Karma is a funny thing. Just ask Earl (Jason Lee), who's learning the hard way that when you do something bad, it has a way of coming back and biting you in the ass! Hoping to turn his life around, Earl's got a lengthy lis... more »t of detestable deeds to make up for. Also starring Jamie Pressly, Ethan Suplee, Eddie Steeples and Nadine Velazquez, My Name Is Earl is wildly offbeat and hilariously irreverent?the #1 new comedy of the season!« less
Lori N. (norris) from CLAYTON, LA Reviewed on 9/26/2009...
I love this show, its a shame it's cancelled. Joy is my favorite!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
My Name Is Earl breaks into your home
A. G. Corwin | 06/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And they say that creative, bizarre shows don't make it on TV anymore...Meet Earl(Jason Lee). Earl is a petty criminal who one day won $100,000 on a scratch-off ticket. Celebrating his unexpected win, Earl is hit by a car, loses the ticket, and ends up in the hospital where he decides that he needs to balance out all the bad things he has done in his life. Finding the ticket and getting his money, Earl is convinced that karma has put him on this mission, much to the dismay of his brother Randy (Ethan Suplee), his ex-wife Joy(Jaime Pressley), and her new boyfriend Darnell the Crab Man(Eddie Steeples).
Since the airing of the pilot, both critics and audiences have been blown away by My Name is Earl. Besides a extremely talented cast whose comedic chops are perfectly timed, Earl has a solid cast of writers who create 22-minutes of laugh out loud comedy every week. Earl's guest stars in Season 1 rival only Scrubs, including Giovanni Ribisi, Johnny Galecki, Beau Bridges, Jon Favreau, Adam Goldberg, Christine Taylor, and Juliette Lewis.
Season 1 of My Name is Earl offered 24 solid episodes, including the pilot, and received the Director's Guild Award and the People's Choice Award for Best New Comedy, and was nominated for a half dozen other awards including 2 Golden Globes. This would be a 5-star show but it remains to be seen if the writers and producers can keep this level of energy up for several more seasons. As First Seasons go though, this is one of the best to come along since Scrubs.
The DVD set just released and it is jam packed with extras include 8 episode commentaries, a 15-minute mini-episode that incorporates the Family Guy into the show, deleted scenes from 6 episodes, some outtake reels that highlight the improvisational nature of Jason Lee, Jamie Pressly, and Ethan Supplee, and a Behind The Scenes look at the show. This is a solid and fun show, and it deserves a place in your collection. Highly Recommended.
A.G. Corwin St.Louis, MO"
The most spiritual show on TV
Lonnie Buchanon | Auburndale, FL | 08/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've read the last 14 reviews, you already know the premise and story of the show. Here's what you won't read from anyone else: Under this show's veneer of blue collar humor lies a deeply spiritual and optimistic journey. The show is comedy in the classical sense--characters in a low place are raised up in the end by a series of events--but it is mainly about repentence, restitution and redemption. Earl decides to change his life for the better and stops doing the bad things he did before (repentence), he goes about seeking forgiveness from the people he has wronged and tries to restore what he has taken from them (restitution) and in the end he and the wronged people are better off for it (redemption). I believe the writers chose well in using the concept of instant karma as the vehicle--the driving force Earl has faith in--because that is a universal concept that all religions can identify and respect. Also, I love how intelligently subtle the change in Earl is portrayed. In every episode you will see a flashback of the "before" Earl along with "new" Earl; notice that there is no difference in clothing or hairstyle from before and after. The change is in his heart and behavior only, where it matters. TV writers usually smack you over the head with visual cues.
Anyone who has strived for spiritual improvement can readily identify with Earl. There are some aspects of that path that are easy and immediately rewarding, but that's not always true. Sometimes you have to suffer the misunderstanding, mocking or rejection of your friends and/or relatives or difficult, unforgiving souls. Later epsiodes have their difficult moments and Earl has to hold tight to his faith to get through it. The most significant of such situations is in the episode "Number One", when Earl gives all his money to the man who was supposed to win it. He ends up losing everything except his faith, hungry and homeless, but is finally restored. Lynard Skynard's "Simple Man" was the perfect music for that scene.
