Raising Hope

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Raising Hope TV Poster Image
Quirky family sitcom about young dad has lots of heart.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Despite the fact that it sometimes relies on blue-collar stereotypes for laughs and issues like teen parenthood and dementia for humor, the series ultimately offers positive messages about the importance of fatherhood, family, friendship, and commitment.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jimmy willingly takes responsibility for his daughter and tries hard to do the right things for her -- even though he sometimes doesn't have a clue about what that is. The Chances aren't perfect, but they genuinely care about each other and are collectivelly raising Hope.

Violence

Hope's mom was a murderer and was executed for her crimes (an electric chair is visible in the first episode); Maw-Maw often attempts to kill family members (but she's never successful). People are occasionally hit with things like TV sets, but no injuries are visible. Baby Hope is sometimes seen flying through the air and/or involved in other mishaps, but she's unharmed. 

Sex

Some strong sexual innuendo. Hope was a result of unprotected sex (not shown). People are shown in their underwear. The terms "weiner" and "balls" are used to refer to male genitals. Maw-Maw sometimes wanders around topless (shown from the back).

Language

Words like "pissed," "ass," and "bitch" are frequent.

Consumerism

Occasional notable placement of books like David Sedaris' Naked and other products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Early episodes feature members of the Chance family (especially Virginia) smoking, but they're pressured to quit for Hope's health. Beer and other drinks are occasionally consumed; Hope sometimes drinks milk/juice from containers usually reserved for alcohol. Giving Maw-Maw her medication is often a challenge.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this quirky sitcom from the creator of My Name Is Earl deals with single fatherhood (resulting from unprotected sex), exploring them within the context of family bonds and learning life lessons. Some of the humor is based on stereotypes about lower-income families, and there's a fair bit of sexual innuendo (as well as shots of characters in their underwear or partially naked -- though no sensitive body parts are shown) and cigarette smoking. References are also made to murder and capital punishment; fantasy violence is also visible. Despite all of this, the series ultimately sends positive messages about both parenthood and family.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written bygood parenting October 29, 2010
NOT for KIDS
Adult Written byhuskaroo October 15, 2011

Naive.

Naive in some ways , but still heartfelt comedy.few rude things, but still for kids.Great family comedy.
Teen, 15 years old Written bymissbuenrostro February 16, 2011
Teen, 14 years old Written byladybuglooove September 3, 2015

awesome comedy for teens and adults!

love it! the characters are funny, the lines/jokes are hilarious, and the overall tone of the show is great. although the Chances are quirky and not your typica... Continue reading

What's the story?

Offbeat sitcom RAISING HOPE stars Lucas Neff as Jimmy Chance, a 23-year-old pool skimmer looking for a higher purpose in life. After discovering that he fathered a baby girl during a one-night stand with a convicted killer, Jimmy chooses to raise his daughter rather than give her up for adoption. But being a single father isn't easy, especially when he's relying on his wacky family for help, including his strong-willed mother, Virginia (Martha Plimpton); his goofball dad, Burt, (Garret Dillahunt); and his incoherent great-grandmother, Maw-Maw (Cloris Leachman). Jimmy's sarcastic friend/co-worker Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) often offers her unique brand of guidance, too. It's definitely crazy, but together the Chance family figures out that while they may not be rich or perfect, the one thing they can offer baby Hope is a lot of love.

Is it any good?

Raising Hope has plenty of madcap comedy to offer thanks to the antics of its eccentric cast of characters. But amidst all the quips and zaniness is a heartfelt story about a young man who willingly takes responsibility for his child and about a family who, despite all its problems, genuinely cares enough to help him throughout this journey.

Some of the show's slapstick-like humor comes from stereotypes about lower-income families, as well as topics like teen/unwed pregnancy and aging. But these themes are offered within the context of learning life lessons, growing up, and discovering what it really means to be a parent. Best of all, the show successfully offers these lessons in a way that's both funny and heartfelt.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what's funny. Is it appropriate to use topics like murder or single parenthood to make people laugh? Why or why not?

  • Can humor be used to teach people about serious issues? How? Are there any issues that you think TV writers and/or comedians should never poke fun at?

  • What stereotypes does Raising Hope reference in its jokes/humor? Is that OK? When is and isn't it appropriate to use stereotypes?

TV details

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