Raising Hope = multigenerational dysfunction

by Kanesha

The fall 2010 TV line-up is underway and our DVR is being put to work.

I was so excited for all the new shows and returning favorites that I made a viewing matrix for this week. (I know, judge me!)

We do not watch a huge amount of television (no, I’m not going to define huge), but we do like to watch some shows as an entire multigenerational family (e.g. Dancing With the Stars).

Tonight, my nuclear family and I decided to watch Raising Hope (FOX). I’m a fan of Greg Garcia and I enjoyed his work with My Name is Earl.

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I was not at all prepared for what I saw. When I was wishing for more multigenerational themed TV shows, I wasn’t exactly talking about this.

The Chance family is a multigenerational family with a whole lot of crazy going on. (See show’s summary.)

As I watched the zany, jaw dropping, and wacky interactions of this family unfold, I laughed hysterically. Yes, I was totally into the potty humor and tasteless jokes of this sitcom.

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I guess you must have a good and sometimes obtuse sense of humor when you live in a multigenerational household.

As Jimmy’s grandmother, “Maw Maw” (Cloris Leachman), walks around in her bra, smoking a cigarette, yelling at her dead husband, and going in and out of lucidity, I inserted myself into this lunacy and imagined Maw Maw being my mother-in-law. What in the world would I do with my real mother-in-law if she was, in reality, that nutty?

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Then there is the grandmother to Hope (Jimmy’s mother), Virginia Chance (Martha Plimpton).

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Her smoking, trash talking, and tossing baby Hope around in the backseat would have me loosing my mind. I’m not sure if I would prefer Virginia or Maw Maw being my mother-in-law. Either way, I would have to drink heavily all day, install a nanny cam, and perhaps consider a divorce.

My multigenerational reality vs. Multigenerational chaos with the Chance family

When I went back to work after being on family leave, my little guy refused to take the bottle. Here my mother-in-law was living with us for only a month, still in transitional mode, and her three-month-old grandson would not take the bottle. I wonder if Jimmy Chance’s rubber glove method would have worked better than the cry your head off hysterically until you finally yield to taking expressed milk in a bottle.

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Then there was the time when my mother-in-law took my son to infant swim class. She received the “polite” stares and eyes that were secretly asking, “What’s this white lady doing with this little brown baby?” Someone even asked my mother-in-law from what country had her son (my hubby) gotten this baby. I’m glad my mother-in-law ignored those people, focused on singing Wheels on the Bus with her grandson, and didn’t have to explain anything about being in the penitentiary and not knowing the song’s words.

I’m especially glad my mother-in-law has never puked on my son due to a toxic and poopy diaper. There my mother-in-law was yesterday, at the recreation center, meeting her trainer for the first time. My son was in childcare and just as the training session was to begin, the childcare folks informed my mother-in-law that her grandson pooped in his pants, and yet, she did not puke. My mother-in-law handled the situation like a pro. She cleaned him up, sent him back to play time (albeit commando) and finished up her workout with the trainer.

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I’m not sure how long we will stick with this show. I suppose we’ll watch until it’s just too ridiculous to maintain our TV watching dignity. I definitely don’t have any plans to encourage my mother-in-law to watch it. She would be overly irritated on so many levels (the top issue being the portrayal of Cloris Leachman as a mature woman).

What’s on your must see list for the fall TV lineup?


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