I am very happy to see this show put on DVD because NBC edited bits and pieces out when they reran the episodes to make more time for commercials. Some of those bits are important to comedic timing and storyline flow. I highly recommend you get this collection and try to view the episodes through its spiritual prism."
Earl Redeems Himself, and "Earl" Redeems Its Premise
Steven C. Simmons | Dexter, MI USA | 06/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You've seen a number of reviews here that describe the premise, so let's get right down to the points that make the show good.
No saccharine. Yes, there is affection and there are some deeply touching moments. But at their core, all are sincere. The expression may sometimes be quirky or over the top, but the cast and writers do a helluva job in achieving without ever devolving into farce or parody.
Slowly but surely, we're seeing the characters grow. Earl started his quest for redemption for the most self-centered of motives, but is discovering that kindness and generousness, even when painful, are often rewarding in and of themselves. And a bit of Earls changes are starting to rub off on Randy, Joy, and Crab Man. Someone mentioned that the premise could be limiting. He's right, and he's wrong. As Earl grows more sophisticated in his understanding of the world, I expect he'll realize and try to right ever more complex wrongs.
In it's own wierd way, this is an intelligent show. Not that the characters are particularly intelligent, but the situations are. It occasionally asks some hard questions, and rarely cops out on the difficult answers. Earl doesn't always get it, but the viewer will.
Most important, it's just damned funny. There's at least one laugh-out-loud moment in every show, and usually more. Better yet, they manage this without ever using a laugh track. Laugh tracks always feel to me like the producers are saying "This is a joke, stupid, laugh." The folks who produce Earl deliver laughs, and they trust you to get the joke."
One man's effort to be a better person
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 06/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Along with EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, Jason Lee's MY NAME IS EARL emerged as the finest new comedy of this past season. The premise was simple: a perpetual and hapless petty criminal wins the lottery but while celebrating gets hit by a car, causing him to lose the lottery ticket. While in the hospital he sees Carson Daly on TV talking about his philosophy of life, which he describes as karma, i.e. what goes around comes around. Earl comes to the sudden realization that the reason his life sucks is that he has spent his life doing nothing but sucky things to others. He resolves to make up for every bad thing he has ever done by compiling a list of everything he has ever done to hurt someone else and then making amends in each instance. When he finds the lost lottery ticket upon his discharge, he sees this as a sign that he is supposed to use that money to finance his quest. As he puts it each week, "I'm just trying to be a better person."
I have to confess that I often found Jason Lee irritating in most of his movie roles, especially his Kevin Smith films, though he was very fine in ALMOST FAMOUS as the lead singer for the band. Here he essentially recreates Nicholas Cage's character H.I. McDunnough from RAISING ARIZONA. They not only engage in the same kinds of petty thievery, they even resemble one another, and Lee affects the same kind of dumb, lopsided deer-in-the-headlights look of stupefaction that Cage perfected in that great film. But this isn't just mere imitation; Lee really makes the role his own and manages to imbue his utterly stupid character with a kind of genuine goodhearted nobility. For the show to work at all, Lee has to excel as Earl Hickey, and excel he does. Lee's Earl is clearly the central character and he does a great job of carrying the show, but he is assisted by an able though relatively small supporting cast. As good as Lee is as Earl, Jaime Pressly steals just about every episode as Earl's vile ex-wife Joy. An amazing beauty and real life former beauty queen, Pressly manages to come across as pure white trash (look, I'm the scion of several generations of white trash, so I know whereof I talk--you know the folks Jeff Foxworthy always jokes about? Well, those are my people.), albeit trash trapped in a stunning body. Her character could have been insufferable had they kept her the same ruthless plotter that she was in the earliest episodes, but as the season goes along they give her more and more depth, so that you come to learn that a lot of her harsh exterior covers genuine vulnerabilities. Ethan Suplee, another Kevin Smith alumni, plays