Raising Hope Season 3 Review “Arbor Daze”

Raising Hope returned tonight after being preempted last week by the State of the Union address, and now we all get to celebrate Arbor Day a couple months early with the hilarious and touching “Arbor Daze”! Maybe if we didn’t have so many back-to-back episodes due to Ben and Kate‘s cancellation, we’d probably be watching this episode a little closer to the actual holiday for it to make a little more sense. Not that it really matters, because an episode this touching and this emotional is welcome any time of the year!

One of the best parts of Raising Hope is seeing all of the crazy things the Chances do to save money and the goofy choices they made in raising Jimmy. I’ve been a little critical of the Jimmy flashback scenes that we’ve seen so far, as they usually just end up making me feel bad for young Jimmy. However, I loved seeing Jimmy celebrating all of the different holidays as a kid. It was so sweet to see Burt and Virginia go out of their way to make all of these minor holidays so special for their son, and it would only make sense that Jimmy would want to pass this on to his daughter. Unfortunately, Sabrina is not having any of this senseless tree-killing!

We get very few episodes that focus on Sabrina as a character, so it was great to see a little more from her. She’s usually just the straight man for all of the Chances’ craziness to bounce off of, and in episodes like tonight she’s our “in” for the audience so that we can have the Chances explain things to us. However, tonight we actually get to see Shannon Woodward flex her comedic and dramatic chops!

Sabrina is visited by the Ghost of Arbor Day, who was appropriately played by Luke Perry considering how many references to Beverly Hills, 90210 we got tonight. I loved how bored and begrudging his character was, as it was a hilarious play on the ghosts of Christmas from the Christmas Carol story we all know so well.

There were many scenes from Sabrina’s tour through Arbor Day past, present, and future that were both hilarious and deeply affecting. It was really sweet seeing Hope all grown up, and it was definitely very sad to see that she might grow up with the same kind of neglectful parents that Sabrina had. We’ve seen little Baylie and Rylie Cregut grow up so fast as the little actress playing Hope, and it’s so saddening to think of her growing up into a teenager with Jimmy and Sabrina ignoring her. While Raising Hope definitely offers its fair share of laughs, with this episode included, they really know how to tug at the heartstrings when they want to.

With only a couple episodes left in this great third season, I’m really wondering what we’ll be building towards in terms of overarching storylines. Sabrina and Jimmy are married, they’re living together, and everything appears to be going swimmingly! I guess we’ll find out what’s going on in the next couple weeks!

Random Thoughts:

– I researched Arbor Day a little bit when I was writing this review, and it turns out that Barney’s description was right on the money! In fact, I think they might have copy/pasted part of his speech from the Wikipedia page.

– I did chuckle when Sabrina was sucking her thumb in her sleep, but what happened to sleeping with pantyhose on her head?!

– Geez, kids were getting Game Boys for Christmas 20 years ago? Now that I think about it, it did come out in 1989. Yikes, I feel old…