A series by Greg Garcia, the creator of My Name Is Earl.Jimmy Chance is a 23-year-old slacker who works for his father Burt grooming lawns and cleaning out pools. His best friend is his cousin Mike. His mother Virginia works as a maid for "Knock Knock Knock...Housekeeping." His great-grandmother Maw Maw is nearly always delirious and sometimes believes he's her old dead husband. And he's desperately searching for his place in the world.So when he meets a young woman one day, he thinks it's fate that he falls in love. Until that young woman turns out to be a serial killer (who kills her boyfriends, natch) and is subsequently arrested and sentenced to the electric chair. Before dying, however, she gives birth to his baby.Although his mother wants him to leave the baby outside the fire department, Jimmy is determined to raise her by himself. With a little help from his parents (and the cute girl at the grocery store), he's slowly learning how to raise Hope.
And of course Jimmy and Lucy, resulting in Hope and sparking the series.
Baby Trap: Inverted and played sympathetically. Burt poked a hole in a condom, as to purposely knock Virginia up, since he thought she was out of his league. By the time she finds out, she can't get upset about it because she's pretty happy with the end result.
Book Dumb: The Chance family is very impressed when Lucy is able to correctly pronounce Mahmoud Ahmedija...ahmejid...that guy from Iran's name. This probably applies to everyone in the family except Maw Maw, whose lucid moments strongly suggest she's read more books than the rest of the family combined.
Call Back: After Virginia writes "DORK" across Jimmy's face to deter him from talking with Sabrina, she offers to use makeup to cover it up. Jimmy says that he tried makeup and it makes him look like a dork. During his goth phase (which was shown in a flashback), Jimmy wore heavy makeup. See Unrequited Love Switcheroo for the implications.
The Cameo: Jimmy and Christine appears as owners of Burt's and Virgina's sex tape. They even mention Dominic and Logan. The previous episode also featured Mr. Savitsky being pitched a script.
The Cast Showoff: More of a guest-star showoff, but if Kate Miccuci is in an episode, she'll likely be singing and playing the ukelele.
Chekhov's Skill: In episode three, Maw Maw plays Jenga really well while listening to "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and later in the episode is able to use that to rescue Hope from a garage full of stuff Virginia hoarded.
Continuity Nod: "Sex, Clown and Videotape" had Burt and Virginia go searching for the sex tape they had mentioned losing in "If A Ham Falls in the Woods".
In "Sleep Training", a flashback reveals that Jimmy was once approached by door-to-door Mormon missionaries. In "It's a Hopeful Life" Jimmy signs away the rights to the story of how Hope was born for a beach ball, to which Virginia scolds him for answering the door
Virginia: Dammit, Jimmy! We told you not to answer the door anymore after what happened with those Mormons.
There has been a poster for a My Name is Earl movie in one episode. The penultimate episode of season 2 also had a commercial appear for the TV show. Also, in the first episode, after the news report about Lucy being a serial killer, the news anchor begins to do a lighter side story about how "A small-time crook with a long list of wrongs he was making amends for has finally finished, and you'll never guess how it ended!"
One with Yes Dear in the episode "Sex, Clown, and Videotape", where Burt and Virginia find out their sex tape was bought by Jimmy and Christine.
When lucid, Maw Maw is the biggest one in the show.
Did Not Die That Way: Virginia was raised by her grandmother, Maw Maw. Maw Maw told Virginia that her mother had died - she claimed she was doing something with a plastic bag on her head, was attacked by bees, and as a result fell over, hitting her head on a lawn ornament and suffocating. Virginia believed this until she was an adult, when she learned that her mother simply had not wanted to raise a baby and had left her.
Distinguishing Mark: Jimmy has a birthmark on his head that looks like a penis Florida... with balls.
Epunymous Title: Raising Hope is about raising a baby... named Hope. The original title was Keep Hope Alive but Raising Hope was ultimately decided to have more positive upbeat connotations.
Ethnic Menial Labor: Except for Virginia, all the other maids shown are presumably of Hispanic origin. This is used for a throwaway joke when one of them remarks (in Spanish): "I read in Newsweek that in 2028, we are going to outnumber these people."
Subverted a bit in the sense that Virginia has worked there for years and is still on the bottom rung.
Faking the Dead: Lucy is revealed to still be alive near the end of season two.
