters on the show very well. She can play very broad humor, which she did in this week's episode very well and she can play more contained humor, which she did to an extent in the midseason premiere. Her character is given more of the madcap things to do and Plimpton plays crazy very well. Garret Dillahunt does the same thing very well. He's often asked to do crazy things (like go to second base with Amy Sedaris) and he plays it all very well.

My major problem with the show is one character Maw-Maw. Most of the material with her isn't funny at all. I find myself cringing more, rather then laughing, at her plotlines. This week's episode wasn't as good as it could have been because there was a lot of Maw-Maw. Cloris Leachman is funny in small quantities but when she's used more then a little it really doesn't work for the show.

I don't expect to write about it every week. It's like with "The Big Bang Theory" where it doesn't generally give me much to say besides "that was funny". I'll write about it if I find something particularly good or particularly bad and I'll check in again after the season finale airs in May.

Who's been watching the show? What do you think of it?

Raising Hope airs Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT on FOX

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