My Name Is Earl
broke ground on Season 4 in style with two back-to-back episodes. With last season's storylines left in the dust, getting back to the show's roots was nothing less than a breath of fresh air. After an hour filled with some of the funniest new TV moments I've seen in a while, I couldn't ask for more - but I wanted to anyway.
In the first installment, Earl (
Jason Lee) recalls having once ruined Buddy Zaks' wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation when he was just a boy himself. When he sets off to make it up to Buddy's mother, he finds Buddy still alive and all grown up. A film enthusiast, Buddy asks Earl to produce his dream movie in exchange for crossing him off of the list. However, the only available actors are Camden County's usual cast of clowns. It also doesn't help that the film,
2 The Max, is ridiculous.
Seth Green brings on the funny in the role of Buddy and looks like he's enjoying every minute of it. With all of his recent work in animation (
Robot Chicken), it's starting to feel like a rare treat to actually see him on screen. The character was sufficiently quirky as well. I especially enjoyed the "awesome" hand signs and the scene where he and Earl go through the casting process (he takes one look at Kenny and knows he's perfect to play "panicky scientist").
Of course, problems arise on the set of
2 The Max. Namely, everyone is a horrible actor except Randy (
Ethan Suplee) in his role as the president. One of my favorite moments came when he gave his acting lesson, imitating great roles like Buffalo Bill in
The Silence of the Lambs, and following it all up with a riveting performance of the "Choosy Moms Choose Jif" slogan. On top of that, everyone quits after growing tired of Buddy's, as Earl puts it, "perfectionalism."
When it comes time for the big premiere, however, we find out from Buddy's mom (
Mindy Sterling) that the reason for his diva-like behavior is that he was secretly undergoing treatment for his illness, which he ends up dying from. It's a sad twist to the otherwise funny red carpet scene, but it sets up the classic
Earl lesson to end the episode - as everyone watches and enjoys Buddy's film, they're inspired to "make every hour into a magic hour."
Now, I may end up eating my words after seeing a rerun or two, but I'm going to go ahead and call this week's second episode the best one featuring the Hickey parents ever. Carl (
Beau Bridges) holds a garage sale at which Earl reminisces about their old neighbor, the overly-sensitive Clark Clark (
David Paymer). After constantly torturing him, Clark and his wife suddenly moved out one day. However, when Earl and Randy show up to apologize, Clark admits to them that one alcohol and Duran Duran-filled night in 1985, he and their mother (
Nancy Lenehan) slept together.
Wow. The ever-innocent Kay Hickey? Now
that's a plot twist. It's also the moment that this episode becomes a laugh riot. Of course, Carl flips out. His first instinct is to go after Clark for revenge. To get ready for the big fight, he has Earl follow him around singing "Eye of the Tiger." He easily lays out Clark, but he and Earl don't count on Clark's wife being able to handle herself in a fight. Realizing that what he really wants is revenge against Kay, Carl sets out to get it - by trying to have a fling of his own.
I have to make special mention here regarding what may be some of the best lines ever delivered by Carl Hickey. As he goes about trying to seduce women he thinks flirt with him in his everyday life, he pays a visit to his pharmacist. Walking up to the counter, he confidently says "Give me a box of your largest condoms, ribbed for her pleasure, and by
her, I might mean
you." A few scenes later, he refers to the same woman as a "pecker tease." Don't get me wrong, I'm aware that there's another side to Carl and that he can be brash. I'm just surprised that he would think a line like that would get him anywhere.
While Randy tries to calm down Kay at the Crab Shack, Joy (
Jaime Pressly) tries to recapture her youth playing an old game she bought at the garage sale using Willy the Mailman's (
Bill Suplee) glass eye. It was a blast to see the bathroom showdown between Joy and Kay after Randy let's the whole affair story slip. I would've never expected to see Kay win that one, but then I was surprised by her a lot this time around.
This episode also gave us a classic Earl life lesson. After an entire night of crying together (a lesson in itself, given the history of the two characters), Carl and Earl both decide to forgive - Carl goes home to Kay and Earl let's go of his anger towards Joy, who in turn gives back Willy's eye. One thing nobody needs to apologize for are tonight's two wonderful episodes. I remember all of us were a little torn about some of the things that went on last season - I was actually a little nervous tonight to see if
Earl still had it. I, for one, am not nervous anymore. How do the rest of you feel?
It's proven a little difficult to fit absolutely everything into this extra-long, two-episode post. Here's hoping some quotes help to fill the rest in:
" "Ad-lib excitement!"
" Before quitting the shoot, a whimpering Kenny complains "My eyes hurt and I have an unproductive cough."
" Buddy: "Have you ever seen a movie without Burt Reynolds in it?" Earl: "Not all the way, no."
" The very showbiz red carpet introduction of Darnell "the Crabman" Turner.
" Joy: "Sometimes I think clothing designers are gay men."
" Catalina (
Nadine Velazquez) doing an improv show instead of stripping: "I need a location and a food."
" The many hilarious moments involving Randy's "truth doll" Milo.
" Earl violently throwing up in the street after Carl yells "I need to get laid!"
" Randy, sickened with his mom complaining about Carl's love-making, tries to change the subject with "That guy sure is bad at touchin' moms . . . "
" Young Earl and Randy torture Clark Clark with fake newspapers. One upsetting headline read "Baby Suicides At An All Time High."
" "Lawn darts are more fun, but our baby teeth are more practical . . . "
" "Well, my mom's dead. Pass the corn."
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My Name Is Earl broke ground on Season 4 in style with two back-to-back episodes With last seasons storylines left in the dust getting back to the shows roots was nothing less than a breath of fresh air After an hour filled with some of the funniest new TV moments Ive seen in a while I couldnt ask for more but I wanted to anyway In the first installment Earl Jason Lee recalls having once ruined Buddy Zaks wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation when he was just a boy himself When he sets off to make it up to Buddys mother he finds Buddy still alive and all grown up A film enthusiast Buddy asks Earl to produce his dream movie in exchange for crossing him off of the list However the only available actors are Camden Countys usual cast of clowns It also doesnt help that the film 2 The Max is ridiculous Seth Green brings on the funny in the role of Buddy and looks like hes enjoying every minute of it With all of his recent work in animation Family Guy Ro