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

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Name Is Earl: The Trial

Everything that happened in this episode (season finale) was entirely predictable -- about 10 seconds in advance. Earl hooks up with the deaf lawyer. Saw that coming, a few seconds before it happened. Deaf lawyer dumps Earl after taking a closer look at his list. I needed about 15 seconds for that one. Earl makes a sacrifice to help Joy. Not too surprising.

Probably my favorite, "saw this coming" moment was the moment Dog the Bounty Hunter showed up in Mexico and Joy gushed over him. Of course, given how the folks of Camden County obsess over Cops, it's not surprising that Joy's a big fan.

I wasn't really sure after a previous episode how the program was going to work with Earl holding down a steady job. I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted after a full day's work and I don't think I'd have time to cross a few hundred items off a list, especially considering how much work most of those tasks seem to take.So I was pretty certain Earl would lose his job. I just didn't expect he'd wind up sentenced to a two year prison term. I suppose the show could pick up two years in the future with a hardened Earl dissing the list and fighting karma. I've seen plenty of other shows take a similar approach, but they're usually action shows like Alias or 24. In fact, the whole cliffhanger ending felt more like something I'd expect from Prison Break than My Name is Earl.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Because as predictable as everything was a few seconds in advance, I wouldn't have predicted any of what happened in this episode prior to watching it. And that's good. For a show that's often quite predictable, it's nice to have a few surprises beyond wondering what will come out of Randy's mouth.I mean come on, "I brought a weeble for the judge to smack with his hammer. I always wanted to see what made these things not fall down." That's precious.

It was also interesting seeing the many sides of Joy in this episode. On the one hand, Earl couldn't find a character witness who wouldn't complain about Joy getting drunk and having a threesome with her parents or wearing a bikini to church. On the other hand, she saved her prison lunch pudding cups for her children and found a way to get a dead pony on roller skates for a kid's party. She's a good mom (and a terrible human being).

It was a great ensemble episode, bringing back several characters we haven't seen in a while, and fleshing out the characters we know and love like Joy and Darnell. But most importantly, that cliffhanger has grabbed my attention, and I can't wait to see the new season.

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