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September 2, 2014

My Name is Earl: Didn't Pay Taxes

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Mar 3rd 2006 9:15AM

After what seemed like an interminable Winter Olympics break, My Name is Earl finally comes back to Thursday night. Life is indeed good again.

This week, we come to find that Earl neglected to pay his taxes after working in an asbestos-filled room with his brother Randy a while back. He did pay his share of fines to the municipality over the years, but Earl feels he owes it to the government and adds this task to his list.

Earl is doing his level best to repay the government in a number of innovative ways, including filling in a pothole on the main highway. Of course, things go awry when a police officer accuses him of burying a baby in the hole at gunpoint, and Earl eventually "undigs" the pothole. He then gets the idea to join a prison road gang, where he meets up with an old friend who is doing time. All of the cons are dressed in jeans and white t-shirts, and as the day goes on and the heat beats down on the gang, Earl takes off his shirt and is in his jeans and white t-shirt. When the guard begins to gather everyone back on the bus, Earl is mistaken for a prisoner, and despite his protestations, is driven to prison.

Earl's pleas that he is not a prisoner are ignored, and he ends up in solitary confinement to the strains of Humble Pie's "30 Days in the Hole." (A BRILLIANT song choice!) Finally, after a few meals, Earl is released. One would think that he would put this part of his list aside, but Earl is determined to make amends, even though he has become frustrated with the government and how they don't seem to care.

He then gets the bright idea to do something that will get him heavily fined so he can pay the government back. He and Randy then decide to trespass and climb the local water tower, which they've done many times before. They seem to have it down to a science with their intricate use of ropes. After reaching the top, they do their best to get somebody's attention, but to no avail.

Suddenly, after Randy jumps up and down on the roof, it cracks, and the brothers tumble down and end up being hung by the waist with their ropes. They are amazed to discover that there is no water in the water tower, and they end up hanging there for a couple of days. (There's a great moment where they both sing "The Greatest American Hero" theme song.)

After a series of events that occur while they are hanging in the water tower, the boys end up being rescued by the local fire brigade. Earl comes to the realization that the government exists to help people, and he goes into a semi-patriotic soliloquy about it. Earl pays the fine for trespassing, and all is right with him and his world.

It was a nice return for Earl. What I'm liking is that in his quest for karma, Earl has to confront his own frailties and frustrations and is learning that doing good for others isn't that easy.

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Renee Wright

Thanks, elf, you make a good point about Earl's simplistic view of the world.

March 03 2006 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jimmy b

too funny....come on....the whole point is not to take life tooo seriously.....i need this show and love it.
i almost wet my pants when the RRREEEEECOLA came out..
and the "im a tugboat again" too funny

March 03 2006 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Renee Wright

Sorry, Michael, I have to disagree with you on one point. Earl's "semi-patriotic soliloquy" sounded as if Karl Rove stepped in while the writers were taking a coffee break. It wasn't semi-patriotic at all. It was completely over the top including a moment during his wrap up where an actual flag was waving.

Throughout this episode I laughed hard, as I often do when watching Earl and his people struggle with karma but in the last minutes of the show they completely lost me. The diatribe about the government always working for us even when we aren't aware of it really seemed contrived by someone like Karl Rove. Sorry, but that bumped an otherwise 'A' episode into the 'C' category. The script seemed to take a decidedly different voice than other episodes at that point in the show. I was disappointed... and it's not as though I live in the Gulf region where government officials have ignored people.

And, you're right, "The Greatest American Hero" theme song was a great moment.

March 03 2006 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tucker

They did a great job of lightening up the flag-waving ending with the encore - the discussion about Randy entering Earl's dream (honestly, sometimes his "dumb" thinking is some of the most creative stuff on the show) might have been the best bit in the episode. Yet another good one; as cheeseball and feel-goody as the show has been lately, it's still keeping my attention and continuing to have a nice enough twist to keep me loving it week after week.

March 03 2006 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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