By ALEXA HARRISON
They say all good things must come to an end, but ending with a good show is nice way to go. The “Raising Hope” panel Thursday concluded the 28th-annual William S. Paley Television Festival at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
The 13th and final night of the fest was moderated by KTTV Fox 11’s “Good Day LA” host Steve Edwards, who occasionally pops up on the show created by Greg Garcia. Garcia, as well as Garrett Dillahunt, Martha Plimpton, Lucas Neff and Shannon Woodward sat on the panel, but one member of the Chance family was noticeably absent.
“Where is Cloris?” inquired Woodward.
“She was with us when we came in,” Neff joked.
Cloris Leachman was unable to attend for reasons that remained unbeknownst to the audience. As what seemed to be a small tribute, the Paley Center chose 1963’s “Sunset Strip” starring a young Leachman as the opening clip. The audience was also treated to the season finale of the skein. The endearing and hilarious episode, without giving too much away, brings us full circle with the lovable cast of characters.
The cast touched on their audition processes: Neff had begun cleaning houses for a living when he heard he got the audition for the show Garcia originally wanted to title “Keep Hope Alive.”
“I like to say we plucked Lucas from obscurity and when we’re done with him, we’re going to put him back,” Garcia joked.
Said Neff: “It was a miraculous sort of nexus point. I’d scrubbed my first two toilets like the week before I got this audition, and when you’re elbow deep in someone else’s toilet, you know, you just got to imagine things are going to go up from there.”
Garcia knew he’d found his Jimmy when he watched his audition tape.
“And then when he came to L.A. for his in-person audition at the studio, he was going up and down the hallways on the lot where there’s pictures of Kiefer Sutherland and all these other people, taking pictures of himself,” Garcia said.
All of the cast members are getting used to being recognized because of the show. When Edwards asked Dillahunt how he was enjoying it, he responded, “You mean because I’m not killing people?”
The jokes were endless for Dillahunt’s less than funny roles in such works as “Last House on the Left,” “Burn Notice,” “Criminal Minds” and “Deadwood.”
“(Fans) are certainly approaching me more than usual. And they’re not scared,” he added.
Another added bonus is having steady work, Plimpton said: “I certainly don’t mind being out of debt for the first time. Ever.”
What seems to be most important for Garcia and the cast is that they’ve brought something genuine to the smallscreen that viewers really care about.
“People have been so kind about the show. They respond to it in a way that is very warm and genuine,” Plimpton said, “and they remember scenes and they remember lines. It’s great!”
Woodward’s experiences with fans have made her feel like she’s making a difference.
“It wasn’t like they were recognizing me, it’s like they saw a part of something they really loved,” she said. “I felt proud, you know, almost like I worked for a great charity or something.”
“It’s wonderful that people care about it so much,” Garcia added. “I think that a lot of people who watch the show do love the show. I think the network would like a few more people to like it and a few more million people to tolerate it.”