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My Name Is Earl, April 12 April 13, 2007

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Recap of “Harassed a Reporter”: While watching TV early in the morning, Earl sees reporter Nicole Moses doing the “Up Before Dawn” show. Years before, she had been a rising star as the on-scene reporter for breaking news events. However, after a meth lab exploded in the trailer park one evening, a bored Earl and Randy did their “crazy arms” dance behind Nicole as she tried to report the story. When the two arrived at the bar, they discovered that everyone had seen their act, and they were greeted as celebrities.

Earl and Randy then followed Nicole on every assignment that she had, continuing to do outrageous things behind the camera as she tried to maintain her composure. After a while, Earl and Randy began calling in fake stories just to get Nicole live on the scene for them to do their act. Finally, she snapped and began beating Earl with her microphone on live TV.

Earl and Randy go to the studio, and Nicole tells Earl that she can redeem her career by doing a piece about his change from “hooligan” to “cool-again.” Earl is a bit nervous to be on camera, but agrees to help her out.

Randy, on the other hand, is excited about being on television, and is crushed when Nicole tells him that she doesn’t care about his story. While feeling sorry for himself at the bar, Joy tells Randy that he is in Earl’s shadow, and he needs to “zag” when Earl “zigs” to make his own place in the world.

Randy decides to make a list of everyone that he’s done something good for and now do something bad to them, all while wearing a sombrero, because Earl would never do those things.

Randy dresses all in green and appears behind Nicole as simply a floating head while she is trying to do the weather report. Earl asks Randy why he would try to sabotage one of the things Earl is trying to mark off the list. Randy responds he now has his own list and when he gets on television he will make sure Earl is a part of the story because that would be the opposite of what Earl would do.

Earl tells Randy that he is a big part of the list, and that when Nicole films them rebuilding the kid’s playhouse, he will make sure to point out Randy to the world. Earl makes sure Randy gets the spotlight while Nicole is filming the story, and they have everyone gather at the Crab Shack to watch the report.

Unfortunately for Randy, Nicole re-edits the piece to portray him as a mentally-challenged simpleton, who is being taken care of by his loving older brother. An upset Randy runs from the Crab Shack to the television studio to confront Nicole. She tells him all she had done was make him look stupid on TV just like he and Earl had done to her, and that it was karma.

Earl arrives to tell Nicole to air the right piece, but Randy tells him that it’s all right because karma had noticed him. The brothers then cross off No. 28 together.

Grade: B

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name is Earl, April 5 April 6, 2007

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Recap of “Robbed a Stoner Blind”: Years earlier, Randy and Earl met Woody (Christian Slater) when they broke into his apartment to use his air-conditioning on a sweltering summer day. When Randy and Earl realized that Woody was a complete stoner, they decided to rob him blind without him even knowing. That is how Woody became number 26 on Earl’s list.

Earl and Randy tracked Woody down to a hippie commune where he was building a house out of cow dung. Woody had smoked so much marijuana that it had affected his memory. He couldn’t even recall ever meeting Randy or Earl.

In order for Earl to cross him off his list, Woody said they could help around the commune for a week. Though they were reluctant, they both agreed to do their best.

Both were finding it hard to get used to the new, environmentally -riendly lifestyle they were forced to live while at the commune. After collapsing from hunger, Randy bumped his head and was given some herbal remedy for his injury. Randy began to eat some of the potent herbal medication that was meant for his skin. The herb made him begin to see everything in claymation.

Once they left the commune, Earl tried to convince Joy and Darnell of the benefits of green living. Joy thought it was a waste of time to try to save the environment.

Meanwhile, Joy kept snapping at Randy because he couldn’t help staring at her chest because her breasts looked so funny as claymation. Earl set out to make the world a better place, but he noticed everybody else was continuing to live their lives with little or no concern for the environment. He felt as if his efforts to make a positive impact were being offset by the actions of everyone else. He even tried to save a tree and got ridiculed for it.

