The Fox comedy series Raising Hope airs Episode 2.06: Jimmy and the Kid on Tuesday, November 8 at 9:30 PM ET. Series star Lucas Neff, who plays Jimmy Chance, and series creator Greg Garcia, recently held a conference call to discuss this new episode of Raising Hope. Here's what they had to say below.
How did the concept for the show actually come about?
Greg Garcia: Well, I had a couple of ideas for movies, but I didn't really know how this movie would end. So, then it was time for me to go and pitch new shows after My Name Is Earl got cancelled. So, I went into Fox and pitched this. I think I kind of wanted to do a domestic comedy, but, a twisted domestic comedy. So, this is what I came up with.
Lucas, what attracted you to the role of Jimmy Chance, and what are the differences and similarities between the two of you?
Lucas Neff: Well, what attracted me to the role was twofold. One, I was really broke, and unemployed. It's the best job offer I've ever received in my life. So, I'd have been a fool to turn it down. Then, two, the writing is really good. It's especially good considering it's in the sitcom format, which can be difficult to write for. And, Greg obviously has a lot of experience writing comedies for television. So, it, just seemed like a wonderful opportunity for me, you know, a gift from the sky. And, then as far as similarities between myself and Jimmy, I guess sad to say, I think we both try really hard. But, we don't always succeed on the first go around. We both have a learning curve. I think both Jimmy and myself have to learn to accept that we don't always get it right out of the gates, and to keep trying and hope for the best, and know that we're surrounded by good people.
I'm wondering about getting in Grayson to play the young Jimmy, which sounds like a fantastic kind of idea. I was just wondering how all that came about, how you got Grayson on the show. And, did you come up with the storyline just because he does look a little bit like Lucas. And, also, will he be back?
Greg Garcia: Yea. Well, how it came about was I have three sons. One of them was at a bar mitzvah. Grayson was playing at the bar mitzvah, so one of these insane bar mitzvahs that they seem to have these days around here in an airplane hangar. They had hired Grayson to perform. My son came home and was raving about him. So, I looked him up on the internet and then I realized, "oh, yeah," I had seen this kid's YouTube clip. Then, as I watched him, I was like, gosh, you know, I think he could look like a young Lucas pretty much. And, then, I just kind of got this idea that what if Lucas used to have this crazy musical talent that nobody told him about. Then, we could do a flashback to that time. And, then we figured out a whole episode about it. He comes back; he's come back once so far. He's going to come back; he's come back twice so far?
Greg Garcia: Yes, he's been on there once, but he'll be in three episodes in the second season.
Lucas, what do you think of having someone so talented playing your younger self?
Lucas Neff: Well, unfortunately, I feel like you instantly start getting into a bit of a comparison game. There's no way I'm going to beat this little tween phenom, who is super-talented. But, he's also a really nice kid. You're actually going to get to see him act a little bit too, which he's got a lot of talent. I was really happy to meet him. His YouTube videos blew my mind along with all of the other teen girls out there. Yes, he was fun. I wish the best to him.
Greg Garcia: This was nothing new to Lucas. My son plays the four-year-old version of Jimmy, and he's way more talented than Lucas. So, Lucas has been getting used to this for a while.
Lucas Neff: Yes. Greg's son likes to say that I play his part.
Greg Garcia: You play the grown up version, yes.
Lucas Neff: I play the older him.
I wonder if your talents for singing are on par with Jimmy's or are they better or worse, or what you have to do for that?
Lucas Neff: The truth is a mysterious thing. No. They dubbed in a voice for me for the good singing, which was to the good of the show. I'm certainly not a trained singer. The only place I could probably carry a tune is my shower. So, no, I'm not that great of a singer. I'm not necessarily bad as I was on the show. I'm still more in that gray, murky territory in between the two, but closer to the bad.
Greg Garcia: He's not bad enough to be funny. He's not good enough to be good.
If I still have the line, I have a quick question for you. Greg, I wondered as I watched the season finale last year, at what point you knew that was going to be Jimmy's backstory? It felt like something like, "well, heck, if we're not green lit for another season, let's get crazy with this." Was it at all? Or, did you always know that he was going to be a crazy guy?
Greg Garcia: No. More it was like we got our pick-up very early. So, if anything, it's more like 'Hey, we're green lit for a second season. Let's do something, ... get crazy with this.' But, no, I think just towards the end of the season, we, the writers and I, sat down and thought about what would be a good season ender. And, then we came up with all those people's backstory and stuff. It was just fun and we knew what we had done during the year. So, we knew what we kind of had to stick true to as far as the reality of things.
Greg, first of all, you know I wouldn't ask this if I didn't at least believe it a little bit. What's it like having the greatest comedy current on TV and possibly in the history of TV?
