My Name Is Earl: Season 1 (2005)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
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Overall Rating 73%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,575
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Connections: My Name Is Earl

Earl is a low-life who buys a winning lottery ticket, only to get hit by a car, losing the ticket in the process. He then realizes in the hospital that his bad luck is the result of karma in which fate punishes him for all the rotten things he's ever done in his life; therefore, he then decides to dedicate his life to making amends to all the people he has hurt in his life. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: June 7, 2012
It's sort of funny how things work sometimes. I was eating dinner a few nights ago, and I turned the television on so that I could find something to watch while devouring that plate of spaghetti. An episode of My Name is Earl was on, and even though I had never heard of the show before (I don't watch a lot of TV), I really enjoyed the chunk that I saw. The next day, I was looking around on Netflix for something to watch, and what do you know: this show was a recommendation. How that worked, I couldn't tell you... but I decided to watch another episode or two, and that quickly turned into watching the entire first season in just a couple of days. Can you tell that I really enjoyed it?

The concept for the show is simple: Earl Hickey (Jason Lee) was a white trash criminal who spent his days thinking up new ways to rip people off and steal things for his own personal profit. One day, he wins $100,000 on a scratch-off lottery ticket, and he thinks that he is set for life... until he is hit by a car just seconds later and the winning ticket flies out of his hand. While in the hospital, his wife Joy (Jaime Pressly) brings him divorce papers so that she can marry Darnell (Eddie Steeples), the father of Earl's illegitimate child, and Earl is just in a major funk due to how his life is going.

It is then that he has an epiphany about karma: his life sucks because he is a bad person, so if he can be a good person, maybe his life will turn around. So, he writes a list of all of the bad things that he has done over the years and sets out to correct each and every one of them. Maybe he stole money from somebody, and thus, he has to give them the money back. Perhaps he stole a police officer's badge, which means that he has to give it back to the poor guy.

His dim-witted brother Randy (Ethan Suplee) and a maid named Catalina (Nadine Velazquez) who works at the motel where they live help him out, but they quickly discover that this is going to be harder than it sounded. For example, just giving that police badge back isn't going to cut it, as stealing it caused the officer to be demoted and lose his passion for the job. So, they will have to get him promoted back to where he was and undo the damage that Earl's theft caused. Every episode in this season follows the same basic formula, and in true sitcom fashion, there's not much connecting the episodes aside from the characters and the general theme.

The writing found in this is fantastic, to cut to the chase. That was the big draw for me while watching that one episode, and it's the reason I came back to the show later on. Each episode gives the characters a clear objective, and they take the necessary steps to achieve said objective. The thing is, the writers were smart about how to handle these things, and each item on Earl's list turns out to be more complex than it would appear at first glance. Also, most episodes feature at least one scene or sentence that comes back to majorly impact the ending of the episode - a line that you might think is just a quick joke turns out to be a huge plot device. These things are never obvious, and the way that they transformed the episodes was just genius. This keeps the show interesting, and honestly, there were no weak episodes in this season.

I also loved all of the actors and thought that everybody did a hell of a job with their roles. Jason Lee plays the white trash criminal to perfection, and he is also believable as the nice guy who just wants to help people. Ethan Suplee is also fantastic as the "simple" brother, and his actions and one-liners make for a large portion of the laughs ("I have to go tinkle" - "Tinkle? That's a stupid thing to call it... what do you say when you have to go ploppies?"). Jaime Pressly is also a major part of most episodes, and once again, I can't say a single negative thing about her. She plays the trailer trash woman to perfection, and even though she is a bitch, she is a damned charming bitch. Nadine Velazquez and Eddie Steeples, the Spanish maid and Joy's black husband respectively, both bring a lot of laughs as well, even though neither are as prominently featured as the rest of the cast.

There are also a lot of guest stars, which keeps things interesting. Most episodes have at least one guest to add a little something extra to the story, and there were a lot of great picks in this season. We've got Beau Bridges, Clint Howard, Missi Pyle, Johnny Galecki, Brett Butler, Juliette Lewis, and Lin Shaye just to name a few, and they're all a blast to watch (especially Juliette Lewis - I particularly loved her appearance as a badass bounty hunter with a vendetta against Joy).

I've heard that the show went downhill in later seasons, and while I can't comment on that as of this writing, I have to give the first season a huge thumbs up. As I mentioned above, I don't really keep up with television shows, so this one was brand new to me. Maybe you've heard of it before, but if not, I highly recommend checking out a couple of episodes. You're guaranteed to get a lot of laughs courtesy of the great writing, the memorable characters, and the effective storylines found in each episode. I can't say a single bad thing about the show as a whole at this point or any of the episodes in this season, so I have to give it a thumbs up and a perfect score. 10/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added June 8, 2012 at 2:09am
I am so pissed about the last season. I would almost say not to watch it because it is pretty screwed up on what they did.
Bill Wolford #2: Bill Wolford - added June 9, 2012 at 9:50pm
I wouldn't be too harsh with it. There was supposed to be another season of it that didn't get picked up by the network & when they shopped it to other networks it didn't happen there either. So you get left with what ended the last season, but more was supposed to be on the way. Look up the show on wikipedia, it has the whole story.
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