Raising Hope returned tonight with two more brand new episodes, starting out with the second half of the two parter “Yo Zappa Do: Part 2″. With Hope being discovered as a child star at the end of last week’s installment, the rest of the Chance family needs to find things to do in Hollywood! Some of them with pretty great results, some of them were…well…not so great.
Burt’s story was the funniest for me, but I really think that most of the jokes would be lost on most people that maybe don’t follow TV as closely as I do. I love the idea of Burt’s landscaping plans being an allegory for a new TV program, and the idea of networks getting too involved in the creative process and diminishing the quality of the product is a struggle we hear about all of the time in the TV business. I loved the FOX executive saying that they’d like his landscaping to appeal more to the 18-34 demo, and Burt’s “That’s for cancelling My Name is Earl” was one of the best lines of the night!
The other two storylines didn’t fare as well for me. I couldn’t tell if the whole Yo Zappa Do sitcom was supposed to be yet another commentary on the state of sitcoms on TV right now, or if it was just supposed to be a silly kids TV show. It sure seemed like the Raising Hope writers were taking a potshot at the more traditional multi-camera sitcoms you see on TV right now, especially like the programs over on CBS like Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men. I guess the laugh is on Raising Hope though, where they routinely get about 1/4 of the ratings of those two programs. Anyway, this story ended a bit too abruptly for me, and possibly because they had to make room for the lamest storyline of the episode.
I’ve always thought that Maw Maw was funniest in short bursts, and I’ve enjoyed Barney getting a little more screen time recently, but I definitely think this was a little too much. The idea of Maw Maw’s “revenge sex” wasn’t even funny, and I was OK with Barney falling for the bearded lady until he said he thought he could “get lucky”. I thought Barney was supposed to be a good guy?
Overall I thought the first episode of the evening was solid, although I wish Raising Hope would learn to just kill storylines that aren’t as funny in order to make rooms for the better plots. I will say that Jimmy yelling “I’VE DONE EVERYTHING THEY’VE ASKED” as he rotated around a color wheel wearing a giant butt costume was hilarious, though.
The second episode of the night was “Sex, Clowns, and Videotape”, and it returned to the more traditional type of episode for Raising Hope with the Chances getting up to wacky hijinks back in Natesville.
I’ve always loved Natesville being inhabited with such a diverse and hilarious population of characters, and I’ve always enjoyed them referencing old episodes, so I really liked Burt and Virginia’s story in this episode. I like the idea of Virginia’s hoarding coming back to bite her, as well as Burt mentioning his gambling habit that we haven’t even heard about since season one! After selling her precious Pigurines (again), and meeting a creepy couple that was encouraged by their sex tape (one of whom was played by the always funny Mike O’Malley!), the elder Chances get their van back and are able to enjoy it the way they did when they were teenagers!
Meanwhile, Jimmy is trying to deal with yet another neurosis that’s cropped up this week: sleepwalking! Yes, after already finding out that he has irritable bowels, a problem with eating his hair, we’re still finding out more problems with Jimmy stemming from his past. I’m still not really a fan of the young Jimmy flashbacks, as I usually end up feeling bad for the kid rather than laugh at him, but he was pretty funny tonight. I did love the Homeland reference at the end though, where we see Sabrina’s color-coded board being quite similar to Claire Danes’ Carrie Mattheson’s board from season one of that program. Homeland is one of my favorite shows right now, so I could have done with this spoof being even longer and more thought out.
I’m still not really enjoying Raising Hope airing two episodes back-to-back, as I end up feeling a little burnt out by the end of the hour, but I guess it’s not their fault that Ben and Kate got cancelled. With only about a half dozen episodes left this season, I’m wondering what kind of big finale we’re going to be working towards. Jimmy and Sabrina are already married, so what’s the next step? Will we end the season with Sabrina getting pregnant?! We’ll see…
- Raising Hope has never been afraid of “uglying up” their guest stars, with Kate Micucci and Katy Perry coming to mind. However, they really outdid themselves with Emily Rutherford being cast as a bearded lady.
- Jimmy’s Tom Cruise movie references were one of my favorite moments of the night. I can’t wait to bust out “The Firm” line.
- I have the exact same red blanket that Burt and Virginia had in the sex tape! It’s in my lap right now! I’m not sure I could ever look at that blanket the same way again…