‘Raising Hope’ springs eternal

The Chances, from left, Garret Dillahunt, Martha Plimpton and Lucas Neff find new ways to cut costs while grocery shopping. “Raising Hope” airs Tuesdays on Fox at 9:30 p.m.

The writers of “Raising Hope” come up with such reckless back stories (mild mannered main character Jimmy Chance’s angry goth phase, his father’s decision to fake a kidnapping to go live in a Winnebago with a stranger, etc. ) it almost seems as though they are constantly thinking the show is about to be canceled. But creator and executive producer Greg Garcia says the moment that they found out they were renewed for a second season was actually when they started taking these wild liberties.

“If anything,” says Garcia, “it was more like, ‘Hey, we’re green lit for a second season.  Let’s do something and get crazy with this!’”

It’s not like the show began with the most regular premise — Jimmy, a 23-year-old grocery store employee has a one-night stand with a serial killer, gets her pregnant, and has to raise their daughter after she is executed. Meanwhile, Jimmy still lives at home, with his senile great grandmother and his parents, who are only about 15 years older than he is. But Garcia and company took it a few steps further.

“I think just towards the end of the season, we — the writers and I — sat down and thought about what would be a good season ender,” he says, “and then we came up with all those people’s back story and stuff.  It was just fun and we knew what we had done during the year, so we knew what we kind of had to stick true to as far as the reality of things.”

This season has seen similar bold back story choices. In the premiere, Jimmy learns from an old home video that he was a child prodigy. As he tries to reclaim his talent, he can’t match the younger version of himself, played hilariously by YouTube prodigy Greyson Chance, who not only had the same last name as the characters, but who also looks a lot like Lucas Neff, who plays Jimmy.

“His YouTube videos blew my mind along with all of the other teen girls out there,” says Neff.

Next week’s episode follows along with the show’s newfound tradition of unexpected guest stars adding to the back story, as the Chance family gets a last-minute visit from Jimmy’s wealthy paternal grandparents, played by none other than “The Six Million Dollar Man” and Mrs. Partridge, Lee Majors and Shirley Jones, respectively.


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