September 10, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Greg Garcia had an idea for a movie about an offbeat family whose son unexpectedly becomes a father, but the My Name Is Earl creator didn’t know how to end the story. To solve the dilemma, he spun the premise into Raising Hope, a single-camera comedy about Jimmy (Lucas Neff), a 23-year-old pool boy who’s forced to take in the baby he didn’t know he had. But the village it takes to raise the child includes some not-quite-qualified characters, like Jimmy’s abrasive mother (Martha Plimpton) and off-her-rocker grandmother (Cloris Leachman). ”At first I couldn’t believe it was going to be on a network because it seemed so dark — the things we do to this poor child!” says Plimpton of the inept family, whose idea of child care includes feeding the baby formula through a rubber glove and using an unattached car seat. ”When I got to the end and saw how strangely touching it was, it really won me over. It earned all of its grossness for me.” SEPT. 21

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