Living in the fictional town of Natesville, Jimmy Chance is a single dad raising his new baby named Hope, the product of a one night fling with a serial killer who winds up in jail and is sentenced to death. Jimmy lives with and leans on his blue collar, oddball family for help supporting the child, including his eccentric mom Virginia (Martha Plimpton) and goofy dad Burt (Garret Dillahunt). Adding to the multi-generational household is Jimmy’s senile great-grandmother “Maw Maw” played by impeccable comedy legend Cloris Leachman.
In Raising Hope, no scenario is ever typical. Part Malcolm in the Middle, part Married with Children, Hope is a sitcom filled with zany plot lines and even zanier characters. Plimpton and Dillahunt shine in their roles as new grandparents to their baby’s baby. While Hope’s birth turns the Chance household literally and figuratively upside down, she also brings the family closer together as they work toward the common goal of keeping her alive.
Created by Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl), the show ran for four seasons to widespread critical acclaim and three Emmy nominations before FOX pulled the plug. Here’s how to watch Raising Hope streaming online.
How to Watch Raising Hope Online & Stream the Complete Series
Among all the streaming services, Hulu has exclusive rights to all four seasons of Raising Hope. There are a couple different options when signing up for Hulu, but either one will get you access to the show’s complete library:
If you simply want Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, you can sign up right here. It costs $7.99 per month for the limited commercials plan or $11.99 per month for the no commercials plan.
If you want to go from watching Hulu’s on-demand library to watching MLB games or other live TV without changing the app, you can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV”. This option gives you access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, as well as a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels. It costs $39.99 per month for the plan that includes limited commercials with the on-demand content or $43.99 per month for the plan that includes no commercials with the on-demand content.
After signing up for either of the above options, you can watch any episode of Raising Hope on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead
How Many Raising Hope Seasons Are There?
There are four seasons of the show totaling 88 episodes. Though ratings steadily declined over time, critics praised Hope’s cast, in particular Plimpton, Dillahunt and Lucas Neff who plays optimist new dad Jimmy.
Raising Hope Season 1
22 Episodes | September 2010 – May 2011
After Jimmy has a one night stand with a woman named Lucy, he and his family find out she’s a serial killer guilty of murdering her previous boyfriends. Eight months later, Lucy calls and tells him she’s pregnant with his baby. After she’s sentenced to death, Jimmy decides to raise the baby with help from his parents, renaming her from “Princess Beyoncé” to Hope. The first season explores many of Hope’s firsts as her father, a naive but wide-eyed 23-year-old, gets used to balancing fatherhood and work life with his personal endeavors. As Hope continues to grow, Jimmy learns more than he ever wanted to know about his own childhood, having been the product of his parents’ teenage pregnancy years before.
Raising Hope Season 2
22 Episodes | September 2011 – April 2012
Jimmy learns that he was once a talented musician as a kid, only his talents were squandered thanks to a golf putter accident. When Hope hits another child at day care, the family becomes worries she’s following her dead mother’s violent ways. A new friend agrees to pretend to be Jimmy’s girlfriend so he can make his love interest Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) jealous. Once Jimmy and Sabrina finally start dating, they both realize they’ve been keeping secrets from each other. In a mockumentary-style episode, Nancy Grace investigates Hope’s murderous mother, while the Chance family learns a shocking secret: Lucy survived her execution. In light of this new information, Jimmy loses custody of Hope, but when Lucy tries to kill Sabrina, she’s hit by a tour bus and killed for good.
Raising Hope Season 3
22 Episodes | October 2012 – March 2013
When Sabrina’s grandmother dies, she leaves Sabrina her house on the sole condition that she gets engaged. Jimmy then decides to propose. A social worker comes to check in on the Chances; while the family thinks it’s a check-up for Hope, the worker sees how Maw Maw is treated and moves her to a nursing home. When an old picture frame breaks, Virginia has to tell Jimmy about the time they gave him up for adoption and then adopted him back. Virginia thinks the world is going to end, and Jimmy and Burt play along with her craziness. Maw Maw wants to finish her bucket list. Jimmy volunteering for weird medical experiments in order to be able to afford an engagement ring for Sabrina. Sabrina’s mom hires the Modern Family camera crew to document Jimmy and Sabrina’s wedding, but Lucy (who’s still alive!) threatens to upstage the nuptials.
Raising Hope Season 4
22 Episodes | November 2013 – April 2014
Virginia finds out that the “Déjà Vu Man,” a man who frequently follows her around, is actually her real father. Sabrina officially adopts Hope. Burt suspects that new neighbor Gary has murdered his wife. Burt’s knack for never refusing a dare stems from his past ridicule when his friends mocked him after he refused to climb to the top of the town’s radio tower. Maw Maw finds a love interest in an old stoner named Hubert (Tommy Chong). Jimmy and Sabrina are worried when Hope refuses to mourn her dead fish. The young couple decides to try and have another baby. Virginia questions everything when she believes she sees a ghost in the house. Virginia’s dad returns at the end of the season to surprise Virginia with the wedding she never had, complete with a smooth performance by the one and only Kenny Loggins.
What Are the Best Raising Hope Episodes?
Raising Hope is a tightly written show chock-full of hilarious physical comedy by its amazing cast. Here’s a list of the best Raising Hope episodes.
Season 1, Episode 11: “Toy Story”
Jimmy finds out about Burt’s old scheme of selling the most wanted Christmas toy for a lot of money, often leading to a very sad and disappointed young Jimmy. Virginia wants the family to partake in a living nativity at their church to gain the respect of their fellow parishioners.
