15 shows about working-class families that aren’t Roseanne

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Raising Hope

I’ll admit, I wasn’t really on fire for this show when it originally aired from 2010-14, but I’ve since come around. It airs in syndication on several cable channels, and the more I watch, the more I realize the charm of this show: its willingness to make its characters look like the lovable fools we need in our TV lives.

The premise: Jimmy, a 23-year-old professional pool skimmer, has a one-night stand with a fugitive, and she becomes pregnant. She’s shortly captured after their encounter and heads right back to prison. Once the baby is born, Jimmy decides to raise her, Hope, and brings her home to the house he shares with his parents and senile grandmother, played perfectly by Cloris Leachman.

Jimmy’s parents were teenagers when they had him, and they now have to take care of her completely non-lucid mother. Not entirely grown up, Jimmy’s parents, Burt and Virginia (Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton, respectively) struggle with money and common sense as they try to help Jimmy take care of Hope.

Why you’ll love: At first, I thought the show was poking fun at the family, making them poor and stupid as a means to an end. However, as I wanted it, I realized they aren’t really all that stupid, but their lack of pretentiousness often comes off as simple-minded.

In a TV error filled with Gossip Girls and Grey’s Anatomies, Raising Hope was the stand-out for the average American. Most of our lives look far more like those of Jimmy and his family than they do Blair Waldorf’s or Meredith Grey’s, and it’s reassuring to see someone who looks like me on TV.

Where to find it: The show only lasted four short seasons, but it has since gather a bit of a cult following. You can get onboard (just like I did) on Hulu, or on Amazon for purchase.