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Raising Hope’ raises the bar in 2nd season premiere

30 p.m.

If the season premiere for the second season of “Raising Hope” should be called anything, it should be called “Raising Greyson.”

The zany Fox comedy, which was received with generally favorable reviews during its first season, kicks off its sophomore campaign with a not-so-subtle cameo from 14-year-old musician, Greyson Chance.

Yes, it seemed a little forced, but the show makes due. Jimmy (Lucas Neff), the show’s main character, finds out he was a talented musician as a child (Chance plays the 13-year-old Jimmy), and struggles to figure out how to regain his now-defunct musicianship.

The episode kicks off with an endearing musical biography of baby Hope’s upbringings by Shelley (Kate Micucci). Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman), delivers the chops that got her nominated for an Emmy last year when she tries to help Jimmy learn to play the piano. A loose bird in the house is a minor subplot, but is still one of the silly, throwaway storylines that makes “Raising Hope” a fun watch.

The episode also has plenty of chuckle-worthy moments, even if a lot of them are cheap and dumb. But that doesn’t really matter, as “Raising Hope” has never been lauded for high-brow humor.

In fact, “Raising Hope” is a nice change-up in that it’s one of the few programs that looks at life outside of the upper-middle class, and it doesn’t look like season two will make any attempts to mess with the show’s identity in that regard.

The second season’s premiere seems to show that “Raising Hope” is continuing to do what it does best. While the appearance from Greyson seems like a ratings grab, it isn’t so cheap that it ruins the episode. As long as “Raising Hope” can keep doing what it’s doing and lay off the gratuitous celebrity cameos, there’s no reason to believe season two won’t be the good, harmless fun its first season was.

The season premiere of “Raising Hope” airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.


Verdict: B

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