Musings on writing, lessons learned by an aspiring professional, book reviews, movie reviews, an occasional t.v. show review, and unashamed opinion.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Raising Hope, and The Walking Dead

If you haven't seen Raising Hope on Fox, you're missing out.  It's one of the funniest sitcoms in a long while.  It is so funny that even when my rib has popped out of joint--and it really, really hurts to breathe, cough, sneeze, or move--that I can't help but laugh until tears come to my eyes.  It's charming, witty--in a white trash sort of way--and very well written.  And I can't get the theme song out of my head.  Check it out... the first season is available for streaming on Netflix right now.

I don't know if I love it so much because it's about a new dad, raising a little girl, (which I will be doing in another month) or if white trash comedy just speaks to my soul.  The creators behind it did My Name is Earl a few years back, so they're pros at the genre.  Hope is so much better than Earl, however, because Hope can crack a joke one minute, and then have a heartfelt family moment the next.  Earl was just dumb fun.  The premise behind the show is that Jimmy met a girl, knocked her up, and found out she was a serial killer.  She gets the electric chair, and Jimmy gets the baby.  The opening sequence and theme song hilariously remind you of the back story every episode.  (Okay, not every episode.  They shorten it up sometimes.  But often enough).

Throughout the first season the focus slowly moves away from the baby.  You might think the show producers are cheating by doing this, but honestly, how interesting can a show about a baby be?  The best parts of the story involve the grandparents, (Virginia and Bert, in their late thirties) and the dad (Jimmy, in his early twenties).  The family has had four consecutive generations of teen pregnancies, so they're all full of dumb advice to offer, and  Maw maw, Hope's great-great grandma, is still kicking, though most of the cogs in her mind have stopped working.

In one episode, Jimmy runs into his nearly-naked dad in the middle of the night, hiding in the bathroom from Maw maw... who thinks Bert is her dead husband.  Bert sheepishly asks Jimmy, "Do you think this kind of stuff happens in other peoples' houses in the middle of the night, and they're just too embarrassed to talk about it?"  Jimmy naively responds with, "I hope so."  Jimmy tells his dad to put hot sauce on his neck for when Maw maw starts kissing.

The show's message is refreshingly simple and positive.  It doesn't go into any serious, cram-it-down-your-throat political correctness, teen homosexuality discussions, like other Fox shows that I no longer watch.  The characters are straight, dumb, goofy, truthful, and happy, and only trying to make the best of their lives.  If Raising Hope doesn't make you laugh your butt off, and possibly cause you to have a few "ahhhh" moments, I don't know what show on t.v. will.

The next show you should all be watching is The Walking Dead, on AMC.  If you're like me and don't have cable, you'll have to watch it somewhere other than at home, but the first season is streaming on Netflix right now too, so if you missed out last year, you can get caught up with the first six episodes.

This show isn't for the faint of heart.  The zombies depicted are the creepiest I've ever seen.  I've dreamed about flesh eating dead people nearly every night I've watched the show.  It's a lot of fun!  I keep telling people that I'm praying for the zombie apocalypse to arrive.  I've even stocked up on my ammo.  Yeah, it would suck to get eaten and everything, but come on... it would be so cool to plug a bunch of disgusting freaks day after day!  Can I get an amen?

The show is one of those that has more questions than answers.  So far, you have no idea how the zombie virus appeared.  All you know is most of Atlanta has turned into walking meat bags.  There is the perfect amount of horror, action, and drama.  The jokes, if any, are few and far between.  Don't watch to get your laughs.  (The good news is Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland exist for those of you who like to giggle at people-munching monsters).

The main character is a sheriff's deputy from a small town within driving distance of Atlanta.  In the beginning he is in the hospital for a gun wound, and wakes up to find that the end of the world arrived while he was sleeping.  The first episode is one of the greatest pieces of dramatic television I've seen.  Sadly, the story fizzles out toward the end of season one, but this year's season premiere made some interesting promises, that I hope they follow through on.

Is it just me, or does this zombie look like Kevin Bacon?
The Walking Dead is for a mature audience, but it doesn't do nudity and F-bombs like other cable shows.  I'm pretty sure AMC doesn't ever have extreme content in their shows, although they do walk the line in the gore department.  But you can't have a zombie flick without blood, says I.

So get out the popcorn, and put the kiddies to bed.  Nothing like a terrifying zombie drama to get in the mood for... brains?

That's all


  1. My zombie-loving friend actually said The Walking Dead was too much for her. I don't think I could handle the gory makeup. :O I'm a wuss.

    And Modern Family beats every sitcom, hands down.

  2. I've given modern family a try (several episodes). Didn't laugh once. And yeah, the creepiness of The Walking Dead is up there. But that's why it's so awesome!