“Raising Hope” is FOX’s new half-hour comedy about a family thrust into raising a baby girl. The inimitable Cloris Leachman plays Maw Maw, grandmother to Virginia (Martha Plimpton), great-grandmother to Jimmy (Lucas Neff) and great-great-grandmother to titular baby Hope. And Maw Maw’s not exactly all there.
“I have Alzheimer’s,” Leachman tells Zap2it. “However. I own the crappy house where everybody lives and nobody pays rent and since I have Alzheimer’s, they think I’m gonna die pretty soon but I’m not.”
Leachman originally told us that she was only the great-grandmother to baby Hope, but she found out on-stage at Summer Press Tour that she is in fact the great-great-grandmother, which doesn’t diminish her enthusiasm one bit.
“I’m so excited about this series,” says Leachman. “It’s going to be so much fun. It’s touching too.”
Like any person with Alzheimer’s, Maw Maw’s lucid moments come and go. The premiere shows a glimpse of Maw Maw in her right mind, which producer Gregory Thomas Garcia assures us is not the last we’ve seen of her true colors. He also teases some of the less-than-lucid moments we can look forward to.
“Oh, yes. Both on and off set, we’ll see some lucidity from Cloris,” laughs Garcia. “We will see some lucidity.”
“I just wrote a bit for you the other day where you go out to get the milk and you come in and you bring a cat,” Garcia says to Leachman. “And later in the episode, they open the fridge and the cat runs out. In the second episode, aren’t you eating spaghetti in the bathtub? It’s floating on a tray.”
Viewers can also rest assured that a topless Maw Maw may make an appearance from time to time.
“I think she has a problem once in awhile. I think she either forgets or is more comfortable that way,” laughs Garcia.
In addition to an interview, Leachman gave the press an impromptu piano concert in the hotel lobby. Watch the video below for a short clip, but know that she played for nearly 10 minutes.
“Raising Hope” premieres Tuesday (Sept. 21) at 9:00 p.m. ET on FOX.
Photo and video credit: Andrea Reiher, Zap2it