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Confessions of 'Raising Hope's' New Showrunner (Guest Column)

Raising Hope TV Still - P 2013
FOX
"Raising Hope"

Taking over Fox's sitcom after three seasons leaves Mike Mariano feeling like the creepy uncle filling in for Daddy.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

People often compare their workplaces to a family, and show business is no exception. You have your parental figures, sibling rivalries and occasional out-of-town guests who show up once or twice a year. Mainly this analogy is derived from the affection and close connection that grows between co-workers who spend many hours together.

But sometimes in families things aren't always perfect. Sometimes daddies leave. Sometimes they go make new families and the creepy uncle moves in.

Here at Raising Hope, I'm the creepy uncle.

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For three TV seasons, which is the equivalent of 13 human years, Greg Garcia was the daddy at Raising Hope. I was the uncle with no family of his own, who always helped Daddy out when he was sick or just had so many chores in post­production that he needed someone to watch the kids. And just like in life, being supervised by your uncle for a day, or even a week, can be a fun diversion and a beneficial reminder of how much you love your real daddy.

As we begin season four here at Raising Hope, the despair is palpable. The children are acting up, Mom has started drinking and when recurring guests show up, they stare blankly at me with a confused smile and then immediately call their agents and ask if they can get booked on a flight to CBS to visit The Millers.

I'm OK with my role; it's what I signed up for. But I do worry about Raising Hope growing up to be a stripper -- driven to the pole by the poor parenting of its creepy uncle.

Adding to the instability is that we've moved. We used to live in a lovely safe neighborhood called Tuesday. But a polygamist named Seth MacFarlane, who has a whole bunch of families, bought our house and we've been forced to move across town to a dangerous neighborhood called Friday.

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Ultimately, I know I'm not in this alone. If it takes a village to raise a child, I figure it takes 6 million to 8 million viewers to nurture a television show. So if you see Raising Hope wandering around like a lost teenager on a Friday night, be nice. Pitch in. Maybe even set your DVR to "season pass," and be sure to press "play" within three to seven days. Preferably three.

♦♦♦♦♦

AUTHOR'S NOTE

For anyone who may have missed the syrupy satire dripping off the above piece, please rest assured that season four of Raising Hope couldn't be going better. As my mother said regarding my replacing Greg Garcia: "They kept the organ grinder and got rid of the monkey." And the crew here couldn't be happier to be rid of that tyrant. Little-known secret: Greg is a biter. I haven't bitten a member of the company all season. Except Cloris Leachman, but she bit me first!

AUTHOR'S OTHER NOTE

Greg Garcia is not a biter. He's a really nice guy. But he is bald, and I have a tremendous head of hair. And no lawyer can make me take that back.