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October 9, 2015

My Name is Earl: O Karma, Where Art Thou?

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jan 13th 2006 2:26PM

This week we learned that Earl does suffer from envy, but that karma can pack a mighy punch. Number 202 on Earl's list of past misdeeds was returning a wallet he stole in a gas station bathroom. For him, it was the motherlode--a thousand bucks that he, then-wife Joy, and brother Randy spent on a wild shopping spree at Jasper's, a mall inside a storage unit. After returning the merchandise, Earl tracks down the man (Jeff) whom he stole from, and finds out the money was earmarked for his honeymoon with his overly tanned wife. Although Earl has returned the money, Jeff can't easily take time off from work, so Earl decides to fill in for him at his job.

It turns out that Jeff works at a local fast food joint where cleanliness can be a bit "spotty." Plus, the restaurant's manager, Mr. Patrick, is not exactly the model boss. He is quite abusive to his employees, and Earl has to put up with his bullying ways in order to make it through the week. It's not easy for Earl--we see flashbacks of him punching out a number of his past bosses because he couldn't stand their management styles.

Mr. Patrick really lays it out on Earl, including making him eat a french fry covered in dirt. Earl's patience is wearing then, but he soldiers on. He keeps thinking that karma will one day get it's vengeance on Mr. Patrick, but the signs don't point in that direction.


One day, Mr. Patrick orders Earl to pick up his dry cleaning at his house, and Earl is astounded to find that his boss seems to have it all--a beautiful house, a beautiful wife, etc. He notices a large collection of "World's Best" coffee mugs, which makes it even more confusing. However, Earl finds that his boss is not exactly the most up-and-up kind of guy. He notices that Mr. Patrick steals from the cash register and cheats on his wife, among other things.

It finally comes to a head when Mr. Patrick orders Earl to make balloon animals to entertain kids at the restaurant. Earl can't do it, and his boss is more abusive than ever. Finally, Earl socks him right in the eye, and Mr. Patrick ends up in the hospital. We then see both his wife and his paramour come to visit him at the same time, triggering a chain of events that include his divorce and his ending up in jail, where we see in an ironic twist, Mr. Patrick holding up a tin cup that reads "World's Best Bottom." Earl learns that karma always wins out in the end, although it may take a while.

Anyone who ever dealt with a difficult boss could certainly relate to this story. The show continues to come up with innovative story lines and Jason Lee as Earl continues to impress with his performance.

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I liked this episode, but the thing that worried me is that they've crossed the whole "using earl as a physical tool of karma" line. That means they can run with that thread, and make Earl into some kind of vigilante or really weak-willed leaving himself to be tossed around (even more) by fate. Either way I think that would severely hurt the show. I have faith, though!

January 14 2006 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm kind of getting the sense that this show, while still fun and entertaining has crested or will crest soon. I'm starting to realize that it's a bit gimicky in its premise and (specifically last night) execution.

For example, setting up Earl's experience at the Burger Shack was ackward in a "Simpsons" way in which the setup has nothing at all to do with the eventual story.

An honestly, the unfettered devotion to "karma" schtick is going to get old in the very near future. I love Jason Lee, but sadly I don't think this can last more than another season...

January 13 2006 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hate to be a nit picker but that was not Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Mr Patrick's wife, it was Tyler Kain.


January 13 2006 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i'm starting to lose interest in this show. It's getting way too close to the after school specials zone. and is it me or the humor is really very simplistic?

January 13 2006 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

"Glad to see actors actually playing characters in these appearances, rather than just playing themselves (as they did in Will & Grace, and Friends)."

Um yah right... cause in real life John Favreau is a uber rich computer nerd who wants to compete in the Ultimate Fight Championship

January 13 2006 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"...karma doesn't have fists..."

best randy line ever.

January 13 2006 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I believe that was Jon Favreau as Mr. Patrick. And Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (aka World's Best Lover) as his wife.

Glad to see actors actually playing characters in these appearances, rather than just playing themselves (as they did in Will & Grace, and Friends).

January 13 2006 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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