There's HOPE for SitcomsBy Michael Karol Posted: Nov 23, 2010
Sitcoms and the soap world are a tricky mix…when does a show pass the comedy line and waltz into drama? There are some hour-long shows that can't decide what they are, and the industry has named them dramedies. Eh. A show is either funny or it's not; if not, the drama had better be aces.
Well, RAISING HOPE, the Fox sitcom on Tuesdays at 9, has the best soap pedigree of any sitcom out there now. A, er, kinda poor family has a not-yet grown up son, Jimmy (Lucas Neff), who (unbeknownst to him) has a kid from a one-night hookup with a gal who turns out to be a serial killer, and is executed soon after giving birth to their girl, aptly named Hope. Leaving Jimmy to raise the kid by himself, with the help of his hapless parents (mom — Martha Plimpton, funny as can be, with a trace of bitter — works for a cleaning service, and dad — Garret Dillahunt, in a marvelous 180-degree turn from his last steady gig as a murderous Terminator in THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES — runs a landscaping business…barely Not to mention Hope's great-gram, Maw Maw, played with blithe indifference by eight-time Emmy winner Cloris Leachman, who's likely to add another Emmy to her shelf next year. Maw Maw sometimes has her faculties and sometimes not, but always has her cunning. How soapy does all that sound?! Plus, it's funny as hell.
Every few years, people start lamenting the state of the sitcom, but here's all it takes for success (all it ever took, starting with I Love Lucy): good actors, good writing and good production. It ain't simple, and some of it is pure luck, but when it clicks, as it does in RAISING HOPE, it's a win-win for everyone.