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My Name Is Earl - Season One


TITLE: MY NAME IS EARL - SEASON ONE


Info:

DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006 (20th Century Fox)
Color/2005-2006
MSRP: $49.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running time: Approx. 526 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen Aspect Radio 1.78:1
Audio Tracks: English 5.1 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Closed Captioned
Special Features:

  • 7 Episode Commentaries by creator Greg Garcia, stars Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee, and others
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary
  • All-New DVD Exclusive Bad Karma: An Earl Misadventure (Mini-Episode with Optional Audio Commentary)
  • "Karma Is A Funny Thing" Blooper Reel
  • "Making Things Right: Behind the Scenes of My Name Is Earl" Featurette
  • Soundtrack Promo


    Introduction:

    Earl (Jason Lee) is learning the hard way that when you do something bad, it has a way of coming back and biting you in the butt! Hoping to turn his life around, Earl's got a lengthy list of detestable deeds to make up for, from stealing a one-legged girl's car to avoiding a nasty break-up by faking his own death. Nominated for two Golden Globes and winner of the People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy, My Name Is Earl is wildly offbeat and hilariously irrevent--the #1 new comedy of the season!


    Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

    My Name Is Earl premiered on NBC on September 20, 2005. The show became an instant hit with fans and critics and was the top-ranked new comedy for the Fall 2006 season. After 10 episodes on Tuesday nights, it was moved in January to Thursday nights along with The Office. My Name Is Earl was voted Favorite New Television Comedy in the 2005 People's Choice Awards and earned a prize for Outstanding Directorial Achievement In A Comedy Series from the Directors Guild of America, as well as various nominations for its talented cast and crew in the Golden Globes, The Screen Actors Guild Awards, and The Writers Guild of America. Jaime Pressly was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. The show won 4 Emmys for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series (Dava Waite), Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Marc Buckland), Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (Lance Luckey), and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Greg Garcia). The series stars Jason Lee as Earl Hickey, Ethan Suplee as Randy Hickey, Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner, Eddie Steeples as Darnell "Crabman" Turner and Nadine Velasquez as Catalina.

    There were so many memorable episodes for a rookie show. The show was consistenly funny all season. I'll list a few of my favorites. After getting hit by a car and losing a winning lottery ticket, Earl blames bad karma and vows to make amends for every bad thing he's ever done in the "Pilot." Earl tries to teach English to a group of immigrants to compensate for having made fun of people's accents, while his friend Ralph, just out of prison, plots to steal Earl's money in "Teacher Earl." Randy's excited about going to the county fair, but it will have to wait until Earl can clear up some bad karma at the local country club in "Stole Beer From a Golfer." Earl tries to make up for ruining Joy and Darnell's wedding, but he only makes things worse when he winds up sleeping with Joy in "Joy's Wedding." Earl fills in at a fast-food restaurant, and his faith in karma is shaken by his new boss, a reprehnsible jerk with an enviable lifestyle in "O Karma, Where Art Thou?." Earl becomes a guest lecturer and Randy pledges a fraternity when the two head to a university to return a stolen laptop in "The Professor." As a Mother's Day gift to his mom, Earl tries to mend his strained relationship with his father--a task easier said than done in "Dad's Car."

    With the show becoming an instant fan and ratings hit, it was not hard for them to attract so many notable guest stars. Carson Daly appeared as himself in the "Pilot." Kathryn Joosten played Donny's mother in "Quit Smoking." Giovanni Ribisi guest starred as Ralph in "Teacher Earl" and "Stole P'S HD Cart." Timothy Stack appeared as himself and Missi Pyle was Shelly in "Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine." Johnny Galecki played Scott in "Stole Beer From a Golfer." Beau Bridges played Earl's father, Carl, in "Cost Dad the Election" and "Dad's Car." Brett Butler was Joy's mom, Blake Clark was Joy's dad, and Harland Williams was the Radio Contest Announcer in "White Lie Christmas." Jon Favreau guest starred as Pat Patrick in "O Karma, Where Art Thou?." Adam Goldberg appeared as Philo in "Something to Live For." Christine Taylor played Alex Meyers in "The Professor." Malcolm David Kelley (Walt on "Lost") guest starred as Albie in "Boogeyman." Juliette Lewis appeared as Jessie in "The Bounty Hunter." Mike O'Malley was Stewart and Clint Howard played Rodney in "Stole a Badge."


