This week's episode finds Earl (Jason Lee) trying to once again make up for one of the many misdeeds he performed as a youth. But this time around, he finds himself up against one of his most cunning opponents yet — Betty White.
Most towns have their scary houses, inhabited by a scary person or people. Camden, home to the long-haired, bespectacled Witch Lady (White), is no different. When she stops by the Crab Shack one day, Earl recalls how she used to chase him when he rode through her property on his bike. As a means of revenge, he had called the cops and switched one of her beauty products with glue before luring her out to scold him. Hilariously, the police officer was scared enough of the broom-clutching Witch Lady to subdue her with a Taser. Her real name even sounds like what a witch would be named — Grizelda Weezmer. Earl finds this out as he introduces himself to her and apologizes. When he asks what he can do to make up for what he did, she invites him over her house for tea the next day.
Perhaps understandably, Randy (Ethan Suplee) is too scared to go into the house with Earl. Everything seems normal as they drink their tea but after Grizelda creepily reveals that she's wearing her mother's teeth, Earl keels over — he's been drugged. Upon awakening, he finds himself chained in her basement. Realizing this isn't some sort of joke, he screams for help, but no-one can hear him. Company is no problem, though, as he is gradually joined by a group of friends. The first up is Randy, who came to the door wondering what was taking so long. Once in the basement, we find out what he did to anger the Witch Lady (threw water on her and yelled "C'mon! Melt, bitch!"). Of course, the Hickey brothers can't come up with a plan to escape.
Next up is Kenny James (Gregg Binkley) and his boyfriend Stuart (Mike O'Malley). Now on a full-fledged kidnapping spree, Grizelda captures Stuart for having persecuted her when he was a police officer for being eccentric and different, which obviously gave him guilt since he was still in the closet then. Kenny merely gets kidnapped by association ("I didn't do anything; welcome to the world of being gay.").
Joy (Jaime Pressly) and Darnell (Eddie Steeples) had been arguing over Joy's constant meanness ever since she had made fun of the Witch Lady earlier at the Crab Shack. He picked the wrong time to put his foot down — after finding out that most people consider her mean and think Darnell is nice, she jumps at the chance to accompany Grizelda to her house out of a desire to show that she can be nice. So she's next in a seemingly endless stream of hostages being thrown down to the basement wearing a burlap sack. However, she's the first with a cell phone. But the 911 operator has left early for the day and by the time she calls Darnell, he's already being thrown down the steps himself. Joy is thrilled that he has apparently done something mean to deserve being kidnapped, but all he did was innocently and unknowingly yell, "Which lady?" a few times in her direction.
Then we have Catalina (Nadine Velazquez) joining the crew. Having been raised with various superstitions about witches, she had told Grizelda a sad story and then caught her teardrop in vial exclaiming, "I catched the tear of a witch! I will live forever!" And finally, the last person to join the detainees is Patty the Daytime Hooker (Dale Dickey), who, it turns out, is Grizelda's daughter. She's being held for having taken her father's side during the divorce.
Before going upstairs again, Grizelda reveals that they are to choose which one of them she will "stab and stab and stab, 'til your dead." Soon after, the group begins to argue over who it will be, with each pointing out the others' faults as reasons. This causes Earl to have a valuable epiphany about stereotyping — they are now labeling each other as they had once done to Grizelda, which allows you to no longer think of that "label" as a person with feelings and worth. Overhearing his speech, Grizelda comes downstairs and seems truly touched. But after Earl apologizes on behalf of everyone and brings her in for a hug, she stabs him anyway. After all is said and done, it turns out she's just plain insane. But after some time at a mental institution, she shows up at the Crab Shack normal as can be and sporting a makeover (no glasses and with the classic Betty White hairdo). Simple as that.
I already gave two of my picks for favorite Season 4 guest spots, and I think Betty White in this episode makes three. With this role, as in most other ones, she hit every note perfectly — I especially liked her laugh, which was a kind of a cutely creepy one that was hysterical, but also made sense for her character, who was able to charm a few people despite being criminal and crazy. And overall, this was just a strong, straightforward Earl installment. It's awesome to see the show in such great form in final stretch of the season.
And now for some key moments and one-liners. There were so many in this episode that I'll probably need some help — share your favorites.
- Joy says the Witch Lady is "creepier than babies wearing glasses." When Darnell brings up another time she said something mean to someone, she retorts, "One person cried, six people laughed. I'm just sayin'..."
- Still confused as to why he's trapped in a basement, Earl tells Grizelda, "This is a real pants-crapper."
- When explaining the thrill she's getting from kidnapping people, Grizelda says, "It's what I always imagined an orgasm would be like."
- As they try to think of a plan, Randy abruptly and deeply inhales. "Sorry. Stopped breathin' there for a second."
- "If you could use one word to describe me..."Mean!" And you can't use hot...
- Stuart to Kenny: "We've got to be strong, Bear Cub."
- "Hookers have moms?"
- Darnell acts mean to spice things up for Joy, who's being nice by serving him dinner complete with a sweet demeanor. "Bitch, you know I don't like peas!
This week's episode finds Earl (Jason Lee
) trying to once again make up for one of the many misdeeds he performed as a youth. But this time around, he finds himself up against one of his most cunning opponents yet — Betty White