Raising Hope

I don’t know about you, but I rarely stumble across a television show. I’ll typically watch a show because someone I know recommended it or I see a preview that intrigues me. And honestly, there just hasn’t been much on TV lately that I’ve been excited about. There are only a handful of shows I watch faithfully and more than a few which looked promising but proved disappointing.

Along with a few of my favorites, I’m looking forward to this TV season, there are some new shows I’m hoping will live up to their hype. One of those shows aired Tuesday night on Fox: The New Girl.

Zooey Deschanel (right) pictured with her sister Emily Deschanel, star of one of my favorites shows, Bones

It was quirky and cute, much like its star Zooey Deschanel. The jury is still out on whether the characters and storyline will be strong enough to keep me watching, but the pilot was enough for me to give it a chance. When the credits began to roll, I almost turned off the TV. But then another show came on called Raising Hope. I’d heard of the show, but had no idea what the premise was. The only reason I kept watching it was because I thought for a minute that the main character was the same actor who played Mr. Tummus from The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s not, by the way.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know the premise, because it sounds like some horrible reality show:

Jimmy is a twenty-something slacker who lives with his slacker parents. The owner of the house is his great-grandmother, a crazy old lady who is the habit of walking outside without a shirt on. He has a one night stand with a woman who jumps into his van while running away from a man presumably wanting to cause her harm. As it turns out, said woman is a serial killer who is tried, convicted and sent to death row. Eight months later, Jimmy visits her in jail to discover she is pregnant with his child. Do you see where this is going? Here’s the trailer from the first season:

And while I do think the trailer is funny, I don’t know that I would watch the show based on seeing it because it depicts so many undesirable (albeit amusing) attributes of everyone on the show. Frankly, I’ve grown a bit weary of the quick laugh at someone else’s expense, even if it is a sit-com. What the trailer doesn’t show you is how smartly it’s written. Yes, Jimmy is a slacker and his parents are sponging off his crazy great-grandmother, but there is a depth to the characters–especially Jimmy–that caught me completely off guard. I was so impressed with the season premiere Tuesday night that I watched several episodes of the first season Wednesday. Love this show.

Raising Hope is cleverly disguised as a comedy about a family of low class, uneducated slackers, and I suppose to a certain extent that’s what it is. But it’s also a show about the importance of a loving and supporting family, no matter how dysfunctional they happen to be. If there’s such a thing as a perfect family, I don’t know of any. But that’s okay. Perfection is highly overrated and often boring.

What new shows will you be checking out this fall?

What old favorites are you looking forward to?

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