Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Review: My Name Is Earl - episodes 1 & 2

My Name Is Earl
3 / 5
8 pm Central, NBC

Earl Hickey (Jason Lee) is a low-life thief who suddenly wins $100,000 in the lotto and loses his ticket. He is subsequently hit by a car and ends up in hospital. Flat on his back, his red neck trashy wife Joy (Jaime Pressly) gets him to sign divorce papers. While watching Carson Daly on television, he experiences karma and changes his outlook on life, promising himself to do good to others from now on. He finds the winning ticket while picking up trash and is now plotted against by his ex-wife to steal the money. He makes a list of all the people he has done wrong to and vows to do right by each one, helped out by his seemingly idle brother Randy (Ethan Suplee.)

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The cast of regulars is rounded out by the really laid back Darnell (Crab Man), a cook, the father of Earl's son and future husband of his wife, played by Eddie Steeples. Steeples bears a resemblence to pop culture television commentator Touré. Brother Randy also hooks up with hottie motel maid Catalina (Nadine Velaquez.) The two haven't formed a romantic relationship yet, but like Daisy Duke, she likes to hang out and paly a role in the quest for Earl to right his past wrongs. Early on, Randy called dibs on her and Earl has not made the moves for her. Will that change?

In the first episode, he tracks down Kenny James, a guy he picked on in elementary school. He finds that out that Kenny is gay and takes him, along with his bloated, brother Randy to a gay bar in a nearby town to help Randy meet a man. There are some funny moments, particularly as Randy gets down and snags a man on the dance floor.

The show is a winner, with the down home charm of Earl and his good intentions. Earl is determined to get through his list.

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In the second episode, we find Earl thinking of quitting smoking, but unable to do it. When he gets stressed out he smokes. Catalina randomly picks a task for him tackle. Years earlier, Earl robbed a convenience store and was video taped in a stocking mask and unique t-shirt. An crazed aquaintance of his who was also a small time criminal, was mistakenly sent to jail for two years, without knowing that it was really Earl who did the crime. Earl gets dumped in front of the guys front house while Randy and Catalina speed away in what almost appears to be a Dukes of Hazzard Charger. Earl discovers that the guy found God in jail and felt going to the slammer was the best thing to happen to him.

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Eddie Steeples as Darnell

Jason Lee is excellent and carries the show. It's lightweight fare that's well done and sometimes, it's just what I need. I'll tune in again, but it's also not essential television for me, like how Seinfeld was.

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