“ Genre: Television - My Name is Earl / Theatrical Release: 2005 / Director: Chris Koch, Craig Zisk, Eyal Gordin, Gregory Thomas Garcia, Ken Whittingham / Actors: Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jaime Pressly, Nadine Velazquez, Eddie Steeples ... / DVD released 2006-09-19 at 20th Century Fox / Features of the DVD: AC-3, Colour, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC „
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My Name Is Earl is a fantastic comedy series. The pilot is hilarious, the rest of series one gets funnier, and the rest of the series gets even funnier after that!
Earl is a small-time villain who wins a large sum of money on a scratch-card but then gets run over and ends up in hospital where he starts to muse on why bad things happen to bad people. Then, on the TV, he sees a man explaining Karma and he takes that as his new purpose in life - he writes a list of all the things he's ever done wrong to people and goes around trying to make up for them.
Each episode of the show is based upon one item on his list and his oft-thwarted attempts to make amends. The misdemeanours on his list range from the trivial to the serious, from never having let his brother, Randy, get the better of two things to having stolen a girl's false leg.
His brother, Randy, has special educational needs and lives with Earl. He is like Earl's sidekick in the adventures as they live off the scratch-card money.
There are a lot of other supporting characters who feature in the show, and they all complement each other perfectly.
It is a very funny show.
My name is earl season 1 is a brilliant start to the hit television season. earl hicky (Jason lee) is a criminal who lies, cheats and steals, but when scratches off a scratchcard to find that he has won $100,000 he is ecstatic, but his happiness soon comes to an end when he gets hit by a car and sent to hospital, while he is in the hospital he realizes that he has to change his ways and he thinks that karma is punishing him so he then decides to make a list of all the bad things and evil deeds that he has done over the years and he decides that one by one he is going to make up for them. Watching earl make up for the bad things that he has done is hilarious some of the things that his brother does and says is even funnier because lets just say he isn't the sharpest tool in the box. season 1 I think is the best it has some really funny bits and no bad bits if you have never seen my name is earl then I think that you should it is out on DVD and is in most DVD shops for around £10 - £15, so it is not that expensive if you think about it, and it is great value.
My Name Is Earl is a US sitcom about a small-time criminal, Earl Hickey, who decides to turn his life around and make up for all the bad things he's done. There are now 4 seasons; Season One was made in 2005.
The Season One DVD is a 4-disc box set containing 24 25-minute episodes plus a extra episode, deleted scenes, bloopers, a 'making of' featurette and a soundtrack promo. The total runtime is 501 minutes, and it's Cert 12.
** You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things and then wonders why his life sucks? **
That was Earl Hickey, petty criminal and general ne'er-do-well in a southern US backwater, until he saw the light. In episode one Earl wins $100,000 on a petrol station scratch card and is almost immediately mown down by a car. The scratch card blows out of his hands. Waking up in hospital, Earl decides his back luck is karma's way of telling him he's a bad person, so he writes an exhaustive list of all the bad things he's ever done, with the intention of making up for all of them and becoming a better person.
Once he's discharged from hospital Earl miraculously finds his lost winning scratch card and is able to put the money towards his quest to patch things up with all the people he's ever hurt. He moves into a motel with his childlike younger brother Randy, who used to be his partner in crime and is now set to become his assistant in doing good. The rest of Season One follows Earl as he attempts to cross his previous misdemeanors of his list, getting into plenty of scrapes along the way. He is helped by Catalina, a maid at the motel, and hindered by his horrible ex-wife, Joy.
** Is it any good? **
In my opinion this is one of the best US sitcoms of the previous decade. Each episode is consistently funny, mainly due to the watertight script and fantastic performances from the cast.
