Raising Hope: Inside Probe with Nancy Grace

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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?

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