Greg Garcia and Martha Plimpton Talk About 'Raising Hope'
Greg Garcia and Martha Plimpton Talk About 'Raising Hope'
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Simply put, there are few comedies on TV funnier than Raising Hope. And there hasn't been much of that particular kind of funny lately. Fortunately for the comedic level of our television experience, Raising Hope returns tonight.

The return episode, entitled "Cheaters," features just about every Raising Hope character (Maw Maw, Jimmy and Sabrina in particular)... not actually cheating. No matter how much they talk up various poor choices, the show's characters are way too nice for any intentional bad behavior. Stupid, unfortunate behavior, sure. But not bad.

Series creator Greg Garcia and co-star Martha Plimpton spoke with reporters last week via conference call. We have some of the highlights of that call to hopefully get you excited about the return of Raising Hope.

On the "Cheaters" episode:
Greg Garcia: "That episode with Jerry Van Dyke. Yes, there's a little bit of a love story between him and Cloris Leachman, and there's some controversy going on because Cloris is not thinking all the way correctly and believes that she is still married, even though her husband has passed away. So she thinks she's cheating. Martha's character has some problems with that, even though it's just in her mind. Meanwhile, in that episode, Jimmy and Sabrina are going through some similar problems where Sabrina feels that Wyatt, her boyfriend at college, is cheating on her. So they're going to investigate."

On working with Jerry Van Dyke:
Martha Plimpton: "Oh my gosh."

Greg Garcia: "Well, I worked with Jerry Van Dyke before many times on Yes, Dear and My Name Is Earl. I'm a big Jerry Van Dyke fan, and he's always a pleasure to have. He always has great stories. He's an extremely funny guy. So I was just pleased to have him there. I'd love to have him back more next season.

Martha Plimpton: "It was my first time working with him, and I could not have been more excited and star-struck. I mean, obviously I've been watching him for years. I think he's one of the funniest people in the world.

On the season finale:
Greg Garcia: "We actually end our season this year on a flashback episode that happened five years in the past, which we have a lot of fun with. I think for anybody, if you're just tuning in to the show, you'll definitely get a lot of laughs out of the episode. I think that if people have watched the whole season, there's a lot of little, fun things in there that call back from other episodes and questions about why people are where they are in their lives and stuff like that."

On guest stars during the final episodes:
Greg Garcia: "In the last couple of episodes, we mentioned Jerry Van Dyke. Ethan Suplee and Jamie Pressley from My Name Is Earl, they play a married couple in our second-to-last episode, so look for that. In our flashback episode, we have our finale. We try to cram a bunch of people that have been in the show throughout the season. So there will be a lot of familiar faces in that episode."

Martha Plimpton: "People sort of come in and out of the frame really, really fast, and you go, 'Oh man, that's awesome. He's on this.'"

On working with the babies who play the titular Hope:
Martha Plimpton: "We did shoot a scene where one of the twins was pooping the whole time. That was pretty good."

Greg Garcia: "Yes, you're going to have that with the twins or any other various cast members ... because of our catering."

On whether we'll get to see Hope grow up:
Greg Garcia: "The plan right now is that we would stick with the Hope that everybody has met and fallen in love with, and we'll stick with her and we'll watch our family raise her."

Martha Plimpton: "Hence the title, of course."

On Virginia and Burt's marriage:
Martha Plimpton: "I love that they grew up together. I love that they're childhood sweethearts, and they have that history and they're so familiar with each other that they're best friends as well as husband and wife. They're not like your typical sitcom couple and they're not always fighting about who's right or wrong about something. Obviously, this show has its conflicts. You have to, because that's comedy. But I like it that they're in it together."

Greg Garcia: "It's always better when we can have the two of them against something else as a team, as a nice, married team. They may not agree about the way to go about whatever conflict they have, but it's nice to see them working as a team."

On how much of the show is ad libbed instead of scripted:
Martha Plimpton: "Almost none."

Greg Garcia: "It's 99 percent ad lib, right?"

Martha Plimpton: "What? We've both given you simultaneous, opposite answers."

Greg Garcia: "And we ad libbed those answers."

On the non-PC nature of many of Raising Hope's jokes:
Greg Garcia: "You just sit in that writers room and you hear jokes, and you decide kind of on the spot, is that something we want to do? I mean, the general rule is if it makes everybody laugh, we do it. There's been very few occasions where the network says, 'We don't want you doing this joke.' But they have their certain buzzwords and certain topics that they always want to stay away from, no matter what. So you kind of know what you can and can't put in a joke. Like, you can say 'pecker' but you can't say 'Jesus Christ.'"

The "Cheaters" episode of Raising Hope will air Tuesday, April 19 at 9pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)