Earl decided he would make people change their ways, one way or another. While waiting for Earl, Randy, who was still viewing everything in claymation, was enjoying watching Catalina dance around the living room.

Meanwhile, Earl was becoming increasingly frustrated because he felt that with all the good he was doing, the rest of the world was intent on canceling out his efforts. Earl returned to the commune to tell Woody he didn’t think he was doing any good because he couldn’t convince others to follow his example. Woody assured Earl if he helped out with the environment for only five minutes a day, he would feel better about himself. And in the end, that’s what was most important.

Meanwhile, Randy was relieved to be seeing everything normal again.

Grade: B

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name Is Earl March 30, 2007

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“My Name Is Earl” usually airs on NBC Thursday nights at 8 p.m. “Earl” was off last night to make room for an “Office” marathon.

It returns next week — sort of — with a repeat of “Robbed a Stoner Blind” at the special time of 10 p.m. This episode is worth a look because of some killer claymation action, but alas, it is still a repeat. Fans of “Celebrity Deathmatch” need apply.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name Is Earl, March 23 March 23, 2007

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What happened before

In “Van Hickey,” Earl reformed his band and succeeded in crossing two items off his list.

Recap of “The Border”:

Catalina was deported back to Mexico when she was pulled over for speeding and it was discovered she was an illegal immigrant. Earl’s gambling was the reason she was caught. He and Randy decide to take their first plane ride to Mexico to rescue Catalina.

Meanwhile, Joy had been taking pills to relax for court. She was a new and very docile woman. Earl and Randy weren’t able to recognize her with her new attitude. She even loaned Earl her luggage for their big trip. Darnell missed the old Joy, especially when it came to dealing with their annoying neighbors.

Randy and Earl were surprised to learn that they needed passports to go to Mexico. Earl couldn’t keep his eyes open for the picture. Randy cut out the eyes from Santa in a picture on the wall and pasted them over Earl’s eyes.

Finally on the plane, Earl had all types of questions for the flight attendant, and he was annoying other passengers. He ended up getting himself and Randy kicked off the flight, so Earl decided to see a doctor for a sedative to calm his fear of flying.

When Earl’s sedatives wore off while they were still on the plane, he and Randy were forced to leave once again. They had no choice but to take the bus to Mexico to rescue Catalina.

At the bus stop, Earl wanted to get a taco but Randy was too afraid of missing the bus, so he tackled Earl. Earl finally realized how much Randy loved Catalina and got on the bus. Before the bus could drive away, a man with a gun got on board and kidnapped Earl. The bus drove away and Earl was left with two men armed with guns.

Randy took the bus to Catalina’s village. A woman embraced Randy, thinking Randy carried her deceased son’s soul. After talking to the woman, she said she would take Randy to Catalina, so long as they got one night with the man who carried their dead son’s soul. Randy agreed.

Back at the trailer park, Darnell had to confront the new annoying neighbors, since Joy was so laidback. He was unable to make any headway with them.

The people who kidnapped Earl happened to be Catalina’s uncle, Diego, and her little brother. They agreed to help Earl find Catalina if he committed crimes with them. Earl explained he couldn’t commit crimes because of his list. He explained karma to Diego. Diego then said he would try to improve his karma.

While Earl was staying the night with Diego and his crew, Randy was staying the night with the family who had agreed to help him out. Both Randy and Earl realized that they hadn’t spent a night apart in a really long time. Earl met back up with Randy the next morning.

Catalina spotted Earl and as he tried to explain, she hugged him and agreed to marry him. Diego had told Catalina that Earl would marry her for American citizenship. Earl had no idea what Diego had done. Randy was hurt that Catalina was considering Earl as her hero. Earl tried to explain to Randy, but he was very hurt.

