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Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff)
A dense but goodhearted guy, Jimmy starts off the series with an identity crisis when he realizes how monotonous his life is. He starts searching for his place in the world, never expecting the path his life would take after meeting Lucy. Although previously a slacker and didn't amount to much, he tries really hard to raise Hope right and that honesty and determination has a ripple effect among those around him.
- Book Dumb: When he asked Sabrina to tutor him for his GED she commented that some aspects of intelligence can't be measured by academics.
- Bumbling Dad: Oddly averted. He makes mistakes but his focus is entirely on trying to be the best parent to Hope he can be.
- Distinguishing Mark: Jimmy has a birthmark on his head that looks like Florida... with balls.
- Doting Parent: To Hope
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- Goth: He had a goth phase when he was a teenager. He insisted his name was "Drakkar Noir".
- Happily Married: To Sabrina.
- Loser Protagonist: A high-school dropout who lives with his parents, did the nasty with a serial killer, and is shy around girls he likes.
- Love Martyr: Will do anything for Sabrina.
- Milholland Relationship Moment: Has one of these with Sabrina, reciprocally, as both accept each other's bad points.
- Never My Fault: Jimmy blames his parents' for not having a higher education, having a successful career or making his own decision in life. While it has been recognized that Virginia and Burt's parenting was questionable, they are not entirely at fault for his current life.
- Nice Guy: For the most part.
- Oblivious to Love: Ironically to Sabrina during his goth phase.
- Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: Unintentionally. He married Lucy (the reason he gave was that she flattered him), but he believes she's dead and gets into a relationship with Sabrina. It turns out that Lucy is not dead, and he's still legally married to her. (Sabrina is not happy when she finds out.)
- Parents as People: He makes mistakes, as this whole "parenting" thing is new to him
- Unfazed Everyman: Noticeably undisturbed by most of the mayhem happening around him; it's normal to him.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: With Sabrina at the beginning of the series.
Virginia Chance (née Thompson) (Martha Plimpton)
Jimmy's mother, she has worked as a maid for years and is always cleaning houses of people far wealthier than her family. As a result she has a bit of a complex about how others see them, while leading to its own zany adventures it also keeps her away from more inappropriate behavior. She is protective of her family but also very loving.
- Book Dumb: Wasn't much of a scholar to begin with, then she got pregnant with Jimmy and dropped out of high school.
- Deadpan Snarker: Frequently
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
- Happily Married: To Burt.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: With her cousin Delilah.
- Malaproper: Frequently confuses one word for another.
- Mama Bear: Always protects her family. With the TV set, if (she deems it) necessary.
- Parents as People: Made a lot of mistakes, but still genuinely loves and cares for Jimmy.
- Parental Abandonment: Her mother didn't want children, and ran off to lead a wild, swinger lifestyle, leaving Virginia with her mother. Her father also wanted no part in raising her.
- Later it's revealed that her father left because he was gay and he didn't feel safe in Natesville. He is, however, both a stalker and a narcissist.
- Raised by Grandparents: Her Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw raised her.
- Teen Pregnancy: She was 15 when pregnant with Jimmy. While not a Running Gag in the series, she is accustomed to explaining to others when out in public with an adult Jimmy that they are not married.
Burt Chance (Garret Dillahunt)
Jimmy's father, they both work in Burt's lawn care and pool cleaning business. He is very friendly and outgoing, always concerned with the well-being of his friends and family. He greatly enjoys the time he spends with his son and tends to find humor and enjoyment in the little things of life.
- Bumbling Dad: Interestingly averted. He can be goofy but he ended up raising his son to work hard and be a good person.
- Extreme Doormat: To Virginia. He learned that it was much easier to let her have her way than to argue with her, and attributes this to his happy marriage.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
- Happily Married: To Virginia.
- Mr. Fanservice: Technically he is a grandpa, but he is still in his early forty's and in better shape than his son. He is more likely to have a Shirtless Scene than anyone else.
- Nice Guy: Virginia once lamented how judgmental she can be and admits Burt has more than enough heart for both of them.
- Papa Wolf: Don't insult Burt's family in front of him. Smokey Floyd did, and got smacked by a guitar to the back of his head.
- Parents as People: Makes a lot of mistakes, but means well and ultimately always does right by his family.
- Poisonous Friend: Albeit a well meaning, unintentional example
- Screams Like a Little Girl: When stressed while doing taxes.
