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

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Name Is Earl: The Magic Hour & Monkey Take a Bath

The last time I saw Earl, his marriage had ended and he’d vowed to focus on his list, which was a good move for the show. This season opened with Joy behaving in typical fashion: making her kids wear Make-a-Wish t-shirts so she doesn’t have to wait in line. This takes Earl back to the time he got drunk and stole a pony that was, unfortunately, part of little Buddy’s wish. So Earl and Randy go to Buddy’s house, and discover that Buddy is very much alive. Buddy, played by Seth Green, has a new dream now: to make a movie about a giant squid that tries to destroy the world and kill the president. (It’s called To The Max, and I am not ashamed to admit I really want to see it.)

Buddy and Earl go around town to cast the movie. Randy is cast as the President, Joy is Max’s wife, and Catalina is a “ruthless terrorist.” Randy actually does a great job, and then Ethan Suplee gives us an excellent Buffalo Bill impression that was my favorite part of the show. Buddy makes Joy kiss him in the “magic hour” scene, and she reveals that she “only does tongue if it’s Brad Pitt or Eric Roberts,” and I learned that once again, Joy has hit a new low. After the movie’s climax, a shot of Max karate-chopping a giant squid, falls apart, everyone quits the movie. Earl throws a premiere party anyway, but Buddy, it turns out, has died of his illness. But he did get to follow his dreams, which leads others to do the same. Darnell paints himself and Joy into American Gothic, Joy steals clothes, Randy makes a door sign, and Earl takes up the xylophone again. All seems to be right in Camden County.

In the premiere’s second half, Earl and Randy have to buy back all their childhood belongings from their parents at a yard sale, including a hand puppet that makes Randy tell the truth. Joy finds an “IQ machine” and tries to con Earl’s dad into selling it to her. At the yard sale, the puppet makes Earl decide to cross #87 off his list: scared away his parents’ friends.

Earl and Randy had made Clark Clark cry repeatedly, and thought that this had made him move away. So they go to the Clark’s new house and Mr. Clark reveals that he’d moved because of an affair with Earl’s mom that had happened “because the A&P had a sale on wine coolers.” Earl and Randy make their mother tell their dad, who leaves screaming that his “wife is a whore!” Dad comes to stay with Earl, and they decide to go beat up Mr. Clark.

Despite Earl singing “Eye of the Tiger,” the plan fails, and they are beaten savagely by Mrs. Clark. Earl’s father then decides to get revenge he has to get laid, which makes Earl vomit. Back at the Crab Shack, Randy doesn’t fare much better when his mother tells him how unsatisfactory her sex life was, and Randy says my favorite line: “yeah, that guy sure is bad at touching moms.” A disgusted Randy tells Joy what his mother did, and Joy goes to fight her, but loses when Mrs. Hickey kicks her in the face.

Earl’s father has no luck picking up women at the pharmacy or the bank, but Patty from the diner agrees to sleep with him. Not because she likes him, but because she’s a “daytime hooker and a nighttime waitress.” Dejected, Earl’s dad cries. Earl reveals that “there are two things I never thought I’d see with my own eyes: a real bear carrying a picnic basket and my dad crying.” This brings back the pain of Joy’s infidelity, and the two men spend the night crying and talking. This changes things, and Earl’s father goes back home. Earl forgives Joy for cheating, and she returns the postman’s glass eye.

I thought it was a great premiere, and I’m glad to see the show back on form.

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