TV Series Review
Hope, they say, springs eternal. And it's hard not to hold out some of it for a series called Raising Hope, featuring a single dad rearing his baby daughter the best way he can.
Hope is an adorable baby surrounded by her extended family. Jimmy is her caring but overwhelmed pop. Virginia and Burt are her open-armed grandparents. Maw Maw is her trying-to-be-helpful great-grandmother. And the whole clan finds time to go to church.
But alas for poor Hope, her small-screen family lives not on Hallmark Avenue but on Fox Street—a neighborhood where The Simpsons look positively well-adjusted.
Hope's mother, as it turns out, is a serial killer, caught and sentenced. Jimmy spent just one night with the woman (which is a good thing for him, since she made a habit of killing her boyfriends). In desperation, he turns to his own parents for help with Hope. And they provide what meager encouragement they can.
When Jimmy laments how much time and energy the baby takes—how he feels that he's losing his own life to hers—Burt comes in with a septic pep talk:
"I was miserable when you came along. I hated you."
"Really?" Jimmy says. "You're not just saying that to make me feel better?"
For all her good intentions, Maw Maw, meanwhile, accidentally pours rat poison into coffee and makes snickerdoodles out of dirt. So, ever since that unfortunate episode at church when she whipped up instant oatmeal in the holy water, the family's taken to keeping her on a leash. Burt considers removing it in one episode—but only because he knows that if she dies they'll get the family house tax free. When Maw Maw breaks free of her leash, Burt watches her run into the street with a curious mix of fear and anticipation.
"Sorry Burt!" yells one of his friends, who stops his car just before hitting the elderly woman. "Too many witnesses! Good luck, though!"
It's as far away from Leave It to Beaver as you can get, and intentionally so. These folks are not role models—no one would take them as such. And so Hope's being raised in a crass, sour world, one that, if she were a real kid, would make her future therapists rich. I'm sure the writers are trying to say something sweet by giving the whole clan the last name of Chance. Perhaps, through this little baby, they're suggesting they all have a Chance at a little Hope.
From what I've seen so far, though, a more appropriate last name might've been Less.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Lucas Neff as Jimmy Chance; Shannon Woodward as Sabrina; Martha Plimpton as Virginia Chance; Garret Dillahunt as Burt Chance; Cloris Leachman as Maw Maw