Fake beards, skintight leather pants and blue and white face paint. After donning some particularly out-there accessories for the first season of the screwball yet sweet comedy series, Raising Hope, star Lucas Neff is ready — and willing — for anything.
"The weirder, the wackier, the more humiliating, the better," Neff tells TVGuide.com.
The Fox comedy is coming off of a strong first season, in which it earned two Emmy nominations and adoration from critics for its balance between the humorous (read: completely outlandish) and the heart-warming. Going into Season 2, expect more of the same, as the Chance family travels to Vegas ("there's nothing like Sin City for a family show," Neff jokes) and a kidnapping, all while facing the next milestones in baby Hope's young life.
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"Jimmy's a little bit less in constant freak-out mode, and I think this is more about, now Hope is a part of the family, and now what? How do we keep going?" he says. "We've got another mouth to feed, a child to raise, educate. Now she's walking, so it's going to be how do we keep her from head-butting the toaster?"
As the family comes together to raise Hope, one of the big questions left from last season is where Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) fits into it all. Over 22 episodes, she went from unrequited crush to Jimmy's best friend and practically an extended member of the Chance family. But will she and Jimmy move closer to becoming a couple? Neff has hope. "Jimmy needs her. That will-they-or-won't-they — I'm putting it all on the will-they, not the won't-they," Neff says. "We're going to learn some of Sabrina's secrets. We're going to learn a lot more about where she's coming from."
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Neff is tight-lipped about what those secrets may be, but Sabrina isn't the only whose backstory will be divulged this season. Following the season finale flashback — when fans learned that Jimmy's everyday attire once included goth makeup — this year, fans will get to travel back in time even further to learn that teenage Jimmy was gifted musically. Fittingly, YouTube sensation Greyson Chance will play young Jimmy in at least three episodes starting with the season premiere. "It's pretty sad. Obviously, I peaked early," Neff jokes about his 14-year-old mini-me. "He's doing what he does best. He's going to sing and play piano."
It may seem early in the series' run for flashback episodes, but Neff sees the endless potential comedic material in going back in time, even if viewers still have a lot to learn about present-day Jimmy, Sabrina, Virginia, Burt and Maw Maw. "If you cut to something and you give yourself enough time in a flashback, you can explore something that seems completely out of character for that character," he says. "You can say, maybe six years ago they were completely different. ... It just gives you so many options."
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So does this mean we'll see another appearance by 18-year-old Jimmy (aka goth Jimmy)? Neff sounds game."If there is one thing that I love to do is put on a ton of makeup everyday and tight-fitting spandex and leather," he says. "I had a good hiatus. Let's just leave it at that."
The new season of Raising Hope premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 9:30/8:30c on Fox.