Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Allusions of Grandeur (Or How DanielleTBD Admits She Was Wrong About 'Raising Hope')...

My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture may have unfairly misjudged one new fall premiere by its pilot. Though I admit pilots are tough assessments of a series, I maintain that they must accurately portray the tone and message of the show if they want a chance to survive among other shows that already have fan bases that are a year or three or four in. But in saying that, I must also admit that sometimes pilots aren't given a fair chance because they must cram so much into one short "summarizing" episode that some of the true heart gets lost. And such has been the case for FOX' Raising Hope.
My advance review of the show about a young and naive man (Lucas Neff) being thrust into fatherhood only surrounded by the not-so (and
nut-so) support of his similarly young and naive parents accused it of jumping the shark from the get-go. But I am afraid I was too quick to judge on this one. Because over the past two episodes since the pilot, the show has been steadily increasing in warmth, laughs, and relatability-- all things My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture think make for a sentimental success.

Last night's episode featured all of the comedic gems that warm my heart: bribing a child with sugar, playing the lottery, hoarding old crap just because it's free, creative writing, and the struggle to grow up and face the real world versus the ability to retain the right to dream.

Executive Producer Greg Garcia created a show about a family who has always struggled, economically and financially, and yet he has managed to draw comparisons to the wealthy but just as naive Bluths even better than Mitch Hurwitz, in his new FOX show, is doing. Hearing Martha Plimpton mis-use words ala Gob Bluth (hence the title of this post) seems to soften the characters and the crazy situations in which they put themselves and the sweet baby. A baby who, by the way, is more expressive than any one I've ever seen on television! Someone needs to do a web spin-off with her and little Harrison from Dexter. Both are the on-screen offspring of serial killers, after all.

One of my early criticisms with Raising Hope was that it was hard to relate to, let alone like, the wacky family when they were legitimately putting the child in dangerous situations. It was hard to laugh at said situations without thinking these people, even if well-meaning, were detrimental.

But times-- and episodes-- have changed, it seems. Something just clicked. Sure, bribing a baby with sugar is not the smart choice. Nor is allowing it to get stuck in a shed full of heavy and dangerous furniture and electrical items. But there is something undeniably endearing about this group of misfits banding together to become better people, all for this sweet little girl.

Because the thing is, they really do mean well. And they're trying. Sometimes harder than others. They're not perfect, but no family is. And the one thing that they have going for each other is that they love each other unconditionally-- flaws and all-- and manage, despite their circumstances, to hold onto the belief they will one day rise above and be able to give each other everything they know they deserve. A lesser family would have turned their back on this new child, but this family knows that more than winning the lottery and buying a boat or a house with twenty bathrooms, she is their greatest chance (I apologize for that bad pun) at wealth.

Or maybe I just have more of a soft-spot for those in various states of arrested development than I ever was willing to admit before.

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