Greg Garcia: Wow. That is a brilliant question. I'm so flattered by that question and that you would think to ask a question like that. Gosh. I don't even know how to answer. But, it's very fulfilling to have the best comedy on television and possibly in the history of television. Thank you, thank you very much for asking that.
Lucas, you're still pretty much a newbie on there, but...
Greg Garcia: Well, to be fair to Lucas, I think the cat is kind of out of the bag ... Lucas does not involve himself in Twitter at all. That is just me creating a Twitter thing for Lucas. And, then I just Tweet probably the most ridiculous things that I can think of, like tummy aches or...
Lucas Neff: The most emasculated things he can think of.
Greg Garcia: And, I just kind of torture him with showing him what I Tweet. So, yes, he doesn't do anything with Twitter.
How do you think Twitter is changing the relationship between fans and the actors and executive producers and everybody behind the scenes?
Greg Garcia: Well, look, I just think it's a fun little way to get feedback and to have a little contact with your audience. I'm not so sure how it's wildly changing ratings or anything like that. I don't think the 8,000 people following me on Twitter. If they're following me, they're probably already watching the show. So, I'm not so sure what it does there. But, it is fun and it's a nice little diversion from the day to get feedback on the show and to say stupid things.
There was a photo from an upcoming episode. I can't remember which one it is, maybe from tonight's with Jimmy holding Hope. It's the most adorable picture, I swear. You said in a previous interview that playing this role really hadn't made you want to have a baby yet. Has that changed at all? I mean, are you getting more comfortable with being around a baby every day?
Lucas Neff: I think I'm getting a bit more comfortable. I'm a creature of habit. I spend a lot of time around these babies. So, I would be really surprised and saddened if I wasn't getting a bit more comfortable. Yes, if my kids were like Bailey and Riley, the two girls who play Hope, yes, I would love to have those kids as my children. They're adorable and happy and playful and curious, all the great things about being human, with not too much of the bad stuff - just mainly smells and odors and things of that nature. Yes, I want kids. I don't know that I'll ever be ready. But, I'll certainly want them. I'll have them regardless of whether I am ready, I think. I just don't have a timeframe on it yet.
I had actually talked to Martha not long ago, and I had asked her this question. So, I thought I would ask you also. Has there been an episode that was your favorite episode? If so, why?
Lucas Neff: That's always a tough question for me to answer, because there are different episodes that are my favorite for different reasons. I'll always have a special place in my heart for the pilot, because it was the first episode of television I ever shot in my life. It was a huge door opening and life changing experience for me. So, it's, that seminal moment's always going to be treasured by me. But, I also loved our season finale for a ton of reasons. There's almost a moment or more moments in every episode where I just really love what I do. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. I have a lame answer, but it's just the truth. I really like, and am proud of, all the episodes that we do. On any given day, any one of them could be my favorite.
Do you think that Jimmy will ever get a chance to be with his girl?
Lucas Neff: Well, I think that's a better question for Greg as he's the writer. I hope so. I really hope so. I think that this season I can safely say we will answer the "will they, won't they" question. Or, at least, we will have an answer along the way. Maybe that answer will change. But, speaking as far as my hopes and Jimmy's hopes, yes, I hope they get together.
When I ask people why they love their show, they often say because it's very different than any other comedy out there. Can you help us put your finger on what is the reason the show's such a hit and why people love it so much?
Greg Garcia: Gosh, I don't know. I wish more people loved it. If you look at some of our ratings compared to some of the other comedies on TV, I certainly scratch my head as to why more people watch some of those than ours. But, I think that the people that do watch the show and like the show, it's because a lot of it, I think, has to do with our actors and how they play these roles; and that they're very believable and also very likable. You like these people. You root for them. You want to see what they're doing on a daily basis. Then, I think our writers do a fantastic job of not only coming up with funny things, week to week, but really coming up with solid stories. I think a lot of comedies you watch on TV, the stories aren't always there. I'm not sure that a lot of the audience cares about that too much sometimes. But, we do. So, I think on a weekly basis the fact that you're getting a nice solid story every week, in addition to your comedy, hopefully, that brings people back as well.
I was just wondering if there's a particular line or scene that you either had a ton of trouble getting through or just gets quoted back to you all the time that just really seems to define your role.
Lucas Neff: Well, I know that a lot of people talk about. By the way, this is Lucas. A lot of people talk about the car seat moment in the pilot as being sort of a defining moment for the series as to what the show's sensibilities are, which is that we're a family that's figuring things out. We make some, sometimes, pretty loopy mistakes, like not tying a car seat to the seat. But, everything works out okay, she ends up fine. We learn from it. As far as an actor goes, there's a scene almost every day that cracks me up. I think, maybe a little to the detriment of our shooting schedule. But, I think that and the execution scene in the pilot, I think, were real tone setters for us.