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April 23, 2014

'Raising Hope' Explores a Twisted Version of Parenthood - TCA Report

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 2nd 2010 9:25PM
Raising Hope'Raising Hope' is a dysfunctional family comedy in the vein of 'My Name Is Earl' (which is no coincidence, since the creative team is the same), but critics might be divided on just how funny it is, given that the initial theme of the show is watching a new father attempting not to kill his baby, after the child's mother has been put to death by electric chair -- cheerful, right?

While the concept might be in poor taste, the 'Raising Hope' panel at the TCA press tour itself was full of hilarious moments, mostly due to kooky Cloris Leachman and her on-stage antics, demanding that reporters stand while they asked their questions and switching chairs with Garret Dillahunt until creator Greg Garcia was making 'musical chairs' comparisons.

After a comparison to another iconic female, Betty White, Leachman dramatically declared, "I'm so sick of Betty White, I never liked her!" which was met with great appreciation from the humor-starved TCA audience.

More panel highlights after the jump.

-- After an (admittedly valid) question from a reporter about which state in its right mind would allow such a dysfunctional single father to raise a child, creator Garcia insisted, "I have a couple of states in mind, but we're not going to address that. I think there are far less capable parents out there looking after kids than our characters."

-- What's the best part of working with an infant? In star Lucas Neff's opinion, it's the fact that "babies never break character." Garcia added that "they certainly make things interesting for us. What we think will be an easy scene could turn into a couple of hours while the baby decides if it's in a good mood or not."

-- Respected thesp Martha Plimpton admitted that the main thing that drew her to the show was Garcia's involvement. "I had known about him for a long time, we had a lot of mutual friends -- he's a brilliant, funny guy who has a great sense of what makes normal, everyday things funny." She said that her character wasn't a "bitchy and mean" type of comedy mom, and that she's a very relatable character.

-- When asked about the similarities between this show and 'My Name Is Earl' Garcia said, "the way it's shot and the look of it will be similar to 'Earl,' but it'll be more grounded in spots. This is a lower-middle income family, slightly elevated from the criminals of 'Earl'." He noted that the cast of Earl would go out into the world, but 'Hope' would be more about what's going on in the house and figuring out simple tasks with the baby.

-- Neff was asked if he'd had any experience working with children, such as a younger sibling. "I have a brother, but he's in college so I don't spend much time feeding him," Neff joked. "I'm currently not a father, so I don't play with stranger's babies often. But I've learned that they're like anything; you don't wanna poke them or insult them or anger them. Just make sure that they eat and don't sit in their own fluids for too long and they're fine."

-- Garcia said that the main draw of the show was trying to show that "even though you try really hard, there's always going to be mistakes and a feeling of insecurity of doing this [parenting] for the first time."

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