Since the show's return from the writers' strike, Earl has gotten stronger and funnier with each episode. This show was jam-packed with some hysterical dialogue, flashbacks both real and imagined, as well enough items crossed off the karma list to help Earl's condition.
The episode began when the hospital decided it needed its bed back, so they kicked Earl out and into Randy's care. Not surprisingly, this led to a few dicey situations, not the least of which was when Randy gave Earl a bath and then used a blowdryer to dry him off while he was still in the bathtub. Earl never knew the danger he was in because he wa still comatose, but his mind was exactly as it's been these past few episodes: wide awake in an imagined TV sitcom.
When they first introduced this sitcom gimmick, it felt flat and uninspired. Since then, however, the writers have injected life and humor into the idea. My Name Is Earl already uses flashbacks as a way to show who the Hickey boys were before they discovered karma. But the writers did themselves one better by having Earl's sitcom alter-ego have his own (fake) flashbacks, which allowed for even more great sitcom clichés to be included. The intentionally hacky device they used to pull it all together was to have an elderly TV Earl and Billie look at an old photo album and recall all the funny adventures they never really had.
Given Earl's love of television as a boy, it makes perfect sense that he'd imagine some of these situations taking place in his imagination. For example, TV Earl remembered when his kids were no longer cute, so a new smart-mouthed cousin moved in. Another flashback was when he and Billie were having a fight, so they drew a line down the center of the room and each person was barred from crossing to the other side. And finally, TV Earl had a "very special flashback" where Randy admitted that a bad man touched him inappropriately. I swear, if Diff'rent Strokes didn't use all of those as plot devices at one time or another, I'm losing my memory.
The rest of the episode was packed with more great jokes, many of them coming during a game of quad rugby that comatose Earl was forced to play in order to appease karma, (Randy controlled his wheelchair via joystick.) Earl has never been a politically correct show, which adds to its charm. Last year they got away with some dark comedy at the expense of guest star Marlee Matlin, and this time around, wheelchair-bound athletes don't fare much better. In a nod to Friday Night Lights fans out there, guest star Kevin Rankin played yet another quad rugby player, only this time he was the ex-boyfriend whom Earl had to reunite with his ex-girlfriend in order to cross an item off his list.
There was almost too much plot stuffed into this one half-hour of television to provide a suitable synopsis. Suffice it to say, this was the funniest, most well thought out episode in a long while and it ended on a high note as Earl finally woke from his coma. Upon waking up, Earl tells Randy, Joy and Darnell about his dreams of growing old and still hanging out with Randy, Joy and Darnell, which everyone agrees is just about perfect. But the line of the night followed immediately afterward as Earl then told them how he imagined he was married to Billie was great. "Billie? Who's he?" said Darnell. Joy added, "Oh crap, I think the coma made him gay."