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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not for review: Fox's "Raising Hope"


This is the first in what I hope will be an occasional series of pieces of my thoughts on the pilots for this fall's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

The show: Fox's "Raising Hope"
The premise: Young Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) finds himself suddenly saddled with a 6-month-old baby. Despite having no job, no money and no clue how to raise a child, he decides that becoming a parent could help give shape to his aimless life.
My thoughts: The trailer for this series was one of the best I viewed for this season's new shows. The episode itself doesn't hang together quite as well (Cloris Leachman's role as Jimmy's addled great grandma seems pretty thankless thus far), but there is a lot of promise here. The show is from Greg Garcia, who helmed the funny and occasionally insightful "My Name is Earl," and "Hope" has hints of being equally wise about blue collar life. That's especially true in the scenes involving Jimmy's nutty parents, played by the always welcome Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt. Plimpton is particularly luminous, though it's sometimes tough to buy the obviously intelligent actress mouthing malapropisms like "dramastically." Still, I laughed several times during the pilot, and Neff is a winsome lead, so I can't help but have hope about "Hope."

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