Surprise Cameos Rock ‘Raising Hope’ Finale

'Raising Hope' (Photo: Fox)

'Raising Hope' (Photo: Fox)

What do a brace-face nerd, a spitting alpaca, and a mysterious Goth clown named Drakkar Noir have in common? Not much, but there all bits woven into the laugh-out-loud first season finale of the Fox sitcom, “Raising Hope.”

Though the finale doesn’t air until May 12, the Paley Festival ended Thursday night with a panel on “Raising Hope” and an early screening of the season ender. Although we can’t spoil it, we can say it’s a flashback episode in which we learn what the characters were like before Hope was born.

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“It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. There are a lot of characters that we’ve seen in the show that all come back in that episode and we see where they were five years ago,” creator Greg Garcia told reporters. Two of those returning characters include Danny Masterson and Bijou Phillips, who played Hope’s jailbird mother Lucy before getting the death sentence.

The penultimate episode before the finale features Jaime Pressly and Ethan Suplee, alums from Garcia’s previous hit “My Name is Earl.” “They are gonna play a married couple and Jaime is verbally abusive to Ethan. It’s very fun–both ‘Raising Hope’ and ‘Earl’ fans should like it,” said Garcia.

There’s also a funny “sleep-training” episode coming up, in which Lucas Neff’s character Jimmy Chance hallucinates a lot. “It has some cool visual effects. He has this ongoing thing about this dog-head creature that he’s terrified of and he has to come to terms with,” said Garcia.

As for Season 2, producers plan to use the same babies and age them in real-time. “We plan on just starting the show a little bit in the future with the same babies. They’re great. They are part of our family now, so we plan on continuing to use them,” he added.

And Cloris Leachman, who plays Maw Maw, Jimmy’s grandmother with dementia, graduates from guest star to series regular. Garcia joked that the feisty 84-year-old actress wanted to be credited as, “And introducing Cloris Leachman.”

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