Darnell was tired of the neighbors taking advantage of Joy’s kindness. Finally, a stray beer can hit her son on the head. She went to the neighbors and told them to be gone in three days because her “happy pills” would have worn off. The neighbors were shaken by her threats and moved away, finally giving Darnell some peace and quiet.

Earl had to complete three tests in order to marry Catalina. He purposely tried to fail the tests so Randy could be the hero and have to marry Catalina. The plan didn’t work. A new, karma-loving Diego let Earl slide. It wasn’t until after Earl failed all three tests that Randy had a chance to win Catalina’s hand at marriage. Randy passed all the obstacle courses with flying colors and won Catalina’s hand in marriage. He thought about declaring his love for her, but didn’t want to ruin his wedding day. Earl, Randy and Catalina came back to the U.S.

Grade: B

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name Is Earl March 16, 2007

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Earl was off this week to make room for back-to-back “Office” repeats.

— Cort Kirkland

My Name Is Earl, March 8 March 9, 2007

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What happened before (rerun): In “Sticks and Stones” Earl crossee No. 91 off his list by apologizing to a girl he made fun of for having a mustache in school. In so doing, he helped a group of people re-integrate themselves in to the world, and becomes more comfortable with himself in the process.

Recap of “Van Hickey” (yet another rerun): While taking pictures of Joy volunteering at a retirement community — to make her look better in court — Earl runs into Tom Sparks, or No. 50 on the list, “fired lead singer from the band.”

Earl, Randy, and Ralph (Giovanni Ribisi) formed Phish Tahko in order to get hot chicks, and they hired Tom as the lead singer. They had a change of heart because they thought Tom was too old and was scaring away all the hot chicks, so Earl fired him. He decides to get the band back together so Tom can feel like a rock star again.

While at Ralph’s house preparing for the re-launch of the band, Tom brings up Nol. 52 on Earl’s list — “slept with Ralph’s mom.” Ralph becomes enraged and threatens to kill Earl. Fearing for his life, Earl decides to leave town.

When Earl stops to say goodbye to his parents, he finds that Ralph is there to get even with him by sleeping with his mother. To settle the issue and save his neck, Earl agrees to marry Ralph’s mom. Earl is surprised that he kind of enjoys being married and part of a family again. Unfortunately for Earl, Ralph says he will still kill him unless he consummates the relationship. Earl promises that after the Phish Tahko concert he will perform his marital duties.

Earl decides that in order to do the deed, he needs to be drunk, but he drinks too much and passes out. Ralph’s mom then goes home with Tom, and as it turns out, the two become a couple. This makes Ralph happy since his mother is happy, and Earl doesn’t have to worry about Ralph killing him anymore.

Grade: C — I mean, I’ve seen it before.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name Is Earl, March 1 (rerun) March 2, 2007

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What happened before: With Joy pregnant again, Earl looks back on her pregnancies when they were married and realizes his father was responsible for one of the first selfless acts he did before making his list.

Recap of “Sticks and Stones”: While watching Catalina wax a co-worker’s mustache, Earl remembers making fun of a girl in junior high by calling her “Maggie P.I.” So, he tracks her down to apologize, and in the process, knock number 91 off his list.

He finds that Maggie (guest star Judy Greer) has become a successful bearded woman in a carnival. She forgives Earl, but as he is leaving he realizes she lives in a community with the rest of her carnival friends — a “Freak Town.” Earl decides to get to know all of the performers, so they have a barbecue to learn about each other. Earl found they all had talents besides being “freaks.” However, when Earl attempts to take them all for ice cream, they abandon him and run back to the safety of their tiny community.

Meanwhile, Joy and Darnell meet her court-appointed attorney, Ruby (guest star Marlee Matlin). Joy has the best single line of the episode when she says, “Can you please tell her that I’m gonna need another lawyer? It’s nothing personal, it’s just I don’t wanna be represented by somebody whose ears are only good for holding up glasses. Don’t tell her that last part, though.” Ruby suggests that Joy defend herself, and she attempts to learn about being a lawyer. She realizes that she needs Ruby as her lawyer, and returns to apologize. When she talks about loving her children, Ruby agrees to help.

