Raising Hope “Tarot Cards” Review

Raising Hope returned this week with a somewhat frustrating episode in “Tarot Cards”. Now, I’m not saying the episode wasn’t funny, as just about every episode of Raising Hope can bring the laughs. It’s just hard to watch installments like this one and not feel like we’re just running in place a little bit.

The main story line this week involved Burt working on his taxes, and the inherent stress involved in this ended up stressing out his entire family. In the middle of a temper-filled tirade, he tells Virginia that he wishes he was just a lowly employee like her so that he didn’t have to do “Boss stuff”. Virginia, of course, takes this the wrong way and tries to find some sort of business she can go into to prove to Burt and to herself that she has the entrepreneurial spirit that Burt doubts.

I’m just a little sick of the same old formula being applied to every episode. We’ll have some sort of disagreement between the main characters, the other character will try to prove them wrong, and then at the end they both learn the lesson that there’s value to each opinion. It’s such a cliched, sitcommy way to write a TV show in 2012, and it just comes off as lazy for a show that is so much more raw than the standard comedy fare populating the television landscape.

In case there wasn’t enough sameness for everybody, we have even more drama between Wyatt and Sabrina. They’re having relationship issues, Jimmy gets excited for his chance to swoop in on the newly single Sabrina, and then something happens that brings them back together. I did like the increased personality we saw from Wyatt, as all of the previous episodes he’s appeared in just portrayed him as a little bland, but we’re 34 episodes into this show and I want to see some freaking development on the Jimmy/Sabrina front!

Like I said, though, this show always knows how to bring the funny. Today we got some laughs from some new supporting characters, as Burt’s acrobatic lawnmowers and the old lady at the checkout line had some very funny scenes. This show has done such a great job at filling Natesville with fun and unique characters, and is second only to Pawnee in Parks and Recreation for funniest recurring town inhabitants in any comedy on TV right now.

“Tarot Cards” comes off as a filler episode. Nothing’s progressed, nothing’s regressed, we’re just in the same spot as we were last week. There were a few laughs to dull the frustration of getting the same story beats, but not quite enough to overcome the overall feeling of mediocrity.

Random Thoughts:

– I totally thought my dad made up the name “Fluffernutter”! I used to love those things, but you had to get the actual named brand Fluff from the east coast. Mmmmm.

– This may be a weird thing to compliment a show on, but the twins who play Hope have been very funny this season. Really great casting for that baby. All of the cutaway reaction shots were spot on, and seeing Hope jamming with the rest of her family was adorable and hilarious.

– Did anybody catch what the little kid said at the end with the “Amigos de Garcia Productions” logo? “Martha was robbed”. Really funny little dig about Martha Plimpton coming up empty at the Emmys.