Of all the shows debuting this fall, NBC's My Name Is Earl (Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET) may be the most original and irreverent. (And the early ratings seem to agree.) Jason Lee stars as Earl, a hapless loser with a checkered past who's trying to get karma on his side. Ethan Suplee (Mallrats, American History X), who plays Earl's simpleminded brother Randy, spoke with TVGuide.com about the new show and whether he'd like the opportunity to make up for any missteps in his own past.
TVGuide.com: How would you describe Randy?
Ethan Suplee: I think of Randy as a kid. It's not that he's stupid; he's just young and innocent. He loves his older brother and will do anything for him.
TVGuide.com: Randy has an affection for old-school hip-hop. Did you bring that to the character? Are you a fan of that style of music?
Suplee: That was entirely the mad genius of [series creator] Greg Garcia. I'm not really a big fan of old-school rap. It's not that I dislike it, but I had nothing to do with bringing that to the character. I think it's a great choice for Randy. Personally, I have pretty diverse taste in music — lately I've been listening to a band called The Business. Earlier, on my way to work, I was listening to Bob Marley and Death Cab for Cutie, so I'm all over the place.
TVGuide.com: My Name Is Earl is unlike anything else on TV. Can you think of any other shows you can compare it to?
Suplee: Honestly, I cannot think of anything that is like this. I feel like each episode is like shooting an indie movie. It's natural. It's got a lot of heart. It's sweet. But most of all, it's funny.
TVGuide.com: So the script drew you to the role?
Suplee: Totally. That, and I'd been interested in doing a TV show, because I just had a kid and I wanted to work in Los Angeles. Doing movies, you go out of town a lot, and I was spending six months a year out of the country. It was hard to see my family. Then this came along, and not only was it the best television comedy I'd ever read, but it was shooting in L.A. Plus, Jason has been a longtime friend of mine. It was like, "This is too good to be true. It'll never work." But it ended up working perfectly.
TVGuide.com: Did you become friends with Jason when you two worked on Mallrats?
Suplee: I've known Jason since I was 14. He was living with a good friend of mine's sister, so that's how we became friends. For Mallrats, we worked on scenes together and drove to the auditions together.
TVGuide.com: Thinking about Earl's premise: Is there anything you've done in your life that you'd like to go back and make right?
Suplee: Loads of stuff. I think my list would be nearly endless, if I sat down to do it. There's nothing specific that I feel safe discussing. I'll save that for my Playboy interview.
TVGuide.com: If My Name Is Earl's success continues and it airs multiple seasons, won't Earl's list eventually run out?
Suplee: Well, I think there are 250 things on the list. Listen, I'm open to whatever, but 250 episodes will be like 12 seasons. I doubt we'll get that far.
TVGuide.com: Well, not with that attitude, you won't!