FOX's Raising Hope presents the second half of a two-part episode as their season finale this week. Entitled "I Want My Baby Back, Baby Back, Baby Back," this installment finds Jimmy (Lucas Neff) and family locked in a court battle for custody over Hope (Baylie and Rylie Cregut) with his "wife," Lucy (Bijou Phillips). This follows an episode of Inside Probe, in which Nancy Grace (herself) tells the family's story, and reveals that Lucy survived her execution. Lucy wins the legal battle, and Jimmy has to leave his parents and Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) behind in order to stay with his daughter.
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And that's OK. Some sitcoms need the drama to infuse with comedy in order to keep their fans invested. Raising Hope does not. It's tongue-in-cheek style, with meta elements and constant self-referencing, has created a unique world that deserves to be on television. One can drop in to see what the Chances are doing each week, and continuously be very taken in by their spell.
What kind of show dares to have Nancy Grace lampooning herself, Ed Begley Jr. playing both god and the devil, and "introduces" Cloris Leachman each episode? Raising Hope, that's who, and it does so proudly. Never before has white trash been made look so attractive. The show doesn't just play on stereotypes, it redefines them. It will change the way you think about many things, and if the show contributes anything to society, it assists in tearing down the barriers of hate and judgment.
Does this make Raising Hope sound too important? Perhaps. But it deserves the accolades. There is absolutely nothing else currently running like it, and it continues to hit all of the right notes week after week. That is a laudable feat.
Is it the sharp writing or the amazing cast, which includes Gregg Binkley and a slew of talented, recurring players to fill out the world, that makes Raising Hope work so well? It's both, as well as everyone else in the crew who builds this specific place and time. There is really nothing to complain about in Raising Hope. It's that rare gem that knows what it is, and delivers extremely well on a remarkably consistent basis.
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Thank you to Raising Hope for an awesome second season, and I am greatly looking forward to years of more terrific comedy. Raising Hope will return to FOX this fall. In Lexington, FOX is channel 7 (analog), 910 (high definition cable), and 388 (satellite).
If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! To buy Raising Hope DVDs or streaming episodes, please click here. Article first published as TV Review: Raising Hope - "I Want My Baby Back, Baby Back, Baby Back" on Blogcritics.