21 September 2005 | ClassicAndCampFilmReviews
Great new show! If you like the Coen brothers films, you might love this
I saw the first episode of "My Name Is Earl" last night, (9 p.m. on NBC) and I just had to plug it. I thought it was brilliant - wonderfully cast, written, and directed. I hope the show is a hit and keeps it up.
If the Coen brothers wrote and directed a TV sitcom, it could be very much like this show.
The premise is simple: Earl (the very likable Jason Lee, often seen in Kevin Smith films, and whose on screen demeanor sometimes reminds me of Chevy Chase in his youthful prime) is Earl, a small-time raggedy thief who snags a $100,000 winning lottery ticket. Seconds later he's mowed down by a car, and the ticket floats away in the breeze. While recovering in the hospital, doped up on morphine, he watches a TV show with MTV host Carson Daly talking about doing good deeds so that good things will happen to you...and he comes up with the the idea of repairing his mess of a life by making a list of all the people he's harmed in the past, tracking them down one by one, and making amends however he can.
When Earl briefly thinks of backing out on his plan, the ticket miraculously floats back seemingly out of nowhere..inspiring him to keep up the good work. Karma is a funny thing, as the tagline says.
The inimitable evil vixen Jaime Pressley (as his trashy ex-wife Joy) is part of a great supporting cast, and the superior writing and directing of the show gives it a comedic, quirky quality that reminded my husband and myself of Coen brothers' films such as "Raising Arizona". I hope the show can keep the quality up as the season progresses. The bar's been set pretty high with this first episode.
Anyway, "My Name Is Earl" is on NBC on Tuesdays at 9:00. Give it a whirl, and let's keep this one on the air, as long as the creators can maintain the quality of its premiere. As long as it keeps its sharp wit and avoids sinking into maudlin sentimentality, it should stay a winner.