Martha Plimpton, Raising Expectations for ‘Raising Hope’

Martha Plimpton Fox photo by Matthias Clamer

Martha Plimpton laughs at the notion, advanced by a TV blogger, that her new “Raising Hope” has nowhere to go with its premise of a 24-year-old slacker trying to take care of his baby as a single dad, with help from his ne’er do well family.

Four shows into filming, she says, “It’s going great, really fun.  The possibilities are endless, really, when you’re dealing with family life.”

Their low socio-economic position adds to their appeal, for her.  “I like the fact that we’re playing people who are jerry-rigging their lives.  It’s like they’re using duct tape, staples, anything they can get their hands on to make it work.  The opportunities for comedy are endless in that sense.

“And also, it’s all coming from a warm and loving place,” adds the brilliant performer, who won Tony nominations in 2007, ’08 and ’09, among her many other accolades.  “These people don’t bicker with each other out of irritation.  There’s a lot of heart, a lot of sweetness to the show.  I feel like we earn all the ridiculousness of it and whatever darkness is there.”

The 39-year-old daughter of actors Keith Carradine and Shelley Plimpton was playing young adult roles herself just the other day, wasn’t she?  And now she’s playing a grandmother?  Did she have any concerns about being tagged with the G-word?  After all, as she herself notes, “Hollywood tends to age actresses very fast.”

Plimpton responds, “In this instance, no because that’s the joke of it.  In our context, that’s the joke of the show.”   She admits, “I didn’t relate at all to being the mother of a 24-year-old, and I didn’t relate even more to playing a grandmother. But we’re seeing that my character also doesn’t relate to being the mother of a 24-year-old.”

She says she didn’t hesitate to go after “Raising Hope” since 1) she wanted to work with creator Greg Garcia, and 2) “It’s the first time I’ve read a pilot where I’ve actually laughed out loud.”

And she’s not even thinking about film and stage projects right now, says the actress, whose big-screen credits range from “Running on Empty” and “Parenthood” to “200 Cigarettes.”

“My whole outlook about my work and life is that I want to have a good time, and I don’t want to get bored.  This show is fun and new and challenging for me.  I’d like to see how things pan out with it before thinking about anything else,” she says. “ I’m really committed to seeing that we get off on the right foot.”

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