Raising Hope: Inside Probe with Nancy Grace

Raising Hope S02E21: “Inside Probe”

“Inside Probe” was...not what I was expecting. With a title that clearly speaks to the little perv in all of us, I was expecting something, well, pervier.

Nancy Grace, the controversial television personality who resembles Eddie Izzard during his executive transvestite days, guest-starred as Nancy Grace in a mockumentary about the Chance family. I think the inclusion of Grace would have been funnier if her exaggerated sitcom personality didn’t come across exactly like the actual personality she presents on air. Rather than giggle over the exploitative nature of the fictitious Inside Probe program, which I’m sure was the intent here, I was mostly just reminded of how odious and exploitative I find the actual Nancy Grace “news” program.

However, if we ignored Nancy Grace’s smarm, the rest of “Inside Probe” was pleasantly amusing, though a little boring, as a basic retelling of the Raising Hope mythos. For those of you just tuning in, here’s the gist:

Once upon a time, Jimmy Chance slept with (and knocked up) a chick whom he later found out was a serial killer with a serious case of the crazies. Awkward. After she was executed, he was granted custody of their daughter, Princess Beyonce (renamed Hope). More awkward. And now they live with his mildly incompetent parents and grandmother in comedy bliss.

Sure, we learned a few new details. Jimmy’s middle name is Bon Jovi (of course it is) and Virginia’s is Slims because her mom thought the cigarette company would reward her for her cleverness with a free carton. As a child, three things brought Virginia joy: a snowman, a gerbil, and learning to spell F-words. She is a woman of simple tastes, fond of pregnant break dancing, and determined to make her son famous on Star Search...ten years after the fact.

Throughout her investigation, Grace interviewed many familiar background faces from Natesville in search of the truth about the Chance family’s involvement with infamous killer and Jimmy’s baby mama, Lucy Carlyle, and the outsider perspectives on Jimmy, Virginia, and Burt certainly added a new dimension to their zaniness. In short, to the rest of the town, they just aren’t that weird. The whimsical dysfunction of the Chance family is one of the most entertaining aspects of Raising Hope and one that I love to see explored in detail. They remind me of my own family—on a good day—particularly with their delight over being featured on a nationally televised program, regardless of the intention of that program. In fact, back in the day, one of my cousins was featured in a 20/20 segment, and even though it wasn’t a particularly positive presentation, rest assured, my aunt totally has it stashed on VHS. It occasionally makes appearances at holiday gatherings. You have to admit, “Rural Man Halts Priest Shoplifting at Pornography Store” makes for some interesting home-movie watching (memories!). And so I hope someone taped that episode of Inside Probe for Hope’s viewing pleasure when she gets older. It even featured a surprise guest spot by Mommy!

And she looked pretty good for someone who'd supposedly been dead for two years.

Actually, I’m not entirely convinced that was Lucy. Evil(er) twin? I’m going with twin. Yup. Calling it. TWIN.

What are your theories?

Comments (14)
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Anyone else like all the meta references? I liked that Virginia had a hamster named Martha. And all the actual actor's photos from their childhood was cool. Frank might be the best character per second of screen time.
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Whats with grace all over the tube???

She is the seminal C&%t!

ban her from the tube!
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There were too many holes in the plot: How did Lucy escape her execution and only showed up two years later? It wasn't something illegal, otherwise she probably wouldn't make such a public appearance (not that it's beyond a crazy murderer like her). I'm not certain about this, but is it allowed to use a taser on a pregnant woman? Oh, and how could Sabrina ignore the revelation of Jimmy's Gothic past, after we saw last season (?) that a couple of years ago she had a crush on him, not knowing his true identity up until now?



Anyway, I still enjoyed the episode (minus the last minute twist) in general. Can't ignore the problems, nut it was entertaining nonetheless.
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I had no idea your brother was a priest.



And I care.
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I didn't think it was very good either. And I missed Sabrina, she was barely in it.
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"Inside Probe" aired in Camden County too - on an episode of My Name is Earl. Geraldo Rivera hosted that episode. I liked that episode (two episodes actually) better than this one. The revelations were so over the top. I didn't like suddenly finding out that Jimmy married Hope's mother, for instance.
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Thought it was hilarious (have never seen Nancy Grace so I'll stay out of that one), and particularly enjoyed the whole marriage escape from prison bit. As for Lucy, I don't know who she was or whatever, but I look forward to next week. I do truly enjoy this show, and as you said, it does remind me of my own family.
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I've had a feeling that Lucy would be back somehow, they'd already had her return numerous times in flashbacks. Insid Probe was a fun episode, even with Nancy throughout it. The biggest revelation was the fact that My Name is Earl is a television show in their universe, which means that these are separate worlds that Greg Garcia has created. Unless there was an Earl in the Chance's world that went through all of that stuff and then they made a tv show based around it....
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Well, on the one hand, most of the "Earl" cast has appeared on "Hope" as different characters, but on the other, the washed-up hooker made a specific reference to moving from Camden County.
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In the pilot episode, a news program on the TV said something along the lines of "Man who won in lottery finishes his list", implying that it takes place in the same universe. Another thing was.. I don't remember which episode, where they walked past a theater and it said "Now Playing: My Name is Earl: The Movie"..
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I think it was S words, not F words, but I didn't pay a lot of attention to the episode because I hate Nancy Grace.
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Nice review!
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Eh, sort of reminded me of the Cops episodes of My Name is Earl, only way more boring.



I sort of expected them to bring back Hope's mother midway through this episode, and when it happened, I really didn't care for it. I'm hoping they just treat this two-parter more like a "what-if" than actually bringing her back.
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Haha! Great review.



I've got to give you props, MaryAnn. You're beginning to rival Tim in sheer quantity of articles posted.



Impressive!
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