Funny Background Event: Twice in the season three premiere. First, Maw Maw removes the dress off the corpse of Sabrina's granny (played by Tippi Hedren). Later, when it's revealed that Sabrina's mom (Melanie Griffith) had her breast implants made into one of the artworks on the kitchen wall (the one that has two scrambled eggs), Burt starts fondling the artwork, and even puts his face on it.
The show is actually quite fond of these. In the first season, one episode features this twice.
Genius Ditz: Burt is dumb as a brick in most respects, but he often shows a high degree of emotional intelligence and insight into human nature.
Bully: I got what I really wanted, what I needed the most... a vagina.
Yes, the everlonging pervert gets a gender change.
The Little Beaver's song. The most overt part is the end which references licking little beavers but the whole song is this hidden as a quasi-girl scout song.
A Little Beaver marches without fear A Beaver's always in the front and not the rear When a Beaver's lost and cold she warms up by rubbing sticks I'll never give up because a Little Beaver can't be licked.
Good Parents: Despite all the heckling Virginia and Burt do to Jimmy, they genuinely love their son and do everything they can to make sure Jimmy's wedding day goes perfectly. Which also means incapacitating a still-alive Lucy.
Jimmy and Sabrina are slowly becoming this for Hope.
Happily Adopted: Invoked by Jimmy; after finding out that his parents gave him up for adoption when they were younger, he figures he would of had a better life with them after finding out how successful his former adopted brother live since his adopted parents "tried harder" in parent raising. Too bad that if he was raised by them, he be just as racist as them.
Happily Married: Burt and Virginia have been together for at least twenty-three years, and this is after Virginia got pregnant at fifteen. That's saying something. When Virginia asks Burt who'd he'd marry if she died, he expressed disgust at even looking at another woman.
In one episode, we learn that Burt and Virginia have only ever had sex with each other.
And as of "Modern Wedding", Jimmy and Sabrina are on their way too.
Hollywood Law: You cannot get your death penalty commuted and your conviction for several murders nullified, no matter what the guards in the prison do.
Hot Mom: Sabrina, given that now she is married to Jimmy, therefore Sabrina is now Hope's mother.
Hypno Fool: Burt is easily entranced by hand gestures.
Idiot Savant: About half the family. When Maw-Maw is lucid, she's a great mechanic and has many other skills and piercing insight. Burt, who never finished High School, got a 1540 on his SAT. Apparently he's good at filling in bubbles.
When he was a teenager, Jimmy was a highly skilled piano player and had a beautiful singing voice...until he got nailed in the head with a putter. That Burt threw.
Kissing Cousins: Burt's parents were third cousins, ones with the same last name.
Killed Off for Real: Lucy. They wrote in a story about her miraculously surviving the execution and being released from jail, only to have her be run over by a bus at the end of the episode.
Subverted. Turns out, she survived yet again but the brain damage from being hit by a bus has reverted her into a state of perpetual childhood. Lampshaded by Burt to Lucy's father: "Just keep her away from us."
Kitschy Local Commercial: The gang has to film a commercial for the store where they work. All of the sample commercials they film have elements of this.
Virginia is fascinated by a commercial using a typical "Crazy Eddy" sort of spokesman, gone horribly wrong. "I swear, if that guy doesn't actually have Tourette's, he deserves an Oscar."
Malaproper: The Chance family use these Once an Episode. Virginia will make a mistake on a word, such as "illusional" when she meant "delusional." Even Burt will join in sometimes, one example: "repulsive shopper."
"Oh no! She's got old-timer's disease!"
Lampshaded by Sabrina: "wow, that's two malaprops in a row."
Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Lucy's father. He's a psychiatrist, Lucy's mother was a patient of his, and they did kidnap Hope twice but did go to jail for it. In "Modern Wedding", he's been released on good behavior, but his wife is still in jail and he had to smuggle a still-alive but heavily brain-damaged Lucy home and spends most of his time caring for her. He genuinely loves his psychotic daughter, but has questionable methods of reining her in.
Moral Dissonance: Jimmy wants Sabrina, even though she has a boyfriend who is at least initially nothing but a nice guy who trusts Jimmy. As time goes on some major character flaws show up.
Though Jimmy is against actively pursuing her because of her boyfriend.
Never My Fault: Jimmy. He blames his parents' for not having a higher education, having a successful career or making his own decision in life. While yes Virginia and Burt's parenting were questionable, they are not entirely at fault for Jimmy current life.
Rich Bitch: Virginia sees her cousin Delila this way.