Maggie explains that it’s one thing for people to stare and point at them under a tent at the carnival, but it’s an entirely different situation when they are looked at strangely in public. Earl remembers being embarrassed by an old gym coach who had forced him to take off his shirt to jump into the pool when he was a child. When he did, all of the children laughed at his hairy nipples, and Earl left in shame. He vows to return to the pool if his new friends will come with him.

As the big moment arrives, Earl, alone at the pool, still can’t bring himself to take off his shirt. As he dejectedly begins to leave the high dive, he sees Maggie and the rest of his friends standing at the bottom of the ladder. Earl proceeds to jump into the pool followed by everyone else. As the episode closes, we see that each of the carnival folk has re-joined society doing things they love, including Maggie, who becomes a real estate agent and has her bearded face prominently featured on a billboard to end the show.

Grade: B. It might have been an “A” when it first ran, but it still got me a couple of times, so we’ll only drop it a letter grade.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name is Earl, Feb. 22 February 23, 2007

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Previously on “My Name is Earl”: Earl suffers through a birthday party, with all of the townspeople reminding him of past mistakes instead of focusing on how he has changed his ways. He leaves the party early, but then discovers everyone waiting for him at his room to give him his true gift, which is acknowledging the new Earl by marking off items on his list.

Recap of this week’s episode, “Guess Who’s Coming out of Joy?”: With Joy pregnant again, Earl suddenly realizes the need to finish a lamp project he started in eighth grade. In order to explain, he flashes back to the days when he and Joy were married.

Earl was drunk and Joy was already pregnant when they met and got married. After the baby came, all was well until the baby started crying, and nothing seemed to make him stop.

Tensions between Joy and Earl grew, so they sought out therapy — by watching the Montell Williams Show. Taking the advice from the show, Joy leaves the baby with Earl and has some “me” time at The Crab Shack. After a few margaritas, she begins an affair with Darnell.

However, when Darnell wants more out of his relationship with Joy than just sex, they argue. Upon returning back to Earl with the Top Gun-esque proclamation “Take me to bed or lose me forever,” Joy discovers she is pregnant.

Earl and his parents are excited to be having a true Hickey baby, but when Joy gives birth, the baby clearly belongs to Darnell, not Earl. Earl gets angry and decides to leave Joy and move back in with his mom and dad. Earl’s dad tells him that he can’t keep quitting the things he starts, and that he needs to go back to Joy and the two children, even if they aren’t his. Earl refuses, so his father resorts to drastic measures. In an absolutely hysterical scene — with apologies to PETA — Earl’s father begins tossing gerbils out of the upstairs window as a frantic Earl scrambles to catch each one. Finally, Earl agrees to return to Joy and the kids.

Back in the present, Earl presents a now-finished lamp to his father. Later that evening, Earl’s mom remarks about the beautiful lamp that Earl has made for them. Earl’s dad agrees, and predictably, while turning off the lamp, is electrocuted — in a funny way of course).

Grade: B

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name is Earl, Feb. 15 February 16, 2007

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Previously on “My Name is Earl”: “Blow” episode — Earl convinces Joy to become a surrogate mom for her half-sister, Liberty, to make up for having stolen her identity in the past.

Recap of last night’s episode, titled “The Birthday Party”: In a retrospective episode, Earl wakes up to celebrate his birthday, hoping to finally have a party that celebrates the good things he has done lately instead of all of the bad things he has done in the past.

Randy throws him a party, with the town in attendance, at The Crab Shack, but everyone seems intent on reminding Earl more about the bad things he has done to them. Among them: pranking Randy to amuse his family when they had no television, and the time he got Darnell stoned — literally — by disappointed buyers of pot brownies.