    Packaging:

    There is a thin cardboard box that holds two slim cases. Jason Lee is featured on the outer cardboard box. Various items from Earl's list are in the background, and the My Name Earl logo is featured. There is a large photo of the 5 main cast members at the motel, a synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features, and the DVD specs on the back of the box. Randy and Earl are on the spine of the box. The two slim cases slide out from the right of the box. Slim case #1 uses the same photo of Earl as the DVD cover art. A dumbfounded Randy is on slim case #2. There are 4 small photos from the episodes on the back of each slim case. Episode titles, short summaries, and original air dates are listed. The episodes with audio commentaries and the special features are noted on each case. There is a blue-tinted photo of the motel inside slim case #1 and a green-tinted photo of the Crab Shack in slim case #2. A promotional sheet for the My Name Is Earl Soundtrack Album and comic book is included. The discs have a red background, and there is a photo of an individual cast member and the My Name Is Earl logo in white on each of them. Disc 1 has Earl and holds episodes 1-7. Disc 2 features Randy and contains episodes 8-14. Disc 3 has a photo of Joy and offers episodes 16-21. Disc 4 has Darnell and rounds out the set with episodes 22-24.


    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The menus are very attractive and easy to navigate. The main menu has a lottery ticket. As the 3 boxes are scratched off, clips from the episodes are shown in each of them. An extended version of the instrumental theme runs in the background for around 3 minutes and then loops. There are options for Play All Episodes, Episode Selections, Special Features, and Language Selections. There are 2 red dollar signs next to the option that you highlight that turn white upon your selection. When you choose Episode Selections, it takes you to a separate sub-menu that features a different photo on each disc. The episode titles are listed horizontally in white in 3 rows. Red and blue stars separate the episodes. The episode you highlight is in a brighter white. It's a bit difficult to see which episode you highlight, so I think they should have made it a different color like yellow. When you choose an episode, the episode changes to yellow text. Disc 1's Episode Index menu has a photo of Earl between 2 milk cartons, Disc 2 has Earl and Randy in Santa hats, Disc 3 has another shot of Earl and Randy, and Disc 4 has Earl's face pressed against a windshield. The Language Selection sub-menu gives you the option of English 5.1 or the the commentaries. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French. Each disc has a different photo: Randy on Disc 1, Earl on Disc 2, Catalina on Disc 3, and Joy on Disc 4. Finally, there is the special features menu. The audio commentaries are listed on the first screen. When you hit "more" it takes you to another screen that has the deleted scenes and other special features. There is a different photo on each sub-menu: Joy on Disc 1, Darnell on Disc 2, Darnell and Joy on Disc 3, and Catalina in a bikini on Disc 4. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no separate menus for scene selections.


    Video and Audio Quality:

    The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. I don't have a high definition TV, but the episodes on the DVDs look slightly better than what I've seen broadcast on NBC. Each episode is shot like a mini-movie. There are many outdoor and on-location scenes. The lighting and camera work is excellent. Colors look bright and the sharpness and detail is fantastic. If you have a high definition TV, look for some signs that the cast members hold up in the background in a few episodes. All the episodes appear to be unedited, with the majority of them running around 21 1/2 minutes. The "Pilot" runs 24:51 and the season finale, "Number One," which originally aired as part of an extended super-sized 40-minute block, runs 27:57. Look for the "Amigos de Garcia" production company cards in the closing credits. They feature a different friend of Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia every week.

    The audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. Music is an intergral part of the show. There were around 100 songs used in season one. There is nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of the original music has been changed. The music is pumped up a bit with the surround audio. Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French.

    Update: Some of the songs, including the first song used in the pilot - "Monkey Dance" by The Wiggles, have been replaced on the DVD with generic background music. For a list, click on the specific episodes on Wikipedia.

    Here is the breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and running times:

    Disc 1
    ---------
    1. Pilot (09/20/05) (24:51)
    2. Quit Smoking (09/27/05) (21:36)
    3. Randy's Touchdown (10/04/05) (21:35)
    4. Faked My Own Death (10/11/05) (21:29)
    5. Teacher Earl (10/18/05) (21:36)
    6. Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine (11/01/05) (21:35)
    7. Stole Beer From a Golfer (11/08/05) (21:40)

    Disc 2
    ---------
    8. Joy's Wedding (11/15/05) (21:39)
    9. Cost Dad an Election (11/22/05) (21:35)
    10. White Lie Christmas (12/06/05) (21:39)
    11. Barn Burner (01/05/06) (21:56)
    12. O Karma, Where Are Thous? (01/12/06) (21:38)
    13. Stole P'S HD Cart (01/19/06) (21:40)
    14. Monkeys in Space (01/26/06) (21:41)

    Disc 3
    ---------
    15. Something To Live For (02/02/06) (21:13)
    16. The Professor (02/09/06) (21:40)
    17. Didn't Pay Taxes (03/02/06) (21:20)
    18. Dad's Car (03/16/06) (21:41)
    19. Y2K (03/23/06) (21:36)
    20. Boogeyman (03/30/06) (21:05)
    21. Bounty Hunter (04/06/06) (21:41)

    Disc 4
    ---------
    22. Stole a Badge (04/27/06) (21:19)
    23. BB (05/04/06) (20:37)
    24. Number One (05/11/06) (27:57)


    Special Features:

    An impressive amount and variety of special features have been included on this set. 20th Century Fox really went all-out to add value to this set. There are commentaries for 7 of the episodes by the cast and crew, deleted scenes for 6 episodes, "Bad Karma" mini-episode (plus optional commentary), "Karma Is A Funny Thing" Blooper Reel, "Making Things Right: Behind the Scenes of My Name Is Earl" featurette, and Soundtrack Promo.

