"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Soup of the Week & My Name Is Earl: Guess Who's Coming Out of Joy

Cream of Zucchini Soup

1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2" slices
2 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 cans (one 12 oz, one 5 oz) evaporated milk
1 tablespoon butter

In a large saucepan, combine the zucchini, water, onion, bouillon, and seasoned salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Cool slightly.

In a blender, cover and process soup in batches until pureed. Return all to the pan. Add milk and butter ; cook and stir until butter is melted.

My Name Is Earl: Guess Who's Coming Out of Joy

Okay, I give in. Up until now I'd held firmly to the belief that the best My Name is Earl episodes were invariably the ones where Earl gets to cross something off of his list. This episode proved me wrong. There was no list-crossing, but I can't remember the last time I've laughed so hard at the TV.

As I've mentioned before, Jaime Pressley (Joy) is pregnant in real life, which explains why the show keeps finding ways to show her pregnant. Joy shouldn't be that far along with the new baby, so it's flashback time. And we finally get to see Earl's full reaction to the birth of his two illegitimate sons.

This episode explains one of the greatest mysteries of the show so far. If Earl was such a bad guy before he found karma, then why did he stay with Joy after he found out she'd cheated on him and raise two sons that weren't his? I'm pretty sure you could have stuck me in a room with nothing but this question for a few lifetimes and I never would have come up with "so he could save his gerbils." But it's interesting that his father bullied Earl into doing one of the only good things he'd done before he found the list.

That said, I'm not entirely convinced that the old Earl staying with that family was the best thing for it. Sure, he provided for them, by stealing food and magazines, pulling a string when a child got too close to the street, and labeling the wall sockets "kid's don't touch." But I'm pretty sure most of those things would result in having the kids removed by a social services agent in real life.

I love that Earl's parents are getting a larger role, although I still think Earl's need for approval from his parents is a little after school special'ly. But the scene where Carl, Kay, and Earl are standing in the hall looking at the wrong baby was almost Office-like in its awkward humor. I love when Kay turns to Earl and tells him that maybe Joy can give the t-shirts (that say #1 Grandma and Grandpa) to her parents, and they can use a sharpie on the little white cartoon baby face.

Randy's in peak form tonight, showing his childlike innocence. After the story where we were supposed to buy his true and undying love for Catalina (before it was squashed by some nasty smells and Freudian references), it's nice to hear Randy express excitement at his own ideas.

One of my favorite moments of the episode:Earl finds out that Joy's second child isn't his either, and exclaims to Randy "I'm a clown. I'm a damn clown!" Randy replies, "But people like clowns. Hey, wait a second, if we all painted our faces like clowns all the time no one would know Earl Jr wasn't yours. Can we? Can we paint our faces like clowns?"
What else did we learn tonight?

Make sure to put antifreeze in your car in the winter and make sure to put in a diaphragm before going to a Ronnie James Dio concert.
Thanksgiving stuffing is kind of disgusting when you think of it as a euphemism.

Carson Daly is not the first TV celebrity Earl has taken advice from. Montel Williams was also Joy and Earl's therapist.

Earl's dad partly blames himself for the way Earl turned out.

But before things could get too sappy, Earl showed his father that he could finish something by completing the lamp he started in 8th grade. And in the course of 30 minutes, we get to see two generations of Hickey men electrocuted by that lamp. It's a good thing for those two kids that they're not really Earl's.

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