Raising Hope Season 3 Review “Burt-Mitzvah: The Musical; Mother’s Day”

Raising Hope concluded it’s great third season tonight with yet another two-parter, starting out with the hilarious “Burt-Mitzvah: The Musical”. Enjoying a nice bump from American Idol as it’s lead-in, I was really hoping that the show would close out the season on a high note (Pun intended!).

I guess it was only a matter of time until a show this goofy and out there did a musical episode, so I wasn’t exactly surprised to see them go that route tonight. Musical episodes are often a risky proposition, and they only ever seem to be incredibly successful (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) or completely disastrous (7th Heaven). Thankfully tonight’s episode was absolutely hilarious, and the songs were overall very well written and performed.

“What Makes a Jew a Jew” and “Rock the Torah” were definitely my favorites, but “Let’s Make a Seder” was also pretty good. My only nitpicky problem with the episode was that there really wasn’t that much singing or dancing by the actual cast members. For my money, the previously mentioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Once More, With Feeling” is the best musical episode on any TV show, and one of the reasons it was so successful was that basically all of the major cast members had significant singing and dancing parts. Burt and Virginia sang a few lines, but Jimmy and Sabrina barely sang at all!

There was also a lot of pretty groan-worthy “Jew jokes” that we’ve heard a million times on every other comedy show. Overbearing mothers, Virginia wondering how to cook ham, and Burt wondering “What would Jesus do”, and that was all in the first scene! I guess it was part of the schtick of the episode that they were just going to shove all of those jokes into the same half hour, but it did kind of dilute the humor a little bit.

Overall this episode was a huge success, and even though the jokes themselves may not have been very original and there may not have been too much singing and dancing by the cast members, I still had a huge smile on my face throughout all of the songs.

The last episode of the season was the not-quite-so-great “Mother’s Day”. It was a little odd in the first place that the episode is airing a full month and a half before the actual Mother’s Day, but I suppose that’s because Ben and Kate got cancelled and caused Raising Hope to double-up their episodes every Tuesday.

The actual story of the episode wasn’t quite as interesting or fulfilling as previous season finales. Maw Maw has never been very interesting of a character to me, as she’s mainly used for gross-out scenes or crazy jokes, so meeting her mother didn’t really matter much to me. Especially considering that we’ve never really heard of her mother before tonight, and then her mother died shortly after we met her. It was pretty funny seeing Cloris Leachman ugly herself up to play her own mother, but she just acted as senile and absent-minded as Maw Maw usually is.

The much more successful part of the episode was Virginia and Sabrina’s development, as Hope makes a cute necklace with “Mom” printed on it to give to Sabrina. Virginia’s jealousy for Sabrina has never really been explored on the show, so it was very natural I think to hear her feeling a little dejected and obsolete. It was also very heartwarming and sweet to see Sabrina make Virginia her own necklace, and Jimmy saying he was happy to see his “favorite moms”.

It was nice to end the episode on a sweet little “Awwww” moment, but it was a little weird knowing this was the last episode of the season. We didn’t go out on the big moment that has ended previous seasons. I almost wish that the musical episode went second, as that would have been a more epic conclusion.

Overall I quite enjoyed season three, and I hope that Greg Garcia leaving the show to focus on his two new pilots won’t affect the quality of season four. I can’t wait to see what happens to the Chances next season!

Random Thoughts:

– The nerdy little white kid with the red Jew-fro who sang in the first song was Kevin Covais, who got his big break on season five of American Idol. Now American Idol is Raising Hope‘s lead-in! It all comes full circle!

– Jimmy’s hushed “What is that?!” reaction to seeing Norma June was hilarious. That was the biggest laugh of the night for me.

– For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sabrina wear orange.