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My Name Is Earl

TITLE: MY NAME IS EARL - NBC 2005


Info:

Premiere Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 (20th Century Fox)
Network: NBC
Time: Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m
Cast: Starring Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jaime Pressly, Nadine Velazquez, and Eddie Steeples.


Introduction:

Earl Hickey is a small-time crook. Earl wins $100,000 from a scratch-off lottery ticket. He learns the secret of life about karma. Do good things and good things will happen to you. Do bad things and it will come back to haunt you. Earl makes up a list of everything bad he's done as he tries a road map to a better life. Earl's friends include his brother Randy, the sexy maid Catalina, and Darnell (the owner of the Crab Shack). His wife ex-wife is Joy who doesn't do anything unless it benefits her. The show was written and created by Yes Dear's Greg Garcia.


Cast Details:

My Name Is Earl stars Jason Lee as Earl, Ethan Suplee as Randy, Jaime Pressly as Joy, Nadine Velazquez as Catalina, and Eddie Steeples as Darnell.

Jason Lee makes his TV series debut. He has appeared in many movies including Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Almost Famous. Ethan Suplee plays Earl's hapless brother, Randy, who likes to drink beer. He has made appearances in many Kevin Smith productions and recent movies include Cold Mountain, The Butterfly Effect, and Without a Paddle. Jamie Pressly plays Earl's ex-wife Joy. She started off in the modeling world and has appeared in a number of movies including Not Another Teen Movie. Nadine Velasquez plays the maid that Earl meets at the motel. She started acting around 2003 and has appeared on The Bold and the Beautiful. Eddie Steeples plays the owner of the Crab Shack Bar. He has appeared in a handful of movies including Torque.


Plot:

The pilot sets up the storyline for the series. We are first introduced to Earl and parts of his life. He meets a woman, marries her in Las Vegas, and has 2 kids. He buys a lottery ticket and ends up winning $100,000. After being hit by a car, he winds up losing the ticket and winds up in a hospital with injuries. Earl has an epiphany in the hospital while watching late night host Carson Daly who says the secret to his success is doing good for others. A few things happen in his life, and he ends up at a motel with his brother where he meets a maid named Catalina. He makes up a list of all the bad things that he's done in his life so far. One of the first things he tries to do is to make up for picking on Kenny James (Gregg Brinkley) while they were in elementary school. 1 down, 258 to go.


Analysis:

The show is shot on film, with a single camera, and no studio audience or laugh track. Many of the scenes are shot outdoors and on various sets. It really has the look and feel of a film. They use a lot of music and background score by composer Danny Lux that adds a lot of enjoyment to the episode. Jason Lee provides the narration for the episodes. There was no theme at the start of the episode, but that's not unusual for pilot episodes. I'd expect them to add one starting with the second episode. The show is well-cast and they seem to have good chemistry. Lee plays Earl, who seems very relatable and likable, to perfection.


Conclusion:

I've seen the promos on NBC and the show looked hilarious. After watching the pilot, I think they have a truly original idea here. I've not watched a NBC sitcom regularly since Seinfeld ended. I will definitely watch My Name Is Earl to see how it develops. They have a strong pilot, and I hope they can continue the excellent writing. The humor is a bit edgy, and I definitely think the show will have appeal to young-adult viewers. The two female leads, Jaime Pressly and Nadine Velasquez, are total babes. Airing on Tuesdays against The Amazing Race and House seems like a killer timeslot. I hope that it is given a chance to develop an audience. NBC seems to have a lot of faith in the show so it would not surprise me to see them try it on another night if it struggles. This could be a show like Arrested Development which critics love, but has had trouble finding an audience. If you found the promos funny, give the show a try for a few episodes to see if you like it. Hopefully, this show will find some good karma and become a sitcom hit.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/14/2005.

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NBC.com Official Site
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