Season 1, Episode 5: “Happy Halloween”
After Sabrina has a fight with her boyfriend, she invites Jimmy along to a Halloween party. Later, Jimmy learns that his father’s ploy of scaring the hell out of him every year was only done so he could get hugs from his son; Jimmy then bans Burt from hanging out with hope on Halloween. Virginia is on Maw Maw duty after Maw Maw starts acting like she’s nine years old again.
Season 2, Episode 11: “Mrs. Smartypants”
Hope shows early signs of being a baby genius, so the family all race to be the first to get their GED. Jimmy’s old teacher Mr. Swift (Fred Willard) is teaching his GED class.
Season 2, Episode 14: “Jimmy’s Fake Girlfriend”
When news comes that Sabrina is engaged to her boyfriend Wyatt, Jimmy hires an aspiring actress (played by Ashley Tisdale) to stand in as his girlfriend. Sabrina’s true feelings eventually come to light when Jimmy, along with his friends and family, put on a play that shows Sabrina the highlights of their relationship.
Season 3, Episode 21: “Burt Mitzvah—The Musical”
Burt’s mother and father arrive (Shirley Jones and Lee Majors) to announce that Burt has Jewish ancestry on his mother’s side. He immediately begins prepping for his bar mitzvah, but as the day approaches, he figures out his parents’ long con. The episode is super vibrant and takes pleasure in lightly mocking musicals.
Season 1, Episode 22: “Don’t Vote for This Episode”
Maw Maw and Jimmy are turning 86 and 24, respectively, so Jimmy regales Hope with a story from when he turned 18. The flashback gives viewers a goth Jimmy, a senile Maw Maw, a responsible Frank, and many other character-flipping tidbits. We’re also served an origin story for Lucy and how she came to be the murderous psychopath we know her as.
Who Are the Actors in the Raising Hope Cast?
Lucas Neff as Jimmy Chance
Jimmy is Hope’s father, an innocent, wide-eyed 23-year-old who is mostly naive and clueless about raising a child (and well, everything else). After Hope ended, Neff moved on to shows like American Princess and Downward Dog.
Martha Plimpton as Virginia Chance
Virginia is Jimmy’s mom and Hope’s grandma. Virginia knows all about the struggle Jimmy is in for; she got pregnant with Jimmy at just 15 years old. Plimpton is best known for starring as Stef in The Goonies. After Hope, Plimpton jumped into The Real O’Neals and Younger.
Garret Dillahunt as Burt Chance
Burt is Jimmy’s dad and Hope’s grandfather. He has a lawn care/pool cleaning business in which Jimmy is his part-time assistant. Dillahunt is no stranger to the big or small screen having appeared in 12 Years A Slave, Deadwood, No Country for Old Men, Fear the Walking Dead, The Mindy Project and many more.
Shannon Woodward as Sabrina Collins
Sabrina is Jimmy’s co-worker and love interest, and later, his fiancé and wife. Woodward is best known for her stint in The Riches with Eddie Izzard, and can now be seen in HBO’s smash hit Westworld. ‘
Cloris Leachman as Maw Maw
Virginia’s 84-year-old grandmother—Jimmy’s great-grandmother and Hope’s great-great-grandmother—also lives with the family. She’s beyond senile, but occasionally has jutting glimpses of lucidity that shock everyone around her. Leachman is a legend having starred in The Last Picture Show, Young Frankenstein, Malcolm in the Middle and The Facts of Life.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on Raising Hope?
The family’s hijinks were usually supported by a strong cast of guest stars.
The Cast of My Name is Earl
When Jimmy’s plans for Hope’s birthday run amok, but Burt hires his old bandmate Smokey Floyd (Jason Lee) and a bunch of strange Natesville residents, all played by former My Name Is Earl cast members Ethan Suplee, Jaime Pressly, Eddie Steeples, Nadine Velazquez and Timothy Stack.
Melanie Griffith and Tippi Hedron as Sabrina’s mother Tamara Collins and Sabrina’s Nana, respectively
Real-life mother/daughter combo Griffith and Hedron guest star as Sabrina’s family. Griffith was recently seen in The Disaster Artist and Hawaii Five-O, while Hedron starred in 2017’s The Ghost and The Whale.
Amy Sedaris as Delilah
Queen of cringe Amy Sedaris stars in three episodes as Delilah, Virginia’s cousin. Sedaris is best known for Strangers with Candy, but can recently be seen in her latest show At Home with Amy Sedaris.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Raising Hope?
Raising Hope was created by the man who brought shows like My Name is Earl and The Millers to TV.
Gregory Thomas Garcia: Raising Hope Creator, Executive Producer, Director and Writer
Garcia got his start as a story editor for Family Matters between 1995-1997. He spent time working on Family Guy as consulting producer before creating Earl in 2005. After Hope, Garcia created The Millers and The Guest Book, which is still airing on TBS.
Where Raising Hope Ranks in the Television Pantheon
Raising Hope was very well received critically from its very first season. While it continued to get comparisons to Malcolm in the Middle and Garcia’s previous show, My Name is Earl, Hope carved a name of its own thanks to its quick witted cast and outrageous blue collar tone that wasn’t without heart. Time wrote, “Neff is amiably charming, Dillahunt and Plimpton give their characters a realism that belies the pilot’s often-contemptuous jokes, and maybe 20 percent of the first episode shows a sweet-heartedness that rises above the easy white-trash humor.”
As the series continued, reviews stayed favorable. Matt Roush of TV Guide called Hope, “A treat for anyone who loves a good call-back to classic sitcoms.”
With an ensemble full of strong, able actors who know exactly when and how hard to hit their comedic beats, Raising Hope delivers literal LOL moments that soften its characters’ rough edges and make you fall in love the Chance family buffoons time and time again.