Raising Hope Season 3 Review “Credit Where Credit is Due”

Well, here it is, ladies and gentlemen! The first episode of Raising Hope in 2013, and actually my first review of any TV show. Can a great guest star elevate “Credit Where Credit is Due” above the rest of the season three episodes? Or does it fall flat? Read on to find out!

Tonight’s installment starts out with Raising Hope losing one of its finest recurring characters: Jimmy’s van! This baby blue beauty was in the pilot, it’s in the opening credit sequence, and it’s been in the background of just about every episode of the series. It’s a shame that the poor thing is falling apart and Jimmy is off to find a new car, but at least we got a couple laughs out of it.

I was wondering why Virginia was so anti-credit at the beginning here, as it seemed like the kind of thing she would love. The Chances have always been trying to fly under the radar and take advantage of every kind of money-grubbing program they could get their hands on. It turns out the reason for her hesitancy is because of, wait for it, yet another secret from Jimmy’s past! It feels like every single episode brings us yet another life altering secret that we learn through flashbacks, and this week we find out that Virginia and Burt used Jimmy’s name on credit cards.

I’m continuing to feel bad for young Jimmy in just about every flashback we see him in. I know that these scenes are supposed to be played for laughs, but the sequences here reminded me of the ones we saw a few weeks ago in “The Walk for the Runs”. Maybe it’s that the actor playing young Jimmy is so cute and soft spoken that you don’t like to see him so mistreated, but for some reason I never laugh at seeing him get treated so poorly by his parents.

This episode would have fallen completely flat for me if it wasn’t for the genius inclusion of Christopher Lloyd. When Burt and Virginia find a DeLorean for sale, they immediately purchase it and try to recreate their favorite scenes from Back to the Future (complete with listening to “The Power of Love”!) When I saw Christopher Lloyd’s Dennis Powers in young Jimmy’s flashback, I just assumed that scene would be a one-off gag, but man did his scenes at the Natesville bank kill. Not only did he have a hilariously appropriate affection for the Chance’s DeLorean, but he also pulled off the kind of hilarious physical comedy that we really haven’t seen from him since he played Uncle Fester in Addams Family Values.

Despite a great guest star, and a couple solid jokes throughout, the been-there-done-that plot and semi-depressing flashbacks brought the rest of the episode down for me. I’m really hoping Mr. Dennis Powers will make a return in…the future!

Random Thoughts:

– What did everybody think of the Dodge product placement? I personally don’t mind that type of thing if it fits well into the plot, and if it can help Raising Hope get renewed by FOX, then it’s a no brainer!

– I haven’t driven a stick shift in a while, but why was Burt still shifting the car at 78 MPH? Pretty sure you should be in top gear by then…

– Man, I was so hoping the guy on the horse in the last scene was going to be Michael J. Fox. Wouldn’t that have been great?!