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October 4, 2015

My Name Is Earl: South of the Border, Pts. Uno and Dos

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Dec 7th 2006 10:29PM

Earl in a bit of peril south of the border(S02E10) I'm always a little wary when a half-hour sitcom decides to extend itself to a "special" one-hour edition. In many instances, the producers and writers want to introduce a new storyline or bring an existing one to some sort of conclusion. In many instances, these extended episodes turn out to be very disappointing. Not this time.

As we've seen throughout the season, Earl's quest to cross items off of his list isn't dominating the story. We've been finding out more about each character, and we're seeing stories that are taking time to develop and not necessarily be settled in 30 minutes (including commercials).

For this episode, we harken back to the previous one where Catalina was discovered by the authorities to be in this country illegally, and she is promptly deported to Mexico (at least we think. Catalina's country of origin was never specified.).

Of course, since Earl played a major part in her getting into this predicament, it's up to him to bring her back. Complicating matters is the fact that Randy is deeply in love with Catalina, and he wants her back as well so he can profess his feelings for her.

Before we analyze the story, I didn't get the idea of the Latin versions of Earl and Randy, who were seen doing bad things. I thought it would have been interesting to see the real Earl and Randy confront them, but we only saw a couple of fleeting scenes and we were done with them. I'm not sure what exactly their place in the overall story was supposed to be.

I enjoyed the scenes with the boys trying to get through security at the airport the first time around. When Randy threw his shoes because he thought they may have explosives in them, I exploded in laughter.

One would have thought that Randy would have been the one to experience all kinds of fears and trepidations over flying, but his stoicism and determination were a pleasant surprise. It was fun to see Earl be the one that had to be restrained and more vulnerable. I'm really enjoying how the writers are making Randy a little more human and less goofball.

The part where Earl was so hungry that he fought like hell to get a taco over Randy's objections went on a little long for my taste. OK, we get the idea that Earl is hungry but Randy doesn't want to miss the bus for Catalina's village! I did like Randy pulling Earl's 'stache to get him on the bus, though.

When Earl got kidnapped off the bus, I thought that the story would take another nonsensical direction, but when John Leguizamo shows up as Diego, I knew that things would turn out alright. I thought that this role would be a natural fit for him, and he didn't disappoint.

After running a few "errands," Diego learns of Earl's list and his quest to find Catalina, and it turns out she is his niece and promises to help him. It was kind of predictable, but Leguizamo was so funny in his badass 80s deal that you could overlook any story flaws.

How funny did Randy look dressed up as a little boy in traditional Mexican garb? The look on his face when he saw Earl again with the sombrero that was about five sizes too small on him was hysterical!

You knew that things would go awry and that it was going to be Earl that would marry Catalina to bring her back to America, and Randy was indeed crushed. But things turned out for the funny when he was walking along the village with "Pedro" who was strumming and singing "Time After Time" in Spanish.

Let's not forget that again, this show made great use of music throughout the entire episode. Songs I noticed were "Hotel California" by The Eagles, "Jet" by Paul McCartney and Wings, and "Tobacco Road" by David Lee Roth. In addition, the "Mexican" guitar versions of "Time After Time" and "Eye of the Tiger" were fabulous.

The tests that Earl had to endure to marry Catalina were good--the "Field of Rakes" is a novel idea I'd like to introduce for my next summer backyard party. You knew Randy would come in and be the hero, but it was nice to see Randy and Catalina get together. Whether their relationship will carry over into America and future episodes is anyone's guess, but I guess we'll have to keep watching, won't we?

Now, let's get to the plot regarding Joy being under heavy medication to keep her anger in check. While I thought it was an interesting story twist, I quickly tired of it, and the neighbors' trailer moving so close to them didn't do much for me. I guess I'm used to her flipping her lid every other second, so her being nice and polite, even if under the influence of her meds, got me bored. I would have liked to have seen Darnell freak out and lash back at the neighbors, but Joy's true colors (another Cyndi Lauper song reference!) finally shone through at the end.

All in all, this extended Earl episode (really a two-part one) was satisfying, for the most part. As I mentioned earlier, I like the concept of playing out stories over a few episodes in order to get a little more in-depth. I'd like to see the Randy/Catalina "marriage" played out a bit, so it'll be interesting to see where it goes from here.

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when the heck is Earl on this week?(12/14). It is not on my TV listing and I am starting to have a panic attack. Please help1!!

December 14 2006 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Levy

Catalina has explicitly stated that she isn't Mexican, so the unspecified Latin American country definitely wasn't Mexico.

I loved this episode, but I was disappointed when Darnell (usually the show's most learned character) transposed yin and yang. (Yin is the dark, feminine element. Yang is the bright, masculine element.)

December 09 2006 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Couvillion

Randy - "Oh, I ate the soul of their dead child. If you see one laying around, grab it. Tastes just like a sandwich, and you get to have tickle fights and pee on the floor."

Earl - "Sounds great, Randy."

Now that's writing!

December 09 2006 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Wolverines!" Best line from Leguizamo! Great episode - don't forget Perky AND Bitchy Joy....great acting from her, as usual!

The Eye of the Tiger on guitar had me laughing out loud - I love this show.

December 08 2006 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone else notice that Catalina Tortilla's cross-eyed brother was missing fingers? Earl better put him on his list for costing him his digits in the previous ep by not wiring the money in time. How ever will he continue his magic career?

December 08 2006 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And one more... The Field of Rakes reminded me of a gag one of my favorite Simpsons ep, "Cape Feare" where Sideshow Bob steps on a series of rakes with his big clown shows while stalking Bart.

December 08 2006 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another comment on the music. David Lee Roth's spanish language version of "That's Life" ended the episode.

December 08 2006 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As far as the Mexican Earl and Randy, I think it was just to show that Catalina was now in a "Bizzaro" version of her life in America. I thought that kidnapping the mother and forcing her to smoke (rather than forcing her to quit) was very funny, but I'm glad they didn't continue it because I think it could've become tedious.

December 08 2006 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Before I get flamed, let me just say that I love "My Name Is Earl." But my first impression of the show was that certain elements were influenced by the Coen Brothers, especially "Raising Arizona," and Jason Lee's portrayal of Earl has H.I. McDonnough's fingerprints all over it. Well, the use of Gypsy Kings version of Hotel California (also used in "The Big Lebowski") reinforced that to me. It's obvious that Earl's writers/producers are fans of the Coens.
How long until we have cameos by Turturro and/or Buscemi?

December 08 2006 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was struck by how they opened the show with the Eagles' version of "Hotel California", and as they switched from Earl and Randy to Catalina, the song flowed into the Gipsy Kings' cover of the song.

December 08 2006 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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