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File:Raisinghope1 6420.jpg

A series by the creator of My Name Is Earl.

Jimmy Chance is a 23-year-old slacker who works for his father Burt grooming lawns and cleaning out pools. His best friend is his cousin Mike. His mother Virginia works as a maid for "Knock Knock Knock...Housekeeping." His great-grandmother Maw Maw is nearly always delirious and sometimes believes he's her old dead husband. And he's desperately searching for his place in the world.

So when he meets a young woman one day, he thinks it's fate that he falls in love. Until that young woman turns out to be a Serial Killer (who kills her boyfriends, natch) and is subsequently arrested and sentenced to the electric chair. Before dying, however, she gives birth to his baby.

Although his mother wants him to leave the baby outside the fire department, Jimmy is determined to raise her by himself. With a little help from his parents (and the cute girl at the grocery store), he's slowly learning how to raise Hope.


Tropes used in Raising Hope:

  • Alpha Bitch: Virginia's cousin Delilah, when they were young. As an adult, she's a Rich Bitch who isn't actually that rich.
  • Auto Erotica: The end of Burt and Virginia's first "date".
    • And of course Jimmy and Lucy, resulting in Hope and sparking the series.
  • Baby Trap: Inverted and played sympathetically. Burt poked a hole in a condom, as to purposely knock Virginia up, since he thought she was out of his league. By the time she finds out, she can't get upset about it because she's pretty happy with the end result.
  • Back From the Dead: Lucy
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Performed by Maw Maw at the end of "The Sniffles".
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Chances.
  • Black Comedy Rape: A dog in Shelley's daycare was put in time out for raping a lamp.

  Shelley: He broke the bulb.

  • Bond One-Liner: "Smoke on that, Jerk".
  • Book Dumb: The Chance family is very impressed when Lucy is able to correctly pronounce Mahmoud Ahmedija...ahmejid...that guy from Iran's name. This probably applies to everyone in the family except Maw Maw, whose lucid moments strongly suggest she's read more books than the rest of the family combined.
    • "The Saurus"

  Jimmy: It's like the dictionary's cousin!

  • Bowdlerise: What Jimmy and Sabrina do to Lucy's videos for Hope.
  • Brain Bleach: "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go to the bathroom and wash my eyes."
  • Bumbling Dad: Oddly averted. Both Burt and Jimmy are as proficient at parenting as anyone else in the house. For whatever that's worth.
  • Call Back: After Virginia writes "DORK" across Jimmy's face to deter him from talking with Sabrina, she offers to use makeup to cover it up. Jimmy says that he tried makeup and it makes him look like a dork. During his goth phase (which was shown in a flashback), Jimmy wore heavy makeup. See Unrequited Love Switcheroo for the implications.
  • Camp Straight: Barney.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In episode three, Maw Maw plays Jenga really well while listening to "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and later in the episode is able to use that to rescue Hope from a garage full of stuff Virginia hoarded.
  • Christmas Episode: "Toy Story".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Maw Maw, due to her dementia. She has lucid moments, but they're very few and far between.
    • Frank, one of the employees at the store Jimmy and Sabrina work at.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Sabrina offering to watch a movie with them does not deter Shelley's plans to get in Jimmy's pants at all ("She won't see anything, we'll be under a blanket").
  • Credits Gag: "and introducing Cloris Leachman."
  • Cringe Comedy: Jimmy's drunk piano performance in "Prodigy"
  • Crossover: Patty the Daytime Hooker appears as a gambling addict counselor in "Gambling Again".
    • Which brings up quite a few questions because Jason Lee, Jaime Pressly, Eddie Steeples, Ethan Suplee, and Gregg Brinkley have all appeared in both shows playing different characters.
      • There has been a poster for a My Name is Earl movie in one episode. The penultimate episode of season 2 also had a commercial appear for the MNIE TV show. Also, in the first episode, after the news report about Lucy being a serial killer, the news anchor begins to do a lighter side story about how "a small-time crook with a long list of wrongs he was making amends for has finally finished, and you'll never guess how it ended!"
  • Cute and Psycho: Lucy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sabrina, in spades. Virginia falls in there, too.

 Sabrina: Nice car seat.

Jimmy: Oh yeah, thanks, it's a used one.

Sabrina: I can see that. Who used it, baby Jesus?

 Burt: O Father, thank you for my great hair, which thou hast not takeneth away, and for my excellent jawline, and my rock-hard abs...

    • Abused in "Everybody Flirts...Sometimes" where it's revealed that he uses his good looks and pool boy status to get bonuses

 Burt: All I'm selling is the dream.