In an attempt to escape the torture, Earl suggests karaoke, but Donnie Jones continues the barrage with a great Pat Benatar cover: “You’re a pot breaker, fern shaker, scar maker — don’t you mess around with me. Ohh yeah you’re a blood taker, face breaker, scab maker. Get that fern away — no, no, no.”

Note for the younger readers: Pat Benatar was a rock goddess from the 1980s.

Now, Earl never intended for Donnie to get hurt, but a couple of things happened. First, Earl was mistaken for a Peeping Tom while looking for things to steal around the trailer park. Second, Joy couldn’t seem to get the Peeping Tom to look at her because, of course, it was Earl himself.

In an effort to make Joy feel better, Earl hired Donnie to be the peeper. Joy is thrilled that the “peeper” is finally stealing a look at her, and her screams awake the other residents. Unfortunately, the women of the trailer park don’t feel the same as Joy and proceed to beat Donnie mercilessly with fists, kicks and a giant potted fern.

After Donnie’s song, Joy approaches Earl at the bar, which leads to a nice vignette of past happenings set to Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” followed by her recommendation to fix No. 86 on the list. No. 86 is having a one-night stand with a one-legged woman named Dedee.

Earl leaves to get some air, but just goes home. On his way home, he happens to meet Dedee and runs to his room because he is not ready to tackle making things right with her just yet. Inside his room, he finds everyone waiting to surprise him with his rightful celebration. They confess that they were only messing with him at the bar, and then each person proceeds to mark off his list one thing each.

Grade: A.

This was the over-the-top, raucous Earl who I have grown used to.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

My Name is Earl, Feb. 8 February 9, 2007

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What happened before

Earl Hickey (Jason Lee) is a ne’er-do-well who realizes karma is against him because of the bad things he has done in his life. Hoping to do good things in order to cause good things to happen to him, he fashions a list of all the people that he has done wrong and sets out to make things right.

In the last episode, Earl invites a foreign exchange student from grade school back to the United States in order to make up for sending him home. Earl’s brother, Randy (Ethan Suplee,) finally declares his love for Catalina (Nadine Velasquez), and she says she loves him, too. However, she only does it to spare Randy’s feelings, and takes the advice of Earl’s ex-wife, Joy (Jaime Pressly), in order to maintain a friendship with him but insure that no other feelings exist. Unfortunately for Catalina, this plan backfires, and she ends up pining for Randy, while he wants to be only friends.

Recap of “Blow”

Joy discovers, while preparing for her court date, that she has a half-sister, Liberty Washington (Tamala Jones). Since kindergarten, Liberty has been Joy’s sworn enemy, and in one confrontation, Earl and Joy steal her identity (No. 101 on Earl’s list: stole Liberty’s identity). Earl discovers Liberty wants to be a professional wrestler, while her husband wants to start a family. Joy decides the best way to avoid jail is to get pregnant.

Earl explains surrogacy to both Liberty and her husband, and Joy and Darnell (Eddie Steeples). After the two women clash, Earl ingratiates himself with the wrestling promoter, but Joy takes the place of the woman who is supposed to fight Liberty. During the wrestling match, Joy realizes Liberty only wanted a father figure, and afterwards they talk. After the match, the promoter offers a job to both Joy and Liberty. Joy declines because she agrees to have a surrogate baby with Liberty.

Karma say what?

“I finally felt like I deserved to cross Liberty off my list. By stealing her credit card I had stolen her identity, but today I gave her a new identity — she was a Black Lady of Wrestling. She was also a loved and caring wife with a really supportive husband. And with the help of an actual doctor who used more than mayonnaise and an egg beater, she became an expectant mother. And while Joy had just set out to try to make herself more sympathetic to a jury, she got another identity, too — a surrogate mom. Even though Joy and Liberty had called each other just about every name in the book, there was one they hadn’t used until now — sisters.”

Grade: C-. This wasn’t the episode to watch if you are a new viewer.

–Stalked by Cort Kirkland