My Name is Earl: Blow
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.