  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Except for Virginia, all the other maids shown are presumably of Hispanic origin. This is used for a throwaway joke when one of them remarks (in Spanish): "I read in Newsweek that in 2028, we are going to outnumber these people."
  • Faking the Dead: Lucy is revealed to still be alive near the end of season two.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Everyone knew Jason Lee (Earl) would show up on the show eventually. It was only a matter of time... He appeared on the November 30th episode...as Smokey Floyd.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Sabrina finds herself at the mercy of one (played by Shannon Woodward's real life best friend Katy Perry, no less) when she's arrested.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Burt's "I'd rather be in Virginia" t-shirt.
    • And this exchange:

  'Bully: I got what I really wanted, what I needed the most... a vagina.

      • Yes, the everlonging pervert gets a gender change.
    • The Little Beaver's song. The most overt part is the end which references licking little beavers but the whole song is this hidden as a quasi-girl scout song.

 A Little Beaver marches without fear

A Beaver's always in the front and not the rear

When a Beaver's lost and cold she warms up by rubbing sticks

I'll never give up because a Little Beaver can't be licked.

  • Golden Moment: Once an Episode with Jimmy and one or both of his parents, and occasionally with a voice-over of him repeating the Aesop to Hope. But done very well.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Almost used during Lucy's electrocution. The camera slowly pans away from her reflection in the viewing room window; Lucy begins to react just before we shift to Jimmy covering Hope's face with his hand.
  • Gilligan Cut: Used in the darkest way possible: Lucy, pregnant in prison, says to Jimmy, "You know what the best part is? There's no way they're gonna kill the mother of a six-month old baby." Cut to: Lucy's execution.
  • Groin Attack: The result of Sabrina catching Wyatt making out with another girl.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: According to Jimmy's dream journal, he once had a wet one involving some kind of half-Sabrina, half-dolphin creature.
  • Halloween Episode: "Happy Halloween".
  • Happily Married: Burt and Virginia have been together for at least twenty-three years, and this is after Virginia got pregnant at fifteen. That's saying something. When Virginia asks Burt who'd he'd marry if she died, he expressed disgust at even looking at another woman.
  • Hot Dad: Burt, who even makes a hot grandfather.
  • Hypno Fool: Burt is easily entranced by hand gestures.
  • Idiot Savant: About half the family. When Maw-Maw is lucid, she's a great mechanic and has many other skills and piercing insight. Burt, who never finished High School, got a 1540 on his SAT. Apparently he's good at filling in bubbles.
    • When he was a teenager, Jimmy was a highly skilled piano player and had a beautiful singing voice...until he got nailed in the head with a putter. That Burt threw.
  • Improvised Weapon User: Virginia and the TV. She even mentions it's kinda her go-to thing.
  • In the Blood: While (probably) not dangerous, Lucy's mother is delusional, while her father is a sociopathic psychiatrist who married a patient and still treats her.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Season two's Christmas Episode (aptly titled It's A Hopeful Life), in which Jimmy hallucinates what his life would be like if he hadn't had that fateful meeting with Lucy. Turns out it would be pretty bad. Played with when Jimmy realizes that this is very similar to that movie... Inception!

  "Because I have no idea what's going on!"

