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The Caps, Greg Garcia and Raising Hope

By Dan Steinberg


Why does a lead character on the Fox sitcom Raising Hope keep wearing Washington Capitals t-shirts?

Well, the show was created by Greg Garcia. Garcia -- a long-ago staffer on WTEM's Tony Kornheiser Show -- was raised in Arlington. And Garcia's middle son -- 10-year old Nathan -- is a Caps nut, whose real-life bedroom is covered with Alex Ovechkin paraphernalia, including an Ovechkin Fathead. That's why.

"We like hockey and we're Caps fans," Garcia told me on Thursday. "That's the benefit of having a TV show: you get to dress people in the uniforms you like."

Indeed, Garcia has a history of such nods to D.C.'s sports teams. When he was doing "Yes, Dear," he regularly dressed one of the leads, New England Patriots fan Mike O'Malley, in Redskins gear. When he was doing "My Name Is Earl," the Yorktown grad put in a bit in which a funeral director (played by John Waters) constructed scenes of how the dead wanted to be remembered. One corpse was memorialized in a La-Z-Boy, surrounded by his Skins effects.

And so even though "Raising Hope" -- for which Garcia is also the executive producer -- is set in a nameless city featuring palm trees and blue skies, the character played by Garret Dillahunt keeps Rocking the Red.

"He was probably a big Al Iafrate fan - met him in a bar once and became a lifelong Caps fan," Garcia explained, and then paused. "I just made that up, but that's the history."



In truth, the show initially had some roadblocks in getting clearance from the NHL to use the Caps logo. Garcia eventually got in touch with Ted Leonsis, who removed those roadblocks, landing the shirt in the pilot.

"Then I noticed wardrobe's putting him in the shirt all the time, which is fine with me," Garcia said. "My characters don't have more than about four shirts anyway in their closet. If you see one, you're gonna see it a bunch of times."

And not just one, either. Wardrobe has a bunch of different Caps shirts, and Garcia was just recently picking out Skins clothes for future episodes. And Garcia -- an Orioles fan who named his oldest son Camden -- still has designs on an even bigger public embrace of D.C. sports.

"The ultimate goal is to get Ovechkin to come play the wacky Russian neighbor for an episode, so my son can meet him," he told me. "It's all about getting stuff for my son. That's really what it's all about....He could be the worst actor in the world. It's more important that my son could meet his hero."

See, this is why the Caps' renaissance is more than just the bandwagon everyone jokes about. Garcia grew up a mild Caps fans, like many 30-somethings from this area, but his son is legitimately crazy about the Caps. The kid plays hockey Saturday and Sunday mornings in Southern California and rummages through his dad's work bags for extra Caps t-shirts, and father and son are going to see the Lightning game when they come back to this area for Thanksgiving.

Of course, they're also going to the owner's box when the Redskins host the Vikings, since Garcia has gotten to know Daniel Snyder through his frequent on-air nods to the Skins. Again, this is the benefit of having your own TV show. So no, those Caps and Redskins shirts aren't going anywhere.

"It's hometown pride," Garcia told me. "Everybody around here knows those are my teams."

(Pics via @washcaps, Live In Red and Raising Hope.)


By Dan Steinberg  | November 11, 2010; 6:14 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

Great piece. I remember Garcia when he was with 980 in the early days of that station--I think Kornheiser's nickname for him was the "World's Foremost Authority." But I was still amazed to see Caps shirts on the show multiple times.

And the fact that many kids in the D.C. area--and even as far away as California--are becoming big Caps fans is a big story. D.C. area residents in Greg Garcia's generation grew up with the Redskins winning Super Bowls every few years and are Redskins fans for life. Kids now in the D.C. area are growing up with the Caps as the best and most exciting team in town with the most dynamic athlete in town. Particularly if the Caps can win a Cup, they're not going to forget that--they'll probably be lifetime Caps fans. That's part of...."Building America's Hockey Capital"--or at least building a fanbase that will last for a long time.

Posted by: TheFingerman | November 11, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Greg for the hometown love. My favorite reference though still has to be him naming the trailer park in My Name is Earl after Pimmit Hills in Falls Church.

Posted by: dtysko | November 11, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I remember Mr. Garcia's brief stint with Don and Mike. He even managed to work Don in as a play-by-play guy for a Redskins game on in the background during an episode of "Yes, Dear" back in the day.

Very cool to see the Caps, and the region, getting some knowledgeable love on network TV.

Posted by: Goat_74 | November 12, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Great piece Dan, this would be great for the print edition!

Posted by: vtto2485 | November 12, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm just pumped to see that he is an O's, Redskins, and Caps fan with no references to the abominations that are the Wizards and Nationals.

Posted by: jesstyr | November 12, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Didn't know that Greg Garcia was producing that show. Guess I'll check it out. GG also went to Frostburg and made a bunch of local references to "The Burg" in several My Name is Earl episodes. Keep Rockin' the Red Mr. Garcia!

Posted by: dwj703 | November 12, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Dan! I've been watching this show since it first aired and was so excited to see the Caps t-shirts in a few different episodes and always wondered how it came to be. It's good to finally learn the story behind it. The show is hilarious! I think it would be awesome to see Ovi in an episode!

Posted by: RestonCapsFan | November 12, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. An Ovie cameo: Ovie walks out of his house next door wearing only a towel to get the newspaper. (Just hope they airbrush those ugly tattoos.)

Posted by: pstenigma | November 12, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

yeah, but I didn't see him wear any Caps gear when he played the Terminator on "The Sarah Connor Chronicles"...very disappointing.

Posted by: Sportaholic | November 14, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

I love the show Raising Hope and I love the Caps! I was so excited when I started noticing Caps shirts on the show. Its awesome to see a hometown team getting such a big shout out!

Posted by: vm114 | November 14, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

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