My Name Is Earl Episodes

2005, TV Show

My Name Is Earl Episode: "Gospel"

Season 4, Episode 24
Episode Synopsis: Earl turns his karmic attentions on a reverend whom he aggrieved in the past. But forgiveness is fleeting when the religious figure finds out about Earl's many other misdeeds. Meanwhile, Joy is a blade runner: She hits Catalina with a riding mower.
Original Air Date: Apr 23, 2009

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Season 4, Episode 24
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Length: 22:22:03
Aired: 4/23/2009
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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My Name Is Earl Episode Recap: "Inside Probe, Part I" Season 4, Episode 24

This week's episode is the first installment of a two-parter. Huddled together in the Crab Shack, all of our Camden regulars watch Inside Probe, an investigative show hosted by Geraldo Rivera, playing himself. The program had been filmed eight years earlier, but was held up due to Darnell's Witness Protection status (he had refused to sign a release). So finally, they all get to see the episode, which explores the whereabouts of Crab Shack owner Ernie Belcher, who had gone missing.

Basically, we watch as each character is profiled and their relationship with Belcher is explored, with each being a suspect in his disappearance. The result is an amusing send-up of these types of shows, complete with the requisite reenactment segments. We also get to learn new things about some characters and watch how they behaved in the past, and it's a breath of fresh air. With much less storytelling comes more straight-up jokes, which I can imagine the actors had a lot of fun with. However, this means there's much less plot to recap — it's definitely a you-just-have-to-see-it episode. With that in mind, let's launch right into discussing some of what made this one pretty entertaining.

First off, unless I'm mistaken, a lot of the young photographs of the characters shown during their back stories looked like they were actual photos of the real actors, doctored in some instances -- especially those that had Earl's (Jason Lee) eyes closed. This added an extra element of reality and hilarity. Most of the photos with Ethan Suplee (who plays Randy Hickey) make me wish I was there when they were taken. Pretty much every character's story involved myriad mugshots as well. One of my favorites featured Joy (Jaime Pressly) with a blue ring around her mouth after being arrested for huffing paint.

Humorous new information was plentiful. Not sure if it had been mentioned in an earlier episode, but Earl's middle name is Jehosaphat, for those keeping track. Catalina (Nadine Velazquez) is from "Guadalatucky," and also used to be one of Ernie Belcher's "girlfriends" along with Patty the Daytime Hooker (Dale Dickey) who explained, "She'd shake up the bottle and I'd pop the cork." Patty also spends some evenings performing in local community theater productions. Darnell (Eddie Steeples) reveals that Ernie has gradually conditioned the customers' stomachs to withstand extremely low-grade seafood, but we could've guessed that.

I thought Geraldo (or "Gerhardo," as Earl would say) added a lot to the episode. He did a fairly good job of playing this as seriously as he could muster. Adding to that realism is what makes the surreal nature of Camden all the funnier. For instance, while he's walking outside Yummy Donuts and setting up the next scene, a lone, diaper-clad toddler wanders aimlessly in the background. We also see Geraldo trying to carry on with the show while getting sick in the Crab Shack bathroom after unwisely trying "fish wings," Randy's favorite dish. Another favorite moment of mine was that he actually attended the filmed reunion at the end. Stone Phillips could've been good too, but as Geraldo explains, he was off having plastic surgery.

TV's Tim Stack was also in top form. I don't know if we've ever seen him more haggard than when he's drinking and talking to the camera about powdering his nose with "a little white lightning." How funny was the transition between Joy's story of Ernie saving her from a guy humping her from behind by spraying the man with a hose and Stack saying, "Ernie was always spraying me with a hose?" That's no way to treat a "Stay-At-Trailer Mom."

All the while, we learn little facts about Ernie. He enjoyed putting peanuts in customers' beers as a practical joke. His brother Quizno invented the toasted sub. His best friend is NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip. But after an amusing go-to-commercial listing of all the suspects (Darnell's mentioned not once, but twice and with the prejudiced moniker of "black coworker"), the lazy, incompetent cops (Mike O'Malley and Billy Gardell) begin to stack up the evidence against Randy. Right before Ernie's disappearance, Randy began sending threatening letters regarding the lack of free toothpicks and fish wings being sold only on Wednesdays. Things go from bad to worse when Randy's brought in for interrogation and the topic of the complaints he made sends him into a rage, which of course ends in a dramatic freeze-frame.

Figuring Randy couldn't hatch a scheme like this on his own, Earl is brought in as well. They tell him Randy's confessed to pressure him into owning up to the crime. He explains he's not stupid — which reminds them that Randy is. Quite easily, they convince Randy to confess. Things are looking bad for the brothers, especially since the only lawyer they could afford is Tim Stack's agent, Wilfrid Dierkes, who plans to plead insanity for Earl and "retardity" for Randy. Luckily, an alibi comes in the form of Michael Waltrip, who weaves a tale of the night of Ernie's disappearance complete with photographic evidence as he's a confirmed shutterbug. This results in the best reenactment scene of the night, with Waltrip playing himself and everyone else played by actors. For some reason, though, my favorite part was when the actor playing Ernie puts a peanut in a beer and he and Waltrip exchange big grins.

So in the end, Earl and Randy are cleared. But there's much more to see next week in part two. Earlier, Earl had said, "Me in a coma?! C'mon, no one wants to see that!" Obviously, this was a reference to the Earl-in-a-coma plot line we all suffered through. I was glad to see they acknowledged that. More self-referential jokes came about in the last scene as they discuss the fact that Inside Probe should be an hour long. They talk about the way networks order episodes and how it makes more sense to show the full story in an hour. Funny stuff, but as I've mentioned before, the argument for hour-long episodes of comedies falls flat with me. There's a reason why the vast majority of television comedies are a half-hour and dramas are an hour. Please, bring on all the two-parters you want, just don't force everything into an hour. But that's one man's opinion.

My favorite line, a clever quip about Earl's time slot, was delivered by Joy at the very end. She complains that they "don't let you cuss until a certain time at night..." She checks her watch, waits a few seconds, and then follows up with "... douche bags."

No bullet points this time around. But let me know what I missed and what your favorite parts were. Also, feel free to weigh in on the two-part vs. hour-long special debate.

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This week's episode is the first installment of a two-parter. Huddled together in the Crab Shack, all of our Camden regulars watch Inside Probe, an investigative show hosted by Geraldo Rivera, playing himself. The program had been filmed eight years earlier, but was held up due to Darnell's Witness Protection status (he had refused to sign a release). So finally, they all get to see the episode, which explores the whereabouts of Crab Shack owner Ernie Belcher, who had gone missing.

Basically, we watch as each character is profiled and their relationship with Belcher is explored, with each being a suspect in his disappearance. The result is an amusing send-up of these types of shows, complete with the requisite reenactment segments. We also get to learn new things about some characters and watch how they behaved in the past, and it's a breath of fresh air. With much less storytelling comes more straight-up jokes, which I can imagine the actors had a lot of fun with. However, this means there's much less plot to recap — it's definitely a you-just-have-to-see-it episode. With that in mind, let's launch right into discussing some of what made this one pretty entertaining. read more

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Premiered: September 20, 2005, on NBC
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (242 ratings)
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Premise: A petty crook sets out to make amends for his life in this quirky comedy created by Greg Garcia ('Yes, Dear'). Jason Lee brings an endearing warmth to the title role of Earl, who wins $100,000 on a lottery card, and loses it when he's hit by a car. In the hospital, Earl experiences an epiphany---courtesy of Carson Daly, of all people---and resolves to right his wrongs. Along for Earl's ride: his ne'er-do-well brother Randy and a sexy motel maid.

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