Even by My Name Is Earl standards, this week's premise was a little strange, but it delivered the laughs while serving to teach Earl (Jason Lee) that strangeness is in the eye of the beholder (except where human-raccoon marriages are concerned, of course).
Only at the Camden Bookmobile would you be able to find cheap knock-offs of classic novels like "The Adventures of Chuckleberry Flynn." As Earl reads "Trazan the Ape-Man" to a group of children, he privately recalls his own experience with a feral adult. Earl and Randy (Ethan Suplee) first met Raynard (Ewen Bremner) while participating in the Humiliate to Rehabilitate program. They become fast friends with the free-spirited Brit, who allows plants to grow into his house and keeps the bathtub in the living room. One night, the threesome convinces a group of women that they are a band and steal the Bookmobile to serve as their tour bus. After partying all night, the trio abandons the bus in the woods with no intention of returning. But when Raynard needs a place to stay and is turned away by Earl and an angrily pregnant Joy (Jaime Pressly), he goes to live in the bus. After Earl has turned to his karmic ways, he wants to return the bus — and he and Randy are shocked by what they find.
Through isolation and a steady diet of hallucinatory berries, Raynard has become a modern-day "Trazan." His only companionship is with his "hot wife, Charlene (a raccoon)." Using Catalina (Nadine Velazquez) as a lure, they capture him and set about trying to flush the berries out of his system with a colonic and generally attempt to bring him back to normal. However, he soon ends up in a hilarious psychiatric ward complete with a doctor resembling Santa Claus and a large, overbearing patient obsessed with candy whom Randy gets along with quite well. Earl cleverly convinces this patient and the others that the guard's head is filled with candy when he finally agrees to help Raynard escape.
This surreal episode was filled to the brim with hysterical moments. Here are some of my favorites:
- The shirts that the criminals were wearing for the Humiliate to Rehabilitate program. Randy's proclaimed he was a flasher while Earl's confessed his related crime of having "Pulled My Brother's Pants Down."
- Randy is shocked to discover that a globe represents the Earth and later, that a map is also the Earth.
- "That girl bit me — is that hot or scary?"
- After telling the women they are in a band and set to open for U2, one woman asks "U2?" Angrily, Randy replies, "Yeah, me too! All of us . . . "
- Joy's experience with the hallucinatory berries when she yelled "Freakhead!" and knocked Earl out.
- While pregnant, Joy complains that what if she's growing something on the baby today that's "really important, like its brain or its wiener." Later, she thinks her water broke but yells, "Never mind, I just peed the bed. Come clean it up!"
- Randy is impressed at how Raynard's temporarily reduced language skills are a real time saver.
- The sign in the woods pointing the way to the Tomb of the Unknown Scoutmaster.
- When Raynard comes to his senses, he asks, "It was a girl raccoon, right?"
- Attempting to put Raynard at ease about the colonic, Randy says "Don't worry, I got a GI Joe stuck up there by accident once."
By the end of the episode, Earl has learned a few important things. He had succeeded in returning the Bookmobile and crossing that off of his list, but he realizes that he never needed to cross Raynard off. His perception that he had wronged Raynard was actually a product of his negative feelings about Raynard's personality. He only agreed to help execute the escape from the psychiatric ward after realizing that his friend didn't belong there — he was simply marching to the beat of his own drummer. In a small way, Earl realizes that he shouldn't let his own prejudices dictate to him what is "wrong" and then set about trying to fix what isn't really broken.
That's one of the things that keeps me coming back for more Earl — it's one of those comedies that also offers a little room for analysis if the viewer is up for it. What was your take on the plot this time around?
Even by My Name Is Earl
standards, this week's premise was a little strange, but it delivered the laughs while serving to teach Earl (Jason Lee
) that strangeness is in the eye of the beholder (except where human-raccoon marriages are concerned, of course).