My Name Is Earl
Interesting piece by Tim Goodman over at The San Francisco Chronicle. Basically he says that many TV viewers who watch the NBC Thursday night comedies (My Name Is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office, and Scrubs) and other shows are snobs when it comes to CBS comedies like Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement, and How I Met Your Mother. He says that the people who pride themselves in watching the critically-acclaimed (but lower rated) shows on NBC are "denying themselves a good time by avoiding CBS on Monday nights."
(S03E16) "This is what someone told me reading a book is like." - Randy Hickey
I really can't decide if the writers for Earl are geniuses or drunks. Right when people start to complain that the show is getting stale they take it in a new direction that no one could see coming and yet is perfectly believable.
A big part of why I love this show is seeing the flashbacks where Earl was a complete reprobate. Even better is seeing Randy as the same kind of reprobate and yet just as simple. Joy, of course, remains exactly the same, no matter where or when she is, even if she's only in Earl's imagination.
(S03E14) "I bet you wish you had more than one God now, eh?" - Ravi Kapoor as Earl's doctor
Boy, that Jeff Zucker is one hell of an actor, isn't he?
Generally, I love it when a high-paid executive is willing to make fun of himself for his company. Case in point; when Les Moonves talks to Dave Letterman on the phone I think it's hilarious. The key, however is that the executive in question has to be able to effectively deliver a joke. I think My Name is Earl missed an opportunity for some real nice comedy. Too bad Jerry Seinfeld didn't have another movie to promote.
His answer is simple: "I've wanted to do a book about taking different jobs and what it was like to do them," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "This was the first. It may be a while before I do the second. But it's just about the fact that we live behind gates and work behind gates, and as a writer you start to lose touch with the audience. You start running out of life experience."
Last contest's winners:
1st place to Geno:
2nd place to Scott K.: "I don't care if laughter really is the best medicine, I don't want tickle therapy from you!"
3rd place to Bus: "I'm sorry, we can't remove it... but we can replace the batteries."
This week, a scene from last night's episode of My Name is Earl ...
(S03E13) "There's no room at the motel and it's Christmas eve. Just like Jesus' baby." -- Randy Hickey
I don't know about you but I really have a problem watching holiday episodes after New Years. I guess, like many people, I have just had enough "holiday cheer" and when I see those references, I feel like I'm watching an old episode. Maybe I should just be happy that there are new episodes at all.
As I've said before, I always love to see recurring characters. Seeing Ralph and gay Kenny actually crossing paths was one of the high points of this episode.
... Six welcome returns.
Every fall season I get stoked about all the new shows, with cool new premises ("A guy travels through time trying to make right what once went wrong!"-- Journeyman not Quantum Leap), and all the big changes in store for existing shows. But it's equally exciting to see which beloved actors will be returning to television. Brad Garrett coming back to television in 'Til Death last year? Cool! Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer both coming back to television ... together? That's gotta be awesome, right? Jerry O'Connell on Carpoolers ... well ... ? I like the guy, but I'm not scheduling a 'Welcome Back' shindig for him.
Half the fun of a new television season is the return of great actors and actresses to the small screen. And while I could have easily done 10 or even 20 of these, I've narrowed it down to the six talents who were most welcome back in my house on a weekly basis this past year. I've even been so bold as to rank them. Feel free to agree, disagree and present your own lists in the comments.
(S03E12) "They keep playing this game called eye poke. It's all fun until one of them gets poked in the eye." - Darnell Turner
When I first found out that the warden was going to burn Earl and keep him in prison I was intrigued. However, when Earl found out about it and kneed the warden in the groin, I was ecstatic. Apparently, I have secretly been waiting for Earl to revert to his dastardly ways for some time now. Now, it seems that time has come and it has brought me a newfound interest in the show.
I knew when I saw the look in Earl's eyes as he let Randy in on his plan to escape that this was going to be a great episode.
(S03E11) "Honk if you know someone on death row." - Sign outside of A. J. Johnson Prison.
It's too bad the WGA is on strike because somebody needs to write another sitcom for Craig T. Nelson. When Earl finally does get out of prison, I will truly be saddened by the warden's absence. Maybe Earl can get a job working for the warden after he gets released?
The more residents of Camden County and the surrounding area I meet, the more convinced I am that their drinking water is tainted.
(S03E10) "Dr. Pronto to reception please." - Nurse
The simple decision to recap last week's episode in such a comically dramatic style is one of the things that sets My Name is Earl apart from other sitcoms.
After watching Catalina's scene with Joy's children, I now understand why they have so little screen time. They are bad actors. While I give the show credit for using kids who actually look like their parents, I feel that these kids could easily fall into the DJ Conner trap where their continuing lack of cuteness reveals their lack of talent. As a side note, seeing Catalina with those kids really made it difficult for me to enjoy her scenes in my usual way. Hey, I'm a creep not a criminal.
(S03E09) "If I hadn't of been here, you'd have whatever disease Hepatitis Bob has!"
How stoked was I to see Craig T. Nelson again? I was never a fan of Coach and I thought Nelson could do a lot better. It's great to see him on a show where he can really make people laugh.
I had all but forgotten about Liberty & Ray Ray. Their re-appearance. however, answers the question I had about how the writers will deal with a new baby. They won't. Just like when Phoebe had her brother's babies, Joy will give birth and we'll never see that kid again, except maybe during sweeps.
(S03E07/S03E08) Crazy ho! - Earl Hickey
Seeing how the first Cops episode was my personal favorite I was psyched to see another one. I love seeing all the gang back together again; one-legged girlfriend, now-deceased kidnapping victim, throat cancer survivor, gay Kenny and the addition of Billy Gardell as Officer Hoyne was a smart casting move.
The great thing about these kind of episodes is that they seem like a bunch of random jokes and scenes strung together documentary style but when it's over, you realize that an intricately woven plot has just unfolded.
(S03E06) I was wondering when they would get around to conjugal visits. Quite frankly, when i found out Alyssa Milano was going to be on the show, conjugal visits were all I could think about.
This storyline is exactly what I was talking about in my last review. Earl doesn't need a list to do good things. He will always be karma's bitch. List or no list, he has to help people with their problems and now that he's locked up, he can spend more time helping his friends and family. Besides for all you list lovers, he now has a new one, so quit complaining.
(S03E05) "Get mama's thong off your head, You had pink eye last week." - Joy Turner
You know, it's funny. When most people go to prison it tends to inhibit or limit their options. However in Earl's case, it seems a whole new world has opened up. I mean Earl the show, not the guy.
By sending Earl to prison, the writers have found an entirely new world for him to play in. They can introduce new characters (Frank, Glen, Sonny) new guest stars (Craig T. Nelson, Michael Rappaport) and it forces them to explore new relationships between the characters. For example, the new dynamic between Randy and Joy is fascinating to watch.
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