Earl's brother Randy, one of the world's true innocents. Though Earl is not the sharpest tack in the box, he is Einstein compared to his brother Randy, but while Earl is truly trying to be a better person, Randy has always been one, even when he was assisting Earl in petty thievery. His problem is that he simply doesn't know any better. He is a very dim person with an extremely good heart. Much the same can be said for Joy's husband Darnell, whom Earl inexplicably calls Crab Man. Darnell is played by Eddie Steeples, who became a familiar face immediately before the show hit the air playing an office clerk in love with his rubber band ball in a series of Office Max commercials (he graced the cover of the 2005 Office Max catalog). Earl and Randy live in a seedy motor inn, where they have befriended the Mexican maid Catalina, played by the gorgeous Nadine Velazquez. So far her character has disappointed me. I'm not disappointed with the actress, but with the writers for not finding a better way of integrating her into the show. Few shows success by keeping the focus on just the main three or four characters and I suspect that for the show to develop--and it definitely will need to develop to stay a top show--they will need to do more with Catalina in the future. The cast is rounded out by a few performers who have made repeated guest appearances, including Giovanni Ribisi as a fellow crook, Beau Bridges as Earl and Randy's dad, Tracy Ashton as a one-legged girl Earl wronged (and who he has a huge amount of trouble trying to make amends), and Max Perlich.
I really enjoyed Season One, but I have some worries about where the show goes in the future. Each episode is structured around Earl getting to take one thing off the list each week. While this provides an easy framework to introduce each week's story, it could easily become a limiting premise. To succeed in the long run they are going to have to transcend this premise to become much more than a show about crossing someone else off Earl's list each week. Towards the end of the season they started showing signs that they were going to start breaking out of this framework to some degree. My other fear for the show is that while the characters are all a lot of fun, they might all be a tad too inherently two-dimensional to carry a series over several seasons. In other words, I fear that the show while a lot of fun in the short run might get old quick. They are going to have to give the characters a lot more depth in the future, which might be hard given how fundamentally dumb all the main characters are, excepting only Catalina, who has been underutilized so far. Thanks to shows like ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and SCRUBS and THE OFFICE, the bar has been raised for comedies on TV. Fifteen years ago the show would have been able to just go on as it is, but shows like those just mentioned challenge shows to develop and expand. My gut tells me that the show will be up to the challenge.
But fears for the future aside, this was in its first season a truly funny show with a genuinely unique set of characters. I'm definitely looking forward to see what they are able to do with the show in its second season."
Very funny, original series
Anthony J Novak | Playa del Rey, CA | 10/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't watch this show until I found it on DVD, but I was hooked from the first episode. I watched all episodes from Season 1 in a few day; this is a pretty good show. The show has a pretty clever concept--a small time crook named Earl (Jason Lee) is almost killed after he wins $100,000 from an instant lottery ticket. He believes that Karma is punishing him for all the bad things he's done. Therefore, he makes a list of all the people he has wronged in his life and tries to make it up to them one-by-one (or one episode at a time).
The show has great writing and a very good ensemble cast--highlighted by Jaime Pressly's dead-on performance as Earl's ex-wife. What makes the show really great is that it doesn't make fun of it characters. My Name is Earl could get many easy jokes out of the subject matter--lower class, uneducated rural folk--but instead it develops the characters. And the actors play it straight--they never wink at the camera; therefore, they form well-founded characters and not just chariactures.
The show features several recognizable faces in cameos including Dax Shepard, Giovanni Ribisi (hilarious in 2 episodes), Missi Pyle, Timothy Stack, Johnny Galecki, Beau Bridges, Jon Favreau, Adam Goldberg, Samm Levine, Christine Taylor, Malcolm David Kelley, Juliette Lewis, Clint Howard, Mike O'Malley, Max Perlich, and Lin Shaye. The DVD also includes delete scenes, which are better than the deleted scenes you usually find on a DVD."