My Name Is Earl season two -- an early look
I managed to get a copy of the first three episodes of the new season of My Name Is Earl yesterday, and I watched the first episode "Very Bad Things" last night. After a successful first season and a summer of wondering how the show will evolve, I, at the very least, got a chance to get some perspective on how things will go.
As Anna reported a couple of days ago, the show's writers have decided that not every single episode will feature Earl crossing something off of his list of past transgressions. The impression I got was that there will be more "complex" storylines and possibly a cliffhanger or two as the season moves along.
It makes sense to me--Earl's past misbehaviors are kind of tough to resolve in 30 minutes (22-25 minutes of show with 5-8 minutes of commercials). Plus, it lends itself to some more creative stories as well as getting a chance to learn a bit more about the characters.
Keeping that in mind, the beginning of the season's first episode follows last year's format with Earl giving an overview of what transpired in the past and what has lead up to him wanting to cross of another number off his list (in this case, number 183). We get to see a couple of flashbacks of when Earl and Joy were married and Earl not taking his wife's side in any sort of dispute.
The story continues with Joy's desire to have a "disappearing TV" in her home because she and Darnell (Crabman) saw it on the Brittany Spears/Kevin Federline reality show. (One of the show's funnier lines is when Joy refers to Brittany and Kevin as "American royalty.")
The bits where Joy tries to return the $3,000 TV to the store were fairly routine, and her stealing of the truck and eventually discovering a man in there were amusing. To me, Jason Lee is still head and shoulders the best comedic actor on the show, and scenes with him definitely have more of a "spark" in them. The other characters are good too, but when they're in scenes without Earl, they can be a bit spotty.
This is an area where I'd like to see the writers develop the other characters a bit. Why is Randy so weird? What was Joy's life like before she met Earl? And can they explore how Crabman got into their lives? (Remember that quick scene last season where he was dropped off in the middle of the road by what appeared to be federal agents? What was that all about?)
Anyway, Earl tries to help Joy not get caught by the police for stealing the truck and kidnapping the guy but, as you would imagine, things go slightly awry. And in keeping with what was discussed earlier, the story does not necessarily end after 30 minutes, which will be interesting to follow as the season moves forward.
In addition, like last year, there will be a number of guest stars making appearances, including Burt Reynolds. Hopefully, they won't "outshine" the story, which the writers did a good job of doing last season. In particular, the bounty hunter episode featuring Juliette Lewis was a great example of a guest star blending into a show.
Things seem to be off to a good start for My Name Is Earl, and let's hope they can keep the momentum going.