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September 1, 2015

My Name is Earl: Blow

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 8th 2007 9:42PM
My Name is Earl: Blow(S02E15) Two of my favorite things about My Name is Earl are that the show has great supporting characters, and that while each episode stands on its own, the producers reward viewers who have been following the program all along by bringing back characters and plotlines where you least expect them.

This episode does a great job on both of those fronts. In fact, while I tend to prefer episodes where Earl gets to cross something off his list, this episode would have been just fine if Earl hadn't been in it at all. I'm not sure I'd watch a show with Randy or Joy as the main character (although last week's My Name is Randy/Joy/Crabman sequences make me wonder), but they can each certainly hold their own in a fight. Or at least we know Joy can.

So the basic premise of the episode is that Joy finds out she's got a half sister, who she knows and happens to hate. Joy also decides that she wants to be pregnant so the jury looks kindly upon her in the upcoming trial. And her sister in law, the brilliantly named Liberty Washington (and yet Joy's the one with an American flag painted on her car), wants to be a professional wrestler, which prevents her from having the baby her husband wants. Earl smells an opportunity for sisterly reconciliation.

I love that Joy's half-sister turns out to be black, because it ties back into her father's admission that he'd had an extramarital affair. It also sets up Joy and Liberty's mirror relationships. Joy has a black husband, while Liberty has a white one. Both happen to have slow-moving green pets. I was going to say amphibious, but I'm pretty sure a bearded dragon's a reptile.

Speaking of Mr. Turtle and Darnell, I love how he gets to keep showing up those around him with the occasional pearl of wisdom. For example, when Joy's deaf lawyer's assistant hands her a pamphlet, and tells her there's nothing shorter to read than a pamphlet, Darnell responds that "technically there is a leaflet or a flier." Not to be outdone, Joy later tells Darnell that she wants to be impregnated so she won't be incarcerated. She pauses and says "damn, I know a lot of big words." Crabman must be rubbing off on her.

Once Joy got in the ring with Liberty, the story took a turn for the sappy. To be honest, it didn't bother me that much until Earl kept hammering the point home. Over. And over. And over again. We got it. You stole her identity when you took her credit card, now you gave her a new one. They get to be sisters now. Barf. If Joy and Liberty had simply reconciled, that would have been fine. But the thing about voice-overs is that they can either illustrate a point that is hard to make or they can underline a point that's already been made, then set it in extra-large font for the whole world to see, then throw in a little boldface until you're numb and this metaphor ceases to make any sense.

Speaking of making things easier to see, I have a feeling we're going to see the blind man they bought laser eye surgery for again. He just seems like the sort of whacky joke-inspired character that other programs would use once and then throw away. And that always seems like a formula for a recurring role on Earl.

For the most part, this episode was about Joy. But there was a brief moment where we were reminded that Randy and Catalina's relationship took a turn for the unexpected last week. While cleaning the motel room, Catalina stopped to sniff Randy's hair. I love it.

Overall, I liked this episode. It had some great one liners, and I can't wait to see what Joy does now that she's pregnant.

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I love the part where Liberty yells at her husband to follow and Crabman starts to follow as well! And to top it off he then apologizes to Joy and then says that sometimes he responds to yelling!!!lol!!

February 10 2007 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good point about the voice over. Something struck me as wrong about the way the plot wrapped up, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I did like Earl's V.O. line about "since nowadays wrestling is planned in advance, I had to help Randy learn his lines..."


February 09 2007 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I almost forgot my hardest "laugh at loud" moment. When the Wrestling promotor goes backstage to be introduced to Joy and Liberty and he says, ever so casually "Hey Bitches." Loved it!

February 09 2007 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think this episode has become one of my favorites. I love, love, _loved_ the mirror images of Joy's world and Liberty's. And the ending almost made me cry with happiness. I'm amazing how sweet the endings can be on this show without ever becoming saccharine or trite [in my opinion]..

February 09 2007 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have said it numerous times before but I will take a cue from Earl and say it again... I LOVE JOY!!! I would most definitely watch a show based on her character. Jaime Pressley has got to be one of the best comedic actresses out there.

Darnell cracks me up as well. I loved that he was trying to get his turtle to use mouthwash because, naturally he sleeps in the bed with them and his breath is harsh. Liberty's husband also cracked me up when he said that his bearded lizard gets so upset he has trouble with lettuce and what not...even ah-roo-gah-lah. It's those little comments throughout the episode that make this show brilliant!

February 09 2007 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

KLANIMAL! THAT was too funny.

February 09 2007 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brad Linder

Akbar you're right. I had a bunch of old episodes sitting on my PVR and I watched them the other day in preparation for my first Earl review and I guess I got a bit mixed up on the order.

February 09 2007 at 8:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

Agreed Kol. Panic.

Trying to figure out how I can used "right under that furry lightning bolt" as a pick up line ;)

I didn't feel Earl was repetitive at all. In fact doesnt he always recap things?

Interesting way to work in Jamie P's real life pregnancy.

February 08 2007 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jeebus, when Randy answered Joy's question about where babies come from, I had the biggest laugh I've had from any show this season.

February 08 2007 at 11:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just for the record, "amphibious" animals can live on both land and water; "amphibians" are a class of animals that are born in water (often with gills), but live their adult life on land. Frogs are amphibians.

Lizards and turtles are both reptiles. Turtles are amphibious; lizards might be.

You are right, though. It was a great stand-along episode, with little bones thrown to regular fans.

February 08 2007 at 10:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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