My Name is Earl (2005-2009) 96 episodes, originally on NBC.
Jason Lee is Earl Hickey, the star of the show and also acts as narrator. Earl has been a no-good boozer, junkie, thief, and all-around sleazebag; he has hurt a lot of people along the way. When Earl wins the lotto, against all odds, he thanks God and commits his life to steps 8 & 9 in the 12-step program, where you make a list of those you have wronged and make amends to them. The whole premise of the show is how he seeks out and finds those he has harmed and tries to make amends to them, if possible.
Ethan Suplee is Randy Hickey, Earl’s needy brother and faithful sidekick.
Jaime Pressly is Joy Turner, Earl’s ex-wife, who is now married to Darnell. Joy is a ditzy blonde, loud, and has a lot of unfulfilled dreams. She has some charm but it takes awhile to find her heart.
Nadine Velazquez is Catalina, a friend of Earl’s and a maid at the hotel Earl and Randy eventually live at.
Eddie Steeples is Darnell “Crab Man” Turner, Joy’s husband and a cook at the bar that they all like to hang out at. Darnell is a cool guy with a certain type of zen wisdom to him. I can’t remember why, but he is in a witness protection program.
Trey Carlisle is Earl, Jr. Funny thing is, he looks just like Darnell.
Well-known actors that put in appearances for mostly one or two episodes: Burt Reynolds, Beau Bridges, Michael Rapaport, Craig T. Nelson, Marlee Matlin, John Leguizamo, Norm MacDonald, Ben Foster, Erik Estrada, Geraldo Rivera, Montel Williams, Clint Howard, Dax Shepard, Jon Favreau, Juliette Lewis, Christian Slater, Amy Sedaris, Roseanne Barr, John Waters, Charles S. Dutton, David Arquette, Jerry VanDyke, Betty White, Danny Glover, Joan Van Ark, Bernie Kopell, Don Swayze (Patrick’s brother,) Howie Mandel, Paris Hilton, Scoot McNairy, Michael Pena, Tiffany Haddish, Trace Adkins, Timothy Olyphant, and Morgan Fairchild. There are dozens upon dozens of other actors that show up also.
Directors: directed by a long list of directors
Writers: Gregory Thomas Garcia wrote all 96 but there is also a long list of contributing writers for the show
Synopsis: As stated above, Earl wins the lotto, decides to get clean, then determines to find those he’s done wrong to during his druggie villain days and try to make amends to them. Earl has done a fearless inventory and has made a list. As he has hurt many along the way, it’s a long list. His sidekick brother, Randy, sometimes helps but often mucks it up. Joy and Darnell are always in the picture in some way to either help or hinder. The voice of reason in what is often chaos is Earl’s friend, Catalina.
Impressions: It’s been awhile since I saw the show, but I remember it fondly. I remember laughing often and also being genuinely touched in the serious moments when Earl and those he wronged have their small moments of truth, sincerity, and what some might call mutual spiritual redemption and/or peacemaking. I like the often-messy atmosphere of real life, where anything can and does happen. Jason Lee as Earl stole my heart from the beginning.
Awards: Won 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 10 wins & 74 nominations.
From imdb trivia:
The items in Earl’s list shown during the opening sequence read as follows: – 56: Stole liquor from liquor store. – 57: Told Joy Dan Dodd messed himself on the (rest cut out of frame). – 58: Fixed a high school football game. – 59: Everything I did to Dad. – 60: Pulled fire alarm – 61: Stole Mom’s car (but I gave it back). – 62: Faked death to break-up with a girl. – 63: Wasted electricity. – 64: Spray painted the bridge. – 65: Cost Dad the election. – 66: Let mice out at school play. – 67: Stole beer from a golfer. – 68: Blew up mailboxes. 69: Cheated on school tests a lot.
This post was first published on Max’ Power Pop Blog