****Raising Hope airs on the local FOX affiliate which is WTTE 28 and can be found on channel 8 . For HD channel versions, check your local cable or satellite provider for more information. ****
Man. CougarTown’s Season Three Premiere had me choked up. And I thought no bigs, I’ll get the emotional tears washed away with laughter from Raising Hope. And boy, it worked, until the very end of the episode, which had me in tears again.
For those who read my thoughts on Season One which is available on DVD and Netflix Streaming, for me, the selling point or hook of the show was the Jimmy and Sabrina relationship. You can say it strikes a chord with me as someone who has done the whole secret pining from afar thing, but to me, it was what the heart of the show was/is. I talked in my CougarTown Season Three premiere review about a show having a heart and soul. And I believe that Raising Hope is one of those same shows. The heart was always the Jimmy and Sabrina relationship while the soul of the show has been the sense of family in the small group around Jimmy.
Last episode of Raising Hope, Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) and her boyfriend talks about staying together, and in this episode, apparently he asked her to move in with him. Jimmy (Lucas Neff) is obviously crushed, but that doesn’t stop his mom Virginia (Martha Plimpton) and father Burt (Garret Dillahunt) from calling Sabrina up and creating a lie. A lie which involves, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Have you seen Jimmy? He’s been out with his new girlfriend and he hasn’t come home yet.” Always the nice guy, Jimmy feels bad about the lie, but will do anything to win her over, and so, begins to take up an idea from Barney (Gregg Binkley) which involves hiring an actress from an improv troupe to help him win her over. This would be done by going on a double date that Sabrina herself initiated, and the actress ‘Mary-Louise’ played by Ashley Tisdale, would help Jimmy make Sabrina jealous. Mary-Louise pulls all the stops, getting her improv troupe to help Jimmy as well.
In the end, Jimmy’s plan works, and after their double-date, Sabrina and her boyfriend breakup. Jimmy is pleased but now there is one more small problem: Sabrina thinks Jimmy is dating Mary-Louise. Ever the nice guy who feels horrible for lying to her, calls Sabrina up on Valentine’s Day and creates the ruse that his girlfriend has to work but asks “Want to hang with me instead?”
And so, they go out, and we soon realize Jimmy has taken Sabrina out to the improv troupe’s theater, where Sabrina instantly recognizes Mary-Louise and the rest of the actors from their double-date. Mary-Louise advises that tonight’s performance was written by a good friend of hers which is about a girl he cares deeply about; and from there we see the entire relationship between Jimmy and Sabrina play out on stage, with Virgina and Burt playing themselves. The play goes into so much detail that it also shows the scheme to break Sabrina and her now ex up by making her jealous. And does it work?
Well, yes. It does. The whole damn thing was so heartfelt and sweet that it goes a step beyond touching. The fact that this was done in the middle of the season makes me appreciate that Raising Hope is taking a step away the ‘will he or won’t he tell her’ storyline, but it also causes fear as a viewer. In creator Greg Garcia’s last show My Name Is Earl, the best subplots of the show was the will-they-won’t-they tension between the maid and brother Randy, and when it finally played out, it sort of hurt the show, in my opinion, so I’m hoping that Raising Hope will allow it to play out differently. Beyond that slight qualm with the direction the show could go, Raising Hope was splendid and a wonderful way to spend an evening.
Other random observations:
- The ending song was a wonderful touch. Plimpton and Dillahunt can sing!
- Using a toy helicopter to tease Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman)
- Wonderful Physical Comedy between Neff and Dilahunt in the beginning of the episode while Plimpton is calling Sabrina
But what do YOU think, examiners?
Let us know and we may read your comments on Nick’s podcast, the Good, The Bad & The Geeky which sponsored by Audible.com!
You can comment below or send your thoughts via e-mail or heck, if you have twitter, tweet us! Also, If you like what you hear, please subscribe on iTunes or check out our iPhone/iTouch App!The GBG App is also now available on Android Marketplace!