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"Hope & Faith" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 10/23/2003

ABC is trying to rev up “TGIF” again, huh?  I guess “Hope & Faith” will fit.


Hope Shanowski (Faith Ford) is a busy stay-at-home mom in Glen Falls, Ohio, with her husband, Charley (Ted McGinley), and their three children, daughters Sidney (Nicole Paggi) and Haley (Macey Cruthird), and son Justin (Jansen Panettiere in the pilot, Paulie Litt there after.)  Her actress sister, Faith Fairfield (Kelly Ripa), has been living in Hollywood on a soap opera called “The Sacred and the Sinful.”  When her evil twin on the soap suddenly commits murder/suicide on her character, Ashley Storm, she is in ruins because she didn’t save any of the money that she made from the soap.  She is now living with Hope and her family, and acts sort of like an older sister to her daughters.


In the first episode, Hope uses the house alarm to get her family to come down to breakfast.  Faith brings sticky buns to breakfast, but Hope objects to them, because she wants the family to eat healthy.  Faith is depressed watching the tape of her soap opera death and Hope tries to cheer her up by singing to her.  Faith does cheer up when Sidney has a fashion emergency.  Hope goes lingerie shopping to have something special for an afternoon “date” with Charley, when she gets a call from Sydney’s school.  Faith had taken her out of school to go clothes shopping.  Principal Tisdale (Daryl Edwards) almost suspends her, until Faith convinces him just to have her organize a fundraising bake sale instead.  Hope objects, because she doesn’t think it is much of a punishment.  She is so upset about it that it ruins her date with Charley.  Hope and Faith get into a big argument in the kitchen about who’s in control, which leads to a food fight.  Later, Hope overhears Faith giving Sydney good advice about boys.  The next morning, Faith and Sydney wake up to find that Hope has baked all of their goodies for them.


In the second episode, Hope and Faith unwillingly attend the funeral of a relative named Aunt Dodi whom they didn’t like.  They don’t like her because, according to family legend, she stole their mom’s heirloom opal ring years ago.  When the women see Dodi wearing the ring in the casket, Faith pretends to faint over the body and steals the ring back.  They argue over who deserves the ring more, but then they find out that it wasn’t their aunt.  Faith distracts the mourners with some goofy, soap opera-like story while Hope puts the ring back on the corpse.  Hope accidentally drops her purse in the casket while unsuccessfully trying to return the ring.  Back at home, Charley inadvertently sets the burglar alarm off while taking the kids to school, and can’t get it to stop.  Also, Hayley is mad that she always comes second, and therefore always gets ignored.  Charley convinces her that she is special.


In the third episode, Hope feels bad that Sydney can’t talk to her about boys, but she can talk to Faith.  While going through their old stuff for a garage sale, Faith discovers that her high school diploma is missing from its case.  Sydney tricks Faith into signing a midterm paper that she failed.  While at the school to get another copy of Faith’s diploma, they run into Mr. Lewis (John Havens), the teacher for whose midterm Sydney failed.  They find out that Faith had signed it, which surprises both of them.  They also find out that Faith had failed a French test back in high school, so she never technically graduated.  During Mr. Garrett’s (Robert Lehrer) French class, Hope and Faith meet James (Val Matt Emmich), Sydney’s boyfriend, whom Sydney is grounded from seeing because of the deception.  Faith feels bad that they don’t get to see each other, so she slips him a note that Hope will be gone that afternoon and that he should come over.  He misinterprets that as Faith wanting to hook up with him.  That afternoon, Sydney and Hope catch Faith in the living room with James only in his underwear (he took them off while she had her back turned.)  They manage to shield James from Charley, and then Hope chews Faith out about parenting.  Faith promises to do better.


In the fourth episode, ABC sues Faith for $5000 for arson damages to her former soap set.  It was an accident, but Hope won’t help her pay it.  Instead, she makes Faith get a job.  Faith goes through a series of humiliating jobs before Hope makes Faith her personal assistant.  She messes up the job when she makes sock monkeys that are all different for the children’s ward of the volunteer hospital, causing the kids to fight over them.  This makes Nurse Sally (Marylouise Burke), the head of the children’s ward, angry, and Hope chews Faith out for the mistake.  Faith attempts to sell her Emmy to a fan named John (John Scurti), but Hope won’t let her.  Hope accidentally breaks the Emmy, and agrees to buy it for $5000.


This show is sort of cookie-cutter sitcom stuff that manages to succeed upon the talents of its two leads.  Ford finally gets a lead role after playing a supporting character on “Murphy Brown” for years, and Ripa brings her bubbly, fun daytime personality to the show.


The supporting cast is another matter.  The three kids are all just generic “sitcom kids,” and none of them distinguish themselves.  Ted “Jump the Shark” McGinley is given almost nothing to do (I wonder if that was on purpose.)  He is utterly unconvincing when he attempts to act as if he doesn’t want Faith in their house.  I still think his best role was as Jefferson D’Arcy on “Married…with Children.”

Hope & Faith” fits into the traditional vain of “TGIF” with its cheesiness, but I thought ABC was trying to break free from that.  Putting the non-cheesy “George Lopez” and “Life with Bonnie” (except for her kids) was a good idea.  The show did generate some genuine laughs from me, especially from Ripa’s character.  I do hope they get off the Faith-screws-up-Hope-chews-her-out plotlines occasionally.  I will say though…I think the WB’s Friday night lineup is more along the lines that ABC was envisioning.

Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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