- Single-Target Sexuality: For Virginia. He's incapable of even thinking about marrying anyone besides Virginia even should she die and his 'happy place' is an island where he's a millionaire (due to being the only person able to clean the ocean), a guy whose slightly worse at table soccer/foozball than he is, and the hottest women in the world (they're all Virginia).
- Teen Pregnancy: He was 17 when Jimmy was born. In addition to his playful personality they come across more like siblings than father/son.
- Troubled, but Cute: As a teenager.
Sabrina Collins (Shannon Woodward)
A girl Jimmy met shortly after he took custody of Hope, her sarcastic but friendly demeanor meshes well with Jimmy's raw honesty. Despite his crush her long time boyfriend prevents anything beyond some mild flirting. When that ran its course she and Jimmy got together and eventually marry, with her adopting Hope.
- A-Cup Angst: A minor insecurity and brought up a few times.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Compulsively eats dirt, is a perfectionist, and is Terrified of Germs.
- Character Development: From a critical Deadpan Snarker, almost Satellite Love Interest, to a deep, open-minded, loving, and slightly Cloudcuckoolander character, with all this development's base being here almost since the beginning.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
- Fun Size: She is really short, Burt and Virginia mention it is their go-to joke about her.
- Happily Married: To Jimmy.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: With rich people who succeeded better in their career.
- Mama Bear: To Hope.
- Milholland Relationship Moment: Has one of these with Jimmy, reciprocally, as both accept each other's bad points.
- Oblivious to Love: To Jimmy until about midway through season two.
- Parental Neglect: The flashback in "Arbor Daze" reveals her parents barely paid any attention to her, treating her more as a nuisance (father) and a bartender (mother) who barely tolerated her. She makes a promise to her doll that she wouldn't do that with her child.
Hope Chance (Baylie and Rylie Cregut)
The show namesake, she grows up over the course of the series. Generally cheerful as most babies are, she is exceptionally smart but some of the family is concerned about her parentage and what that means for when she gets older.
- Adorably Precocious Child: It actually scares the rest of the Chance family how intelligent she is, in part because that's a trait they associate with her mother.
- Children Are Innocent: Mostly played straight.
- Creepy Child: There are times that she can even see other people (parents and grandparents included) with a killer look, while other she may be channeling Lucy, her biological mother.
Barbara-June "Maw Maw" Thompson (Cloris Leachman)
Virginia's grandmother and the one who raised her (also being Jimmy's great grandmother and Hope's great-great grandmother), the house is actually in her name. She suffers from a combination of memory loss and dementia, which the rest have to deal with on a regular basis. Sometimes a real chore to deal with, but at other times someone who really livens up the room.
- Ambiguous Disorder: It's never clarified what she suffers from, the Chance's are so poor it's likely they weren't able to get an official diagnosis. The most they talk about it being lucid vs. non-lucid.
- Cloudcuckoolander: When she's not lucid.
- Deadpan Snarker: When she's lucid, the snark is strong.
- Idiot Savant: Has many hidden talents. Some that show up when she's in one of her delusions, others that show up when she's lucid.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The part of her personality that remains is a massive asshole, but she also raised Virginia as her own daughter and is fiercely protective of her.
- Never Mess with Granny: Is skilled with a shotgun and can beat Sabrina, a woman more than three times younger than her, in a fight. While in a wheelchair with a broken hip.
- Running Gag: Removing her shirt (and occasionally her bra)
- Screw Politeness I'm A Senior With Dementia: Has no filter.
Barney Hughes (Gregg Binkley)
Store manager at Howdy's, he is Sabrina and Jimmy's boss. Easily excitable, he is often the butt of some prank Sabrina pulls out of boredom.
- Ascended Extra: After joining the main cast.
- Camp Straight: Very finicky and loves collecting dolls, Sabrina notes with amusement that he isn't gay.
- Formerly Fat: Use to be 100 pounds heavier.
- Has Two Mommies: Barney was raised by a couple of lesbians, probably the reason he is Camp Straight as an adult.
- Here We Go Again: Dates Gloria, his ex-wife again, after finding out she broke up with her boyfriend. Sabrina helps him realize that Gloria loved him for who she wanted him to be, not who he actually was (and that had driven him to binge-eat again), and that she was no good for him.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Shows up a few times in the first season and got his own title card in the opening sequence for the second season. While he still doesn't show up in every episode, he is in most of them.