    The commentaries are fun to hear. There isn't really a ton of trivia or background details given. They are more like the cast and crew watching the episodes and reminiscing. I liked that they used different people and even guest stars on each of them to give them some variety. The most entertaining to me were the pilot and the one with the moms. Most of the deleted scenes were deleted because of time. Too bad they only get 21 1/2 minutes each week. I'm sure a lot of great scenes end up on the cutting room floor. I would have loved to see a lot more of them. The "Bad Karma" mini-episode is hilarious, as you see Earl doing just the opposite of what he did in the regular pilot episode. Around 20 minutes of bloopers and outtakes are available on the reel. The Behind the Scenes featurette runs over 38 minutes and features interviews with the entire cast and the majority of the crew.

    Here are more details on the special features, and the breakdown by disc:

    Disc 1 - "Pilot" Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia, Excecutive Producer/Director Marc Buckland, Producer/Actor Jason Lee and Actor Ethan Suplee - They talk about the first day of shooting, where they shot the restaurant, music cues, the guest stars, why Caron Daly was chosen, the hairstyles, Greg's appearance in the episode, and their general observations on the episode. I thought this was the most intersting commentary on the set, as far as the amount of details given.

    Disc 1 - "Teacher Earl" Commentary by Creator/Exectuvie Producer Greg Garcia, Producer/Actor Jason Lee, Actors Ethan Suplee and Giovanni Ribisi - They talk about how they got the idea of the episode, Jason's weight, shooting at the motel, the guy who played Nescobar, and Giovanni's Earl look.

    Disc 1 - Deleted Scene from "Pilot" - A scene outside the bar involving Earl and a guy who shouts a derogatory remark at them. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive PRoducer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (1:07).

    Disc 1 - Deleted Scene from "Broke Joy's Figurine" - A scene with Tim Stack announcing the winner of a dinner with him. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (1:01)

    Disc 2 - "Joy's Wedding" Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia, Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland, Producer/Actor Jason Lee and Actor Eddie Steeples - They talk about Willy the one-eyed mailman, Jason playing drunk, why they used Sam Rubin, and how they scouted locations looking for a Chuck E. Cheese.

    Disc 2 - "White Lie Christmas" Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia, Producer Tim Stack, Actors Jaime Pressly and Nadine Velasquez - They talk about the casting of Harland Williams and the extras, Blake Clark and Brett Butler as Joy's parents, and how they acquired the car for the show.

    Disc 2 - "O Karma, Where Art Thou?" Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia, Producer/Actor Jason Lee, Actors Ethan Suplee and Jon Favreau - This commentary featured a lot of comments from Jon Favreau, who guest starred in this episode. They give their general obseravations of the episode and mention some of the guest stars.

    Disc 2 - Deleted Scenes from "Monkeys in Space" - 3 scenes. 1) Earl, Darnell, and Randy at the Crab Shack. 2) Randy at Joy's trailer. 3) Eddie gives Randy some advice on how to work as a bus boy. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (1:31)

    Disc 2 - Deleted Scenes from "O Karma, Where Art Thou?" - 2 scenes. Randy tries to cheer up Earl at the Crab Shack. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (1:30)

    Disc 3 - "Dad's Car" Commentary by the Moms of Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia (Natalie Garcia), Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland (Mary Buckland), Producer/Actor Jason Lee (Carol Lee) and Actor Ethan Suplee (Debbie Suplee) - Since this episode had a Mother's Day theme, this was a great and unique idea for a commentary. It is moderated by Greg Garcia and Marc Buckland. The moms talk about how their sons got started in acting, which characters they like the most, if they'd like to be on the show, Jason and Ethan's transition from movies to TV, and their general observations of the episode.

    Disc 3 - Deleted Scene from "Something To Live For" - Earl is not the first to land a helping hand at the Crab Shack. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (:25)

    Disc 3 - Deleted Scene from "The Professor" - Original Make-up - A scene showing the original make-up of Alex (Christine Taylor) after her bee sting. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (1:45)

    Disc 3 - Deleted Scene from "The Professor" - Frat Paddling - This was a scene of Randy's B story of trying to get in a fraternity. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (:40)

    Disc 4 - "Number One" Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia, Exectuive Producer/Director Marc Buckland, Producer/Actor Jason Lee and Actor Ethan Suplee - They talk about Greg Garcia directing the episode, the Farrah Fawcett posters, Randy and the Rubik's cube, and what Catalina says in Spanish in the episode.