The idea of placating 'karma' by means of list of bad things to make up for is a great basis for a series as it allows the writers to be quite inventive with the plot in each episode, as long as it is list-related, so the episodes are very varied and not at all repetitive. Since each one starts with Earl's backstory you can dip in and out of episodes without having to watch them in chronological order, although I personally think it's better to watch them in order as there's the occasional reference to previous episodes and lots of running jokes and minor characters popping up again and again. A few of my favourite episodes are the one where Earl goes to visit an ex-girlfriend who thinks he's dead (he faked his own death to get away from her), the one where he goes to the Rotten Kids' Camp for children with behavioural issues (he was the first kid to ever be kicked out) and the episode where his almost-romance with a beautiful psychology professor is violently thwarted by fate. The best and funniest episode is the final one in the series, where we learn a little more about the background to Earl's scratch card win.
The script is fantastic, with the jokes (verbal and visual) sometimes coming so quickly that you need to go back and watch them again. There is a lot of violence, political incorrectness and toilet humour in My Name is Earl, which stops the subject matter from becoming too cheesy. Much of the humour also stems from the characters' lack of self awareness, such as Joy struggling to find words to describe her disappointment when she unwraps a Christmas present only to find a thesaurus, or her dismal attempt to get into art school by tracing a cartoon picture of a turtle.
The actors do a great job. Jason Lee manages to make Earl quite a lovable rogue, even though many of his previous misdemeanors were quite bad (e.g. arson, theft, assault). Earl's simple, obese brother Randy is played to perfection by Ethan Suplee who manages to make the character completely non-threatening, even though he too is a bit of a thug. The character is easier to play than Earl though, since Randy hardly develops during the series. Nadine Velazquez, who plays the feisty motel maid, Catalina, is also good in her role, but for me it is Earl's ex-wife Joy, played by Jaime Pressly, who really steals the show. I can't think of anyone less deserving of the name Joy: the woman is a bitter, twisted, thieving, manipulative, crass, lazy nightmare - and that's describing her kindly. Pressly's portrayal of her is hilarious, absolutely convincing and - pardon the pun - a joy to watch. The bit-part actors are also very good too - most of Earl's criminal buddies overact their heads off, but in this wacky show it fits. The young boy (Noah Crawford) who portrays Earl as a child in the frequent flashback scenes also deserves a special mention: I've never seen such a convincing portrayal of a malevolent child!
** Any negatives? **
I mentioned that the humour is not very politically correct and I can imagine some viewers wouldn't like the idea of laughing at drunks, prostitutes, illegal immigrants and suicidal people. The characters themselves also come out with some very prejudiced ideas (although Earl manages to overcome some of them in his search to placate karma). Most of Earl's friends are really bad, dishonest people, and I know my mum, for example, said she found it difficult to sympathise with such sleazy characters. In addition, I found the character of Randy a bit too childlike at times - he sometimes bordered on the creepy.
It is also arguable whether the season really needed 24 episodes, since the odd one is a bit weaker than the others. Though the format is not repetitive in Season One, I can imagine it would be in later seasons if Earl is still trying to cross things off his list.
** Conclusion **
Despite its few faults this series is superbly acted and scripted, original and very funny. Few recent sitcoms have made me laugh as much as My Name Is Earl, and that, for me, makes it worthy of five stars.
Currently available on Amazon for £13.99
Jason Lee is Earl hickey - a petty crook who has a pretty long track record of crimes and jail time. One day he goes into a convenience store to buy a lottery ticket. When he discovers that he's won $100,000, he thinks he's got it made for himself, until he gets hit by a car and watches his lotto ticket flutter away. In the hospital, under morphine, he watches an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly. On the show, they talk about the Americanized concept of karma and he begins to believe that in order to get his life going good again, he needs to start making up for all the wrong things he did in his life. So he writes a list of everything bad he's ever done, and plans to make up for them, hoping that karmic retribution will be kinder to him. After he does the first deed of good, he finds his lotto ticket again, and sets out to complete the list, using his new found wealth, and tries to atone for all his past sins.
