I must admit, this is the first episode of “Raising Hope” I have seen. The Chance family is a mix between the Conners (“Rosanne”) and the Bundys (“Married With Children”) — can you imagine? The Chances are a slightly dysfunctional and flawed middle class family, with some silly and endearing characters. How can you go wrong with Cloris Leachman and Martha Plimpton in the cast?
In this episode, “The Old Girl,” Sabrina is excited to show off her new friend Rachel (Hillary Duff) to the family. But when Jimmy, Virginia, and Burt see Rachel’s picture on Sabrina’s phone, they are shocked that it is Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend who broke his heart (or so he thought). As the show progresses, we find out that Rachel didn’t break up with him, but it was his parents that were the culprits behind the break-up.
In the opening scene, Hope is shown getting some gauze rapped around her arm. It turns out she had been bit by a cow at a petting zoo, and the owner (a butcher) gave the family 500 lbs. of beef so there wouldn’t be a lawsuit. Virginia tells everyone there will be beef-ghetti for dinner and beef cobbler for dessert! Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman) sits at the table and says “I haven’t pooped in a week.” I found that amusing, didn’t you?
Sabrina announces she has met a girl at the gym (as we know, she wants a BFF) and shows the family a photo of her on her phone. Jimmy, Virginia and Burt all scream, and Burt throws the phone out the window. Pretty funny! Sabrina retrieves her phone and wants to know what the heck is wrong with everyone! Jimmy tells her that Rachel is his ex-girlfriend, and that she broke his heart — that’s a problem. Especially since Sabrina invited Rachel over for dinner!
She shows up, and is surprised that Jimmy is Sabrina’s husband, but shocked that Lance and Sally (Burt and Virginia) are in a picture on the wall. Yes, Rachel tells Jimmy that they are the reason they broke up, and now finds out they are his parents! Story coming!
Jimmy proceeds to tell the story of how he met Rachel, which was when he was thinking about going to college. They met on campus, and he won her over. Burt and Virginia explain that they were concerned about Jimmy having a long distance relationship, and that he always tried for girls who were “out of his league,” and that he “always ends up getting hurt.” Jimmy tells his parents it will work, and goes to visit Rachel at college every weekend. Ah yes, to be young and in love! I can see this happening, can’t you?
Flashback: Burt and Virginia decide they are not going to let this relationship continue, and create an elaborate scheme to break them up — and I mean elaborate! They tell Jimmy that his Uncle Jonas died, and someone has to take care of Maw Maw while they are dealing with his death. He is upset, and decides to send Rachel gifts and letters everyday (only to be intercepted by his parents so she would never get them!).
Of course Uncle Jonas didn’t die, his parents just tell him this so they can go to the college and pretend to be students (Lance and Sally), Toga outfits and all! When they arrive, they see Rachel talking to a boy (Richard), and get their hopes up that Rachel likes him, and is cheating on Jimmy! This was not the case. Richard is a student and in her acapella singing group. Okay, you guessed it, Burt and Virginia join the group and try to get Rachel and Richard to like each other. I have to say, that scene was pretty funny. I do like a show that makes me laugh!
After a lot of craziness, Rachel thinks that Sally (Virginia) and Jimmy are dating. She tells Sally that she can have him. The scheme has worked! Virginia sends a break-up letter (forged, pretending it’s from Rachel) to Jimmy, and of course, it breaks his heart.
Back to Real Time: When the story is finally over, Rachel leaves the house stating that Jimmy’s parents are “clinically insane!” Sabrina is sad her BFF is gone, and I knew she was going to sing “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone,” as Jimmy did when he received the break-up letter. She did, and I laughed.
I enjoyed my first episode of “Raising Hope.” I love Martha Plimpton and Cloris Leachman, and the rest of the cast fits together well. Lucas Neff, Garrett Dillahurt and Shannon Woodward are all good in their roles … and they are funny. I will watch again to see what zaniness is next for the Chance family.
Are you watching “Raising Hope”? What’d you think of this episode?