    Disc 4 - Deleted Scene from "Stole a Badge" - The introduction of creepy Rodney (Clint Howard) to Earl, Randy, and Joy. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia and Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland) (1:22)

    Disc 4 - Bad Karma: An Earl Misadventure (13:42) - This is a mini-episode that they shot at the conclusion of the season. This is an exclusive to the DVD. In a "Masterpiece Theatre" style opening, Jason Lee (without his mustache) introduces the "lost" pilot. Earl flips by Carson Daly and sees Stewie from "Family Guy" giving advice. Earl makes a list of people who have screwed him over and searches for revenge. They shot this in 3 days, instead of the usual 5. Newly shot scenes are intercut with some alternate scenes and lines that didn't make the original pilot. Freakin' sweet. (Optional Commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia, Executive Producer Marc Buckland, Producer/Actor Jason Lee and Actor Ethan Suplee)

    Disc 4 - "Karma Is A Funny Thing" Blooper Reel - Nearly 20 minutes of bloopers! You rarely see more than 3-5 minutes on most DVD sets, so this is an impressive amount to include. About the 1st minute or so is strangely shown like home movies (with scratches) on a screen. The rest of them are shown in full-screen format. Lots of hilarious clips. Some of my favorites were when Ethan Suplee was scared of a mouse. (19:59)

    Disc 4 - "Making Things Right: Behind the Scenes of My Name Is Earl" Featurette - This documentary runs over 38 minutes and includes interviews with all of the main cast members and a majority of the crew. It is broken down into about 8 segments. I'll list who is interviewed first and then a few details about each section.

    Interviewed: Creator/Executive Producer Greg Garcia, Executive Producer/Director Marc Buckland, Producer/Actor Jason Lee, Actor Ethan Suplee, Actor Jaime Pressly, Actor Nadine Velazquez, Actor Eddie Steeples, Director of Photography/Director Eyal Gordin, Head Hair Stylist Patricia Gundlach, Head Make-Up Artist Peggy Teague, Editor Billy Marninson, Associate Producer Kim Hamberg, Editor Lance Luckey, Executive Producer/Writer Bobby Bowman

    "The Two Amigos" - Greg Garcia (driving around in his Smokey and the Bandit type car) talks about how he got the idea for the show and pitched it to the networks. Marc Buckland talks about how he got attached to the project.

    "Finding Earl" - They talk about the casting of Jason Lee.

    "Casting Camden County" - They talk about the casting of Ethan, Jaime, Nadine, and Eddie.

    "Must Be The Mustache" - NBC tests the pilot and the battle over facial hair.

    "Welcome To Our World" - They discuss the typical shooting schedule for an episode, Joy's many hairstyles, the make-up, and the post-production schedule.

    "Can I Be On Your Show?" - People start calling them to say they want to be on the show.

    "You Got Heart" - Jason Lee talks about Greg Garcia.

    "The Last Day of Shooting Season One" - Final comments from the cast and crew.

    Disc 4 - Soundtrack Promo - My Name - The Album is being released the same day as the DVD.

    There's not much more I would want as far as special features. Maybe a few more deleted scenes from other episodes. Some TV Promo spots would have been fun to watch.


    Final Comments:

    My Name Is Earl was the most original and funny sitcom last season. It features an incredible cast with great chemistry, memorable supporting actors and guest stars, fun soundtrack, and outstanding writing and directing. It really isn't like traditional sitcoms. There is no laugh track or studio audience. The show uses a lot of flashbacks and unique camera work like freeze frames. It is very similar to another one of my favorites: "Arrested Development."

    What a wonderful set for a wonderful show! This set rivals Seinfeld and Arrested Development as my favorite TV DVD releases in recent memory. The episodes look and sound amazing. They have about every special feature that you could expect from a rookie show. As they say on the packaging, karma is a funny thing.

    My Name Is Earl - The Album is also being released on the same day as the DVD. It features some of the original songs featured on the show, as well as some new cover songs. Read our review of the soundtrack here. I can't wait for the start of season 2! I'm sure they will be able to keep things fresh and funny and avoid a sophomore slump. Look for My Name Is Earl at 8:00PM ET/PT on Thursdays on NBC!


    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

    Video Quality: 5/5
    Audio Quality: 5/5
    Special Features: 5/5
    Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
    Overall: 4/5

    Note: The overall score has been reduced due to the amount of songs replaced.

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/19/06

    To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000G6BL88/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

    Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

    http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=183300


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