Earl is a great sitcom. It's very different in quite a lot of ways, in that the characters aren't educated upper-city types with luxury apartments, or working class families who have hilarious squabbles. Earl is about hicks, in the fictional county of Camden. The supporting cast are Earl's dimwitted brother Randy (Ethan Suplee in one of my favourite roles of his), Earl's ex-wife Joy (Jaime Pressly) who seeks to get her hands on all of Earl's winnings, and the man she left him for - Darnell (Eddie Steeples), who works at the bar they're always at. With them is the maid who works at the hotel Earl and Randy are staying at, Catalina (Nadine Velazquez). The characters are great, too. They all have such dynamism and really bring the county to life. All are brilliantly written, too and the way they all interact off Earl and each other is really good. The funniest thing is that none of them are particularly intelligent either, which is quite change of pace.
Each episode recalls how Earl crossed off another item from his list. At first he picks the easier one, but with each episode the tasks seem to get a bit more tricky. Of course, things are never as simple as saying "sorry", as Earl finds out, and the episodes always find a way to complicate things for him, and its sure to guarantee hilarity.
Through all its madcap writing and acting, My Name Is Earl has some pretty touching moments, too, with the constant search for self-evaluation always hanging around as the central theme. It's great to see Earl turn into this really nice person when the flashbacks show him as being such a dick. The character has loads of trials put in front of him, too, through other characters which seem to just want him to get back into his crook ways.
My Name is Earl is a very strange but also very good TV show featuring Jason Lee in the role that has since allowed him to break from just being "that guy in the Kevin Smith films" and move onto greener (money-wise) and more profitable pastures, such as Alvin and the Chipmunks. The show has a loony premise, and although it had been run down into the ground a bit by its fourth season, it was still vital by the time it was crudely cancelled by the network.
Lee plays Earl J. Hickey, a crook who has no regard for others and is simply very selfish. However, when he wins $100,000 with a lottery ticket, he finds karma coming back to bite him in the butt when he is hit by a car and then loses the ticket. In hospital, he realises how crass he has been, and makes a list of every bad thing he's ever done to someone, as he then tries to rectify each situation. Strangely, after one good deed, the money shows up again, and he sees this as a sign, that he must continue to do good or face worse fortune in the future.
Lee is the great centrepiece of the show; he looks hilarious with his moustache, and he does a great southern accent, too. Ethan Suplee is also a fun comic sidekick as Randall "Randy" Doo Hickey, his younger brother, while Jamie Pressley steals the show as Joy Farrah Darville Hickey Turner, Hickey's cantankerous, greedy, money-grabbing ex-wife, who has little appreciation for other people unless she can use them to her own benefit.
This was a great start to a fun TV show with a wicked premise, and although it adheres to a rigid formula, the writing is still of high quality.
This is the first outing for Earl Hicky and his brother Randy.
This box set contains all 24 season one episodes. It also contains a number of DVD extras - more on those later.
Earl isn't the most law abiding of citizens and has done anumber of bad things in his life. He believes that his life will change after winnning 100,00$ in a lottery but no sooner has he won (and we find out in a later episode that he didn't come about this winning ticket in totally honest way) than he is struck down by bad luck in the form of a car which knocks him over and puts him in hospital. When in hospital he has a life changing moment when he watches achat show all about Karma. Earl thinks this must be the reason for his bad luck, Karma is getting him back for all the bad things he has done in his life. many of these things are not really bad just silly like faking his own death and making fun of people accents. Then he gets his lottery ticket back - so reinforcing his Karma belief.
The best DVD extra is a whole extra episode - it makes adifference to see something other than ..a making of or the outatkes. This whole episode is dedicated to what might have happened if Earl had watched a different channel in the hospital. I won't spoil it but all I will say is its another list but its payback time. - it really is a funny episode and at the beginning you will hardly believe it is the same actor!!
I have loved this series right from the start - it is just different to many of the comedy series that are currently on TV. This doesn't glorify wrong-doing which it could easily do, but shows how silly things can have a big impact on people lives.
If you missed the first outing for Earl then this is worth picking up every episode will have you in stitches!!