In the midst of life, we are in death. After bestowing season renewals to its shows The Mindy Project, New Girl, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and thereby extending their lives, Fox put to rest the family comedy after four seasons. In many ways, we’ve had time to prepare for this passing; the decision to air Raising Hope on Fridays did not bode well for its future health, and the new time slot proved detrimental. Raising Hope‘s decline had been slow but, unfortunately, steady.
While Raising Hope never achieved must-watch TV status for the public at large, the Chance family (Burt, Virginia, Maw Maw, Jimmy, Sabrina, and–of course–Hope) never failed to brighten our days with their antics. Who could forget Sabrina donning stockings over her head to keep the spiders way? Remember Jimmy’s phase as super-goth Drakar Noir? Or Virginia’s unintentional mangling of the English language with such gems as “dramastically” and “philostrophical?” How about Burt kicking a Warner Brothers paige in the crotch after blaming him for Earl‘s cancellation? And Hope’s stint on the incredibly annoying show Yo Zappa Do? Even with all these sweet memories, that’s to say nothing of Maw Maw’s trips into and back out of lucidity. Or Frank being an absolute creeper.
While this show’s madcap comic sensibilities will of course stay in our hearts, Raising Hope also leaves behind a legacy of taking the working-class family and spotlighting them–warts and all–without ever talking down to or mocking the characters. In fact, wouldn’t we all be a little better off if our families were like the Chances? Content with what we have in life. Bonded unconditionally. Looking for reasons to find life satisfying rather than disappointing even in the face of challenges. That Raising Hope managed to do all of these things while also parading Cloris Leachman’s Maw Maw in a bra and having Jimmy father Hope in the back of a van with a serial killer (oh, that delightful pilot…) only added to its charm.
You will be missed, Raising Hope. You’ll be missed dearly.
Public funeral services are scheduled for Friday, April 4th as Fox airs two back-to-back episodes to function as a series finale. Showrunner Greg Garcia will deliver the eulogy (with added lamentations for his dearly departed former series, the also-four-seasons-long My Name Is Earl). Following the service, please remain for a brief concert: Burt will perform “Rock the Torah” over the show’s closed casket, followed by Jimmy bringing down the house with his rendition of “Hard to Handle.”
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Howdy’s Market. Barney needs us now more than ever.