Sabrina wants so hard not to be one because her dislike of her father's lifestyle (there are hints of Parental Abandonment in her backstory), that she almost becomes one only to rich people. Her massive insecurity issues turn her into an incredibly rude and insulting person when around her rich friends.
Running Gag: A ton, starting with Burt's problem not thinking of the word "think." Also, Dancin' Dan.
Burt and Virginia write their live on their own plan on a bag from "Chubby's Burgers" one of the many businesses owned by Richard Chubby (and later Little Chubby) from My Name Is Earl
In the season finale, in a flashback, Jim watches one of Ernie Belcher's fetish videos (the one where Joy repeatedly kicks a guy in the groin) from the two-parter "Inside Probe" of My Name Is Earl.
During "Prodigy" Burt and Virginia note the similarities to an episode of Family Guy, because Jimmy can only play the piano when he's drunk. Except for the final twist that his music only sounds good to drunk people.
The penultimate episode of season 2 features the return of "Inside Probe" from My Name Is Earl, but paradoxically, one of the commercial breaks has an advertisement for the My Name Is Earl TV show.
The retirement home that Maw Maw is sent to temporarily is the Earl J Hickey Memorial Retirement Home, and it is on Camden Avenue.
"Candy Wars" is pretty much an entire-episode shout out to mob movies, particularly The Godfather and Scarface. Complete with the horse head in bed scene(Godfather) and the chainsaw shower scene (Scarface).
Show Within a Show / Parody Names: Oftentimes, real-world shows are parodied through the use of these two tropes. Examples include "Inside Probe" (parody of Inside Edition) and "Yo Zappa Do."
Start of Darkness: Lucy apparently used to be a doormat girlfriend to a jerk boyfriend. Then Shelly (who worked at the market 5 years ago) tells her she should "Get rid of him." Lucy takes the advice to heart...and later returns to the store to buy a huge quantity of bleach for cleaning up blood.
Too Dumb to Live: Maw Maw told Virginia that her daughter and Virginia's mother died when, while trying to get honey out of a beehive, she put a plastic bag over her head (to protect herself from the bees) and subsequently suffocated, fell off the ladder, and bashed her head against a porcelain duck. It later turns out Virginia's mother is actuallShelleyy alive, and this was just a cover story (based on one she read about in Reader's Digest) that Maw Maw told Virginia to spare her the truth (her mother abandoned her).
Turn Out Like His Father: In "Killer Hope" Burt and Virginia get worried that Hope will turn out like her mother (a serial killer) when she hits a kid at daycare.
Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Used in "Romeo and Romeo". And then just when you think the joke is over, it keeps going and gets to the real punchline of the scene.
Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Since meeting her in the first episode of the series, Jimmy has harbored feelings for Sabrina, who has a boyfriend. But in the Whole Episode Flashback season finale it was shown that Sabrina was an awkward, but Adorkable, girl with braces who pined after Jimmy when he was going through his Goth phase. There was even a bit of of Dramatic Irony at the end of the episode thrown in for good measure.
Burt: Remember when you used to wear all that make-up? You looked like a freak!
Jimmy: Shut up! And never ever say anything about that around Sabrina. It's embarrassing.
Burt: Don't worry, I wouldn't wanna mess up your chances.
"Yo Zappa Do" gives a bit of a clue - LA is at least a day's drive away, suggesting Natesville might be somewhere in the Southwest.
Whole Episode Flashback: "Don't Vote for this Episode" showed what the characters were doing 5 years ago: The Chances had just been tossed out by Maw-Maw, Jimmy was going through a goth phase, Sabrina was a braces-wearing geek with a huge crush on goth Jimmy, Barney was a fatty, Shelly worked at the market, and Lucy was dating the first of her boyfriends/victims.
World Of No Grandparents: Inverted, as the Chance family seem to have kids young, Virginia actually lives with her grandmother and granddaughter.
Taken even farther when we find out Maw-Maw's mom is still alive. At the ripe old age of 104. Though she does croak in the same episode.
Wrench Wench: During her longer lucid moments, Maw-Maw is a skilled mechanic. And electrician. When not lucid, she's also a skilled exterminator.
You Monster!: Jimmy takes the revelation that his father was the masked man who had been scaring him every Halloween since he was a kid (so he could get hugs when Jimmy eventually made his way home) very badly, and again when he finds out that he staged dropping Hope off at the fire station.