Raising Hope‘s bizarre but touching second season finale almost felt like a series finale — everything tied up nicely, and it paraded a bunch of minor characters, past and present, through a Seinfeld-ian courtroom scene. Luckily for us fans, the Chance family’s weird adventures are far from over. Show creator Greg Garcia teased for us what we can expect in season 3, which begins tonight. Read on for scoop on Jimmy (Lucas Neff) and Sabrina’s (Shannon Woodward) relationship, whether Jimmy’s serial killer ex-wife Lucy (Bijou Phillips) is really dead, and whether Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman) will find love any time soon.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The season 2 finale ended things nicely, almost like a series finale. Did that free you up to start with a blank slate for season 3?
GREG GARCIA: Yeah! I like to do season-enders that kind of wrap things up. I’ve always liked that. I always try to give a little treat to the audience that’s been paying attention the whole time, and also just do a really good episode. That does put you in the position to have a fresh start and say okay, “What do we want to accomplish this year?” I think it’s healthy when you’re doing a sitcom to sit down at the beginning and go, “Where do we want to be at the end of the season? How are we going to grow these people as we continue?”
I love that Lucy survived the electric chair and kept coming back. After the season 2 finale, is there any chance she’s still not dead?
We didn’t see a body, did we? We didn’t see a body! I kind of approach some things in the show as a viewer as much as I do a writer. To be quite honest with you, I could sit here and speculate with you because I don’t know the answers. She might be dead, or you never know how things can happen. I’ll be excited myself to see if she might turn up again. We love Bijou Phillips so much. At the very least we’re always trying to figure out a way to even do a flashback. She’s so much fun to have around, and unfortunately I created a character who’s a serial killer — so it’s tough to keep her around on a normal basis — but we love having her.
By now, you seem to have found an interesting balance in tone between crazy hijinks and really relatable, heartfelt storylines. How will that continue in season 3?
We have episodes that are very grounded and they’re about real-life situations and how the Chance family deals with them whether it’s relationship stuff or raising a kid. But then we’ve also got one episode that we just figured out that’s going to be a big parody of a drug movie or a gangster movie, which all centers around the family selling candy for a fundraiser and how you kind of get wrapped up in making sure your kid sells the most — turf wars and that kind of thing. That’s an example of an episode where it’s a relatable topic to people who have kids, but it’s also going to get pretty crazy.
So much of season 1 and 2 centered on the “will they or won’t they” storyline between Sabrina and Jimmy. Now that they’re together, what new aspects of their relationship can you explore?
We decided last year, “Let’s just do it.” Now that they’re together, you’re right, how do you keep that fresh? What’s going to happen in that relationship? Things are different now that you’re in a relationship compared to when you were just friends. There are things that Jimmy did in his life — idiot t-shirts he would wear, that kind of stuff — that perhaps she doesn’t want happening with her fiance. So there are little stories like that, and at the same time, we’ve got plans to develop their relationship. We’ve got some bigger changes that happen throughout the season, and also, as we meet more and more of Sabrina’s family now that they’re engaged, we see some complications arising from that as well. We’re going to meet Sabrina’s mother [Melanie Griffith] very early in the season, and her grandmother [Tippi Hedren] — we’re actually really excited about that.
The flashbacks on the show are so great. Please keep doing them!
I’ll tell you what. You’re going to see some more flashbacks, because we love them as well. We definitely pop to those back and forth. We have a couple of episodes where we stay in the flashbacks for a while. We’re always a fan of that. Plus whenever we flashback to Jimmy and he’s around 5 years old, that’s played by my youngest son Trace. I like to see him during the week so we write a bunch with him so he has an excuse to hang out with Dad.
Cloris Leachman as Maw Maw is such a standout on the show. What’s going on with Maw Maw in season 3?
We’ve got some good stories for her. We have a great two-parter with her involved where she has a lot going on. Personally, I’d like to see a lot more love in her life. I’d like to see her find a man this season. That’s just a wish list that I’ve had that we haven’t completely tackled yet but don’t be surprised. If I can figure that out, that might be a fun thing for her.
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