[WARNING: This story contains spoilers from Friday's series finale of Raising Hope. Read at your own risk.]
Raising Hope ended its run on Friday the way the Fox family comedy spent most of its four years on the air: in an offbeat, but heartwarming way.
After first popping up in the Season 4 premiere, Virginia's long-lost father Arnold (Jeffrey Tambor) returned to town to do dramatic readings of Father's Day cards at Howdy's and to try to win Virginia's forgiveness. "I need a price check on how to forgive your father," Barney tells Virginia and the other shoppers. "How to Forgive Your Father by Deborah Hilter, on sale for $7.99," Frank replies.
Arnold sat down the family and explained that he had met someone special named Oliver but didn't think he'd ever have to prepare a wedding — "the Supreme Court really screwed me" — and asked Virginia (Martha Plimpton) to do it. After the way Arnold talked down to her last time, Virginia wasn't having it, but Arnold bribed her by offering to pay for Hope's college education. Cue Virginia pulling out her Wedding Extravaganza Dreambook, in which she's planning nuptials fit for a princess since she was little. While Virginia is busy planning, Burt (Garret Dillahunt) gets Hope (Baylie and Rylie Cregut) ready for college very early by teaching her how to play beer pong, how to engage in a food fight, how to toss a graduation cap in the air, and by making her a fake ID.
However, Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman) refuses to accept that Arnold has changed his ways and hires Frank to look into him. They tape a conversation in which Arnold admits that there is no one named Oliver. But his intentions are still pure: "As a father, I've been a zero. I wasn't there for you. I certainly wasn't there to throw you the wedding of your dreams because if I had been, it would have been just like the wedding you're planning for tomorrow. Because this wedding is for you," Arnold says, as he opens a box containing a dress replicated to look like Princess Diana's wedding gown, complete with the 25-foot train.
Burt and Virginia read the vows she was wrote when she was 15 and Arnold even hires the real Kenny Loggins — who is officially having a moment between this, Archer and that Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon bit — to perform. Burt and Virginia's first dance strikes a particularly emotional note as they dance to "Danny's Song," the same song that they sang to Hope in the pilot when Jimmy (Lucas Neff) brought her home.
Sadly, the moment is short-lived when Arnold reveals that he sold the Sedona, Ariz., condo that was going to go towards Hope's college fund in order to pay for the wedding. Instead of letting Maw Maw kill him so she can put her Funeral Extravaganza Dreambook to good use, Virginia forgives Arnold, and Jimmy says they can all band together to find a way to send Hope to school.
When Arnold also announces he has nowhere to stay, Jimmy offers him his old room at Burt and Virginia's because, as Jimmy says, Burt and Virginia made him a better father, so maybe they can do the same for Arnold. "Not everybody becomes a parent at the perfect time. Some of us do it way too early. Some of us do it way too late," Jimmy says in narration as the entire family gathers around the table. "The important thing is, when you get the chance, you make the most of it."
The series ends with Maw Maw mistaking Jimmy for her dead husband and leaning in for a big kiss in true, odd Raising Hope fashion.
So what did you think of the Raising Hope finale? Will you miss the series? Sound off below!
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