Born out of a one-night stand, Hope's mother was a serial killer who ended up being executed (or was she?), leaving her daughter in the care of 20-something Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) and his parents, Virginia (Martha Plimpton) and Burt (Garrett Dillahunt). For four years (2010-2014), we followed the Chance family through potty training and relationship drama, pre-school and even a brief moment in the spotlight before Raising Hope was cancelled.
The strength of the show lay with the characters. From the hapless Jimmy to the adorable Hope (played by twins Baylie and Rylie Cregut who have some of the best facial expressions I've ever seen), the main cast was hilarious. Jimmy's parents - who were teens when he was born - are perfect in their imperfections. They make mistakes and feel jealous and admit to not knowing what they're doing half the time but they're still loving and keep you laughing with Virginia's mispronunciations and Burt's dimwitted reactions.
The supporting cast is just as amazing. Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) is Jimmy's love interest and you can't help rooting for their relationship (spoiler alert: they eventually get married!). She seems a lot more cool and collected than the Chances, but Woodward has excellent comedic timing - some of the best plots involve Sabrina letting out her quirky side.
Other highlights include local grocery store owner Barney (Gregg Binkley), Jimmy's weird co-worker Frank (Todd Giebenhain), Sabrina's cousin (and Hope's occasional sitter) Shelley (Kate Micucci), and, of course, Cloris Leachman as MawMaw, Virginia's mostly senile grandmother (Hope's great-great grandmother). With such an outrageous and colourful cast, they could have kept the show going for years.
Like Better Off Ted and Arrested Development, I think their humour appealed to a certain audience but unfortunately wasn't enough. One of the biggest problems was the lack of views - and not because the show was bad, but because it was moved around the TV schedule so much, it was hard to keep track of it and it petered out quietly, rather than with the bang it deserved. Four seasons might seem like a long time for a show to be around, but when it was treated the way Raising Hope was, it's just one more example of how fickle television can be.