Fall TV Preview

Fall TV Preview: Raising Hope Plans a Bear Attack, a Funeral and an Apocalyptic Christmas

raising hope tippi hedrenFox’s Raising Hope wrapped its sophomore run with the happiest of accidents: Hope’s serial-killer mom (played by Bijou Phillips) was mowed down by a bus while attempting to stab Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) with a giant knife.

And while executive producer Greg Garcia won’t rule out a return appearance from the show’s murderous mama — “I certainly haven’t seen her body,” he teases — there are other wacky scenarios more imminently bearing down on the Chance family in Season 3 (premiering tonight in a new time slot, 8/7c).

TVLine caught up with Garcia to get the scoop on some of those story arcs, including a possible financial crisis, a funeral buffet and a bear attack.

TVLINE | So Melanie Griffith is part of the Season 3 premiere as Sabrina’s mom, and Griffith’s real-life mother, Tippi Hedren, is playing Sabrina’s dead grandmother, whose body is surrounded by a buffet. How exactly do the food and the corpse end up in such close proximity?
[Hedren’s character] knows she wasn’t well-liked, but she wanted everyone to have to go pay their respects at the funeral. And so, to make sure that would happen, she surrounded herself with free food. If you want shrimp, you also need to come spend a little time with the body. And then when Maw Maw sees that happening, she thinks it’s a great idea, and she requests that when she dies, they fill her belly button full of ranch dressing so people have to dip their carrot sticks in it.

TVLINE | Yikes! When it comes to Maw Maw, is your writing staff constantly working to out-gross each other with some of the things she does?
Well, I think that you’re editorializing. I happen to think that Cloris [Leachman] is absolutely beautiful, and would welcome the opportunity to eat ranch dressing out of her belly button. You’re showing your cards a little bit there. Maybe you’re not attracted to it, but I think just the opposite. Where I think sexy, you think disturbing. Things that you think are sexy, I find disturbing. That’s what makes the world go around. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Fair enough. What scoop can you give us about Sabrina’s mother? What should we be expecting from Griffith’s character, and how is she going to shake up the dynamic?
She’s an absolute narcissist, and her presence in Sabrina’s life at this moment is going to cause problems in her relationship with Jimmy. Going forward with her character, she’s going to be dating Wilmer Valderrama, who plays a pitcher for the minor league baseball team the Natesville Radishes. She’s a woman who has had a number of marriages and divorces where she’s gotten half of the money each time, and she’s been getting money from the grandmother, who’s now dead. So throughout the season there’s going to be some new financial crises she has to deal with. And that is everything I know about that character — and even some I just made up while I was talking!

TVLINE | Well, that’s the kind of interview we love, where you’re making things up on the spot.
[Laughs] Okay. Good. Good.

TVLINE | With Tippi Hedren as Nana, she’s obviously in a coffin. Is there any opportunity for her to speak?
She addresses the party at the funeral through her video will. And she has some physical comedy she does in the actual coffin, as well, with Cloris.

TVLINE | What’s happening with Burt and Virginia this season? 
We’ve got one story where the whole family gets very much involved in the selling of candy for fundraisers. It’s a gangster-movie parody of the turf wars of selling fundraiser candy, involving Scarface, Goodfellas, The Godfather, and so on. Also, we have another story where Virginia has been planning for the last two or three years for the world to end on December 21, 2012. She’s pretty confident that’s going to happen. So for our Christmas episode, she wants the family’s Christmas on the 20th, seeing how the world’s going to end on the 21st.

TVLINE Will you fuel any of the plot with what’s happening in the economy?
On Raising Hope, our characters’ economy is always bad, like they are below the level at which [economic woes] impact them too much. What was that song by Alabama? “The stock market fell, but we were too poor, so we couldn’t tell”? Something like that. When it finally starts trickling down to them it’s, “Oh God, it finally got down to us!” We’re planning a story where people are startng to clean their own pools, they’re cleaning their own houses. Hopefully, the economy stays in the sh–ter long enough for us to figure out that story.

TVLINE | Any chance of one last scoop to end this interview?
I’m just leaving the set, and I was with a bear — a live bear that we were shooting with out in the woods. That should be exciting, I hope, for people. I know it was exciting for me to be standing next to the bear. Hopefully some of that excitement will come through the TV screen.

TVLINE | A black bear? Can I ask what the bear does?
Yeah, a black bear. They go on a bit of a…well, I don’t want to say camping trip, but it’s a trip out into the woods. While they’re out there, there are some bears that come into play.

TVLINE | Can you say who might be in peril as a result of the bear?
They are on the show Raising Hope.