  • I Want My Jetpack: Burt's first line from season 2 is complaining how it's already 2011, and there still aren't any Jetpacks.
  • Jerkass: Has-been rock star Smokey Floyd.
  • Kissing Cousins: Burt's parents were third cousins, ones with the same last name.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lucy. They wrote in a story about her miraculously surviving the execution and being released from jail, only to have her be run over by a bus at the end of the episode.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: The gang has to film a commercial for the store where they work. All of the sample commercials they film have elements of this.
    • Virginia is fascinated by a commercial using a typical "Crazy Eddy" sort of spokesman, gone horribly wrong. "I swear, if that guy doesn't actually have Tourette's, he deserves an Oscar."
  • Malaproper: The Chance family use these Once an Episode. Virginia will make a mistake on a word, such as "illusional" when she meant "delusional." Even Burt will join in sometimes, one example: "repulsive shopper."
    • "Oh no! She's got old-timer's disease!"
    • Lampshaded by Sabrina: "wow, that's two malaprops in a row."
  • Mama Bear: Virginia Chance. Especially when she has a TV at hand.
  • Mood Whiplash: And HOW.
  • Moral Dissonance: Jimmy wants Sabrina, even though she has a boyfriend who is at least initially nothing but a nice guy who trusts Jimmy. As time goes on some major character flaws show up.
    • Though Jimmy is against actively pursuing her because of her boyfriend.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Jimmy has one in "Killer Hope" wherein Hope has turned into a Chucky-like serial killer that murders everyone in the house.
  • Oh Crap: Jimmy, the Chance Family and Sabrina all have one in part one of the season 2 finale when they find out Lucy is still alive.
  • Papa Wolf : Don't insult Burt's family in front of him. Smokey Floyd did, and got a guitar to the back of his head.
  • Playing Against Type: Garret Dillahunt, who is better known for playing sociopaths and other unsavory characters, as the loving yet dumb and harmless Burt Chance.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Barney in the second season has been promoted to the picturebook opening and the final 'group' drawing with the Chance family and Sabrina.
  • Put on a Bus: Cousin Mike, who left in the second episode, joining a Cult with a girl he met.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: After avoiding being hostile during "Killer Hope", Jimmy snaps when he gets a $200 ticket. For having an obstructed view.
  • Rich Bitch: Virginia sees her cousin Delila this way.
    • Sabrina wants so hard not to be one because her dislike of her father's lifestyle (there are hints of Parental Abandonnment in her backstory), that she almost becomes one only to rich people. Her massive insecurity issues turn her into an incredibly rude and insulting person when around her rich friends.
  • Running Gag: A ton, starting with Burt's problem not thinking of the word "think." Also, Dancin' Dan.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm A Senior With Dementia!: Maw Maw. Regularly walks around without a shirt.
    • In "Hogging All The Glory" she bluntly asks Sabrina "Who the hell are you? And why are you always in our house" lampshading a common complaint by the fandom.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Sabrina
  • Serial Killer: Lucy, Hope's mother. Was executed in one of the darkest Gilligan Cuts on TV.
  • Service Sector Stereotypes: Subverted, Virginia is a maid, Burt a gardener, and Jimmy a former pool cleaner, but they get by (well, just about).
  • Slipping a Mickey: How Burt finally ends up getting a vasectomy.
  • Speak of the Devil: Jimmy believes Dog-Head Man knows when people say his name.
  • Start of Darkness: Lucy apparently used to be a doormat girlfriend to a jerk boyfriend. Then Shelly (who worked at the market 5 years ago) tells her she should "Get rid of him." Lucy takes the advice to heart...and later returns to the store to buy a huge quantity of bleach for cleaning up blood.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Burt's CMOA in "Burt Rocks" is made into one. He loves it.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "Meet the Grandparents".
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: Maw Maw occasionally thinks Jimmy's her dead husband, to hilariously squicky effect.
  • Those Two Guys: Jimmy's two friends.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Maw Maw told Virginia that her daughter and Virginia's mother died when, while trying to get honey out of a beehive, she put a plastic bag over her head (to protect herself from the bees) and subsequently suffocated, fell off the ladder, and bashed her head against a porcelain duck. It later turns out Virginia's mother is actually alive, and this was just a cover story (based on one she read about in Reader's Digest) that Maw Maw told Virginia to spare her the truth (her mother abandoned her).
  • Turn Out Like His Father: In "Killer Hope" Burt and Virginia get worried that Hope will turn out like her mother (a serial killer) when she hits a kid at daycare.
  • True Companions: Shelley, Barney, Sabrina, Javier and Marcus seem to make one with the Chances going by the end of "Meet the Grandparents".
    • As of the first season finale, one can count in Frank and cousin Mike as well.
  • Tsundere: Virginia's an A-type with a capital A. She's simultaneously responsible for half of the show's dry humor, as well as half of it's Heartwarming Moments.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Used in "Romeo and Romeo". And then just when you think the joke is over, it keeps going and gets to the real punchline of the scene.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Since meeting her in the first episode of the series, Jimmy has harbored feelings for Sabrina, who has a boyfriend. But in the Whole-Episode Flashback season finale it was shown that Sabrina was an awkward, but Adorkable, girl with braces who pined after Jimmy when he was going through his Goth phase. There was even a bit of of Dramatic Irony at the end of the episode thrown in for good measure.

 Burt: Remember when you used to wear all that make-up? You looked like a freak!

Jimmy: Shut up! And never ever say anything about that around Sabrina. It's embarrassing.

Burt: Don't worry, I wouldn't wanna mess up your chances.

  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In the very first episode, when Jimmy and Virginia are changing Hope.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: "Don't Vote for this Episode" showed what the characters were doing 5 years ago: The Chances had just been tossed out by Maw-Maw, Jimmy was going through a goth phase, Sabrina was a braces-wearing geek with a huge crush on goth Jimmy, Barney was a fatty, Shelly worked at the market, and Lucy was dating the first of her boyfriends/victims.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Jimmy and Sabrina. Made very awkward in that Sabrina has a boyfriend.
    • The ending of "Jimmy's Fake Girlfriend" may have just answered this one.
  • Would Hit a Girl: His former bully now being a woman doesn't stop Frank from clocking her good.
  • World of No Grandparents: Inverted, as the Chance family seem to have kids young, Virginia actually lives with her grandmother and granddaughter.
  • Wrench Wench: During her longer lucid moments, Maw-Maw is a skilled mechanic. And electrician. When not lucid, she's also a skilled exterminator.
  • You Monster!: Jimmy takes the revelation that his father was the masked man who had been scaring him every Halloween since he was a kid (so he could get hugs when Jimmy eventually made his way home) very badly, and again when he finds out that he staged dropping Hope off at the fire station.
    • To be fair, Burt just wanted a hug

Notes

  1. It didn't
  2. And even if she hadn't, she might of gotten arrested for attempted murder and lost custody of Hope
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