A couple of things Raising Hope does extremely well: holidays, adaptations of other iconic pieces of pop culture, and unconventional family bonding. And the next couple of themed episodes seem to hit these marks square on the head.
It all starts with “Candy Wars,” the third season’s Thanksgiving episode, in which the Chance family competes to raise the most candy so little Hope (Baylie and Rylie Cregut) can ride on a float in the Natesville parade. When Jimmy (Lucas Neff) was younger, he had that honor, and it boosted his self-esteem, but of course, in true Chance fashion, Jimmy learns a little too late that he “won” through nefarious methods.
“Candy Wars” combines the best of non-traditional holiday movies like The Godfather and Scarface when the Chance family sets about making their own special “supply” of candy to get Natesville hooked and therefore sell the most. They go all out, in a Breaking Bad sort of way, to turn their kitchen into a chocolate factory. Baking is a science, after all, and the details are both hilarious and incredible. While they get technical with beakers and tubing systems in on area, they have to use Dominoes to form the candy bar rectangles in another. We won’t spoil what Maw Maw’s (Cloris Leachman) special ingredient is, but let’s just say she is a trend-setter and our own personal hero.
The episode is full of fun flashbacks to show how the family rallied around Jimmy back in the 1990s the way they are doing for Hope today. Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) may have officially earned her honorary Chance stripes in this episode with just how glee-filled she becomes hearing the original story and then getting in on the action.
And then in “The Last Christmas,” Virginia (Martha Plimpton) is convinced that the world is going to end on December 21 2012, so she uses her extreme couponing skills to stock up on supplies and she forces the family to train for the apocalypse. Think Black Friday to the extreme. Considering they just successfully completed a turf war, this should be the next logical step, right?
Meanwhile, Jimmy is still determined to give Hope the best Christmas he can, since it likely will be the first one she remembers, and Maw Maw tries to knock a few more items off her bucket list before the world ends.
You can see a photo preview of both episodes in the slideshow above.
Raising Hope airs on FOX on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. “Candy Wars” airs on November 20th 2012 and “The Last Christmas” airs on December 11th 2012.
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