More than a few TV shows have done homages to/parodies of “It’s a Wonderful Life” for their Christmas episodes. Fewer have done “It’s a Wonderful Life” takeoffs while also putting one of their lead actors in a huge fat suit, which is what “Raising Hope” does to Martha Plimpton in its holiday show on Tuesday (Dec. 13).
“It was so heavy and so impossible to get around, they had to give me a motorized cooler to ride to set,” Plimpton tells Zap2it, laughing as she recalls the prosthetic burden she carried for the episode. “… It was the only way I could get around. I couldn’t bend my legs, I couldn’t move my arms — you’ll see.”
(The cooler, incidentally, is a prop used in an episode airing later in the season.)
The episode is called “It’s a Hopeful Life,” and it explores what would have happened had Jimmy (Lucas Neff) never conceived a child with serial killer Lucy (Bijou Phillips, who makes a return appearance).
“We get that wonderful, ‘Raising Hope’ version of how different and awful the world would be without Hope having come into it,” Neff says. “It’s great because you get the opportunity to see all our major principals in really different ways. … Garret [Dillahunt, who plays Burt] is kind of creepy, which is in line with a lot of his other work, and he’s great at it.”
Dillahunt, however, describes his alternate-world character as “sad player Burt.”
“It’s not pretty,” he says. “We didn’t know when we shot the pilot that we were this close to disaster if Jimmy hadn’t knocked up a serial killer.”
“It’s a Wonderful Hope” airs at 9:30 p.m. ET Tuesday on FOX.