- Sixth Ranger: Often joins the chances on their escapades.
- Stalker with a Crush: Still hung up on his ex-wife. To the point where she and her new boyfriend took out a restraining order against him.
Shelly (Kate Micucci)
Sabrina's cousin, she runs a multi-purpose daycare (children, the elderly and pets) and babysits Hope. Talented with the ukelele, she is always ready with a little jingle.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Not as badly as Frank, but it does crop up ocasionally.
- Cute Bruiser: She takes Krav Maga with Burt, once managing to pull him into submission.
- In Vino Veritas: She gets really frisky when she drinks.
- Official Couple: With Frank.
- Out of Focus: In Season's 1 and 2 she's a fairly major recurring character and her daycare is a frequent spot for Maw Maw and Hope. In Season's 3 and 4 she appears in about 8 episodes between both seasons and her daycare mysteriously disappears.
- Ship Tease: She and Jimmy made out at a party several years prior and while she seemed interested in starting something, Jimmy didn't return the feelings (due to being hung up on Sabrina).
Frank (Todd Giebenhain)
A co-worker of Sabrina and Jimmy, Frank is exceptionally odd and creepy, but he is otherwise a decent guy who befriends Jimmy.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: An interesting variant. Instead of being cute and whimsical, he tends to stop conversations dead in their place.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jimmy, although he is much more devoted to Jimmy than the other way around. It is notable that they became good friends because they can hang out at work, as Javier and Marcus stopped hanging with Jimmy because of his obligations with Hope.
- Hidden Depths: He built a miniature scale model of Natesville in his house. While that alone is still creepy, Jimmy can't help but be impressed with the creativity and detail involved.
- Official Couple: With Shelly.
- Odd Friendship: With Maw Maw.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's fairly blunt and creepy most of the time, but he genuinely cares about Jimmy.
- This is shown in spades when he finds out Shelly was the girl he had been video chatting while wearing a baby head mask. He's genuinely distraught when a Russian grocery clerk steals her away and gives her a rather sweet heartfelt confession later.
- Parental Abandonment: His parents apparently left him when he was 17 and he lives alone.
- Wacky Guy: Albeit a low key, disturbing example.
Javier and Marcus (Ray Santiago and Jermaine Williams)
Jimmy's longtime friends, they are never seen apart from each other. Still friendly with Jimmy, they aren't seen very often because Hope restricted a lot of what Jimmy was willing to do.
Lucy Carlyle (Bijou Phillips)
Hope's mother after a one night stand with Jimmy. She is actually quite intelligent, but a pushover who eventually snapped when she had enough.
- Ax-Crazy: Yes. Very much so.
- Badass: Escaped Fire and Brimstone Hell (and death itself) by sheer willpower.
- Big Bad: The closest thing the show has to one.
- Bigger Bad: The family frequently worries Hope will turn out like her.
- Depraved Bisexual: Is mentioned as having "graphic lesbian sex" with her unnamed cellmate in the videos she made for Hope while in Prison. Jimmy edited that part out.
- Dumb Blonde: She thought being seven months pregnant would let her get out of being executednote . And in the season 2 finale, after gaining full custody of Hope and Jimmy, she chases Sabrina with a knife, with intentions of killing her just to get run over by Smokey Floyd's tour bus (and even if she hadn't, she might have gotten arrested for attempted murder and lost custody of Hope).
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She actually loves her daughter immensely and would never harm her.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Is locked permanently into a childlike state of mind, and her father controls her with a shock collar.
- Fourth Date Marriage: To Jimmy, while in prison.
- Heel–Faith Turn: Temporarily. After her...ordeal, she joins up with some Buddhist monks. (Though she does still participate in some decidedly un-Buddhist behavior afterwards.)
- Not Quite Dead: Turns out to have survived her execution. She ends up getting hit by a bus... and survives again.
- Posthumous Character: She shows up in flashback at random times, notable especially in the first season finale when it shows her Start of Darkness. At least it is this trope until it's revealed she was alive after her apparent execution.
- Serial Killer: Has killed at least three different guys.
- Start of Darkness: Was a sweet girl in an emotionally abusive relationship with a Jerkass, until someone told her to "get rid of him". They meant break up with him, but she took it a different way.
- Woman in White: During her near-death experience, she wears a white dress
- Yandere: There's a reason she's called the Boyfriend Killer. Also, she tries to kill Sabrina, and holds Jimmy hostage at their wedding.