Jason Lee and Jaime Pressly, My Name Is Earl
Everybody Hates Chris
How cool is it that Chris Rock is giving all the black '70s stars he grew up with work on his TV show? At first I thought Jimmie "JJ" Walker might have landed himself a recurring role as Chris' grandpa, so I was bummed when he croaked before the first commercial break (although not half as bummed as he was, I bet). Still it was a sweet gig, even if he did look all weird and bloated. Ernest "Rog" Thomas was back, too (he was the slick coffin salesman), and corner-store owner Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas dropped by Chris' house to pay his respects after the funeral. Something I just noticed tonight (and yes, I am slow): The scenes shot in Bed-Stuy have a rap or soul soundtrack while the ones at Corleone get all the pop and new-wave hits. The vamp to John Waite's "Missing You" played as Chris and Greg discussed his grandfather's death. (On a side note, why does Greg get so little to do these days? Vincent Martella is such a great sidekick for Tyler James Williams. Is there some kind of obscure child-labor law preventing two 13-year-old actors from sharing more than five minutes of screen time together per episode?) Rochelle's strange reaction to her daddy's death and her competitive relationship with her mother, played beautifully by Loretta Devine, added some nice depth to the story. But in between were the punch lines. Rochelle threatening her lazy uncle: "Get off my couch before I slap the jam out of your toes!" Chris' assessment of Rochelle's incongruously cheery mental state: "I hadn't seen her this happy since Lionel Richie went solo." Caruso's half-assed sympathy for Chris: "Sorry your grandpa died. Who's going to teach you to tap-dance now?" Who needs a synthetic show about race like Black. White. when teenagers will just give it to you straight?