I’m not a fan, as a general rule, of bathroom humor. Most things intended to gross audiences into laughs just gross me out. So last night’s Raising Hope was a low point for me (or, as the characters would have undoubtedly said last night, it was a stinker). The premise was yet another newly-revealed Natesville tradition: The Walk for the Runs. The fictional charity walk benefits the equally fictional ABS (Angry Bowel Syndrome – the meaner older cousin of Irritable Bowel Syndrome). We also learn another tidbit about Jimmy’s past; he suffered from JABS (Juvenile Angry Bowel Syndrome), brought on by stress as Burt and Virginia used him as a five-year-old tie-breaker for their arguments.

The main purpose of the ABS plot seems to be to allow Barney to make a slew of uncomfortable (if you’re not a bathroom humor fan) potty jokes. It also brings guest star Wilmer Valderrama back into the mix at Natesville’s minor league pitching phenom.

Thankfully, the ABS jokes aren’t the only thing happening in the episode. The best moment probably comes at the Chance family dinner when Sabrina has her first post-brekaup run-in with Wyatt, who is out with his family. It quickly becomes clear that Wyatt & Co. have not forgiven Sabrina for the way things ended – or her quick jump to Jimmy after it was over. Petty ex arguing ensues as Wyatt demands Sabrina return his no-longer-in-production hair gel and she replies that she won’t until he returns her ice cream maker. It’s nice to see the Wyatt issue cause at least a little snag for Sabrina and Jimmy, considering what a huge obstacle he was to their relationship for so long and how quickly he was forgotten when they got together.

The answer to the “give me back my stuff” dilemma is clear though: Jimmy and Wyatt will race in the Walk for the Runs and the winner gets their item back. It’s the only fair way to do it, after all. Although, perhaps everyone could be saved some trouble if only they followed the advice of Valderrama’s Ricardo, who tells Jimmy that the only gifts he gives lovers come from his mouth (and they can decide if they want to return them after the breakup).

Secondary to the Jimmy/Sabrina story line is, of course, that of the far more interesting Burt and Virginia. Unfortunately, this week sees them fall into a typical sitcom plot: The quest for youth. There’s hair dye. There are trendy clothes. There are concerts and “youthful abandon.” And then, ultimately, there’s the realization that they’re actually great the way they are and love each other for the ways they’re changing. It’s cliched and kind of beneath the show, but at least it’s not a poop joke.

Hopefully Raising Hope will take a turn for the better around the holidays, or this perpetual bubble show may lose the charm that keeps fans coming back for more.

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