Season Analysis: Raising Hope settled into a groove in Season 2 as it essentially further became My Name is Earl 2.0: the adventures of a quirky working-class (most likely Southwestern) town as created by Greg García, but without the burden of a premise that needs to be attended to every episode.
“Jimmy’s Fake Girlfriend”
One common complaint I encountered about Season 2 of Raising Hope was the lack of interest in Jimmy and Sabrina as (what was supposed to be) the show’s primary romantic coupling. As the episode “Jimmy’s Fake Girlfriend” demonstrated, the problem was not that Jimmy and Sabrina made a boring couple, it was that they just did not have too many good scenes up until this point. As the episode culminated in the performance of the story of Jimmy and Sabrina by the Room for Improvment Players (including Burt and Virginia and their hitherto latent but definitely potent improv skills), we, the audience, were won over just as much as Sabrina was. This episode also provided a template for how to blamelessly prompt a breakup if you are a guy who has feelings for a girl who is with another guy, especially if that guy is a jerk. The concept of this episode also set up scenes of acting for the sake of acting – a favorite routine of mine – as delivered by Ashley Tisdale, whose expertise in this area was no surprise, being as she is a veteran of the overacting-heavy Disney Channel.