Vanity, Thy Name Is Earl?

20 Sep

I hope you’ve seen some of the ads or the great reviews for My Name Is Earl. The show debuts tonight on NBC at 9pm. I saw the pilot episode a month and a half ago because I was lucky enough to interview Jason Lee for one of the magazines I work on, and it’s really funny.

I mean, just look at the guy! As Jason has said in multiple interviews, he looks like a porn star from the ’80s. Based on appearances alone, this is the funniest show on TV this season.

But there’s more to it than a sweet ‘stache. Basically, here’s the premise: Jason Lee plays Earl, a dim-witted low-life thief who wins the lottery one day, and when he runs into the street to celebrate — SLAM! he’s hit by a car. Of course, he loses the ticket.

While he’s laid up in the hospital, Earl hears Carson Daly (of all people) explain the concept of karma and he realizes, maybe if I was nicer to people, good things will happen to me, too. So … Earl sets out to correct all the things he’s done wrong over the course of his life. Hilarity ensues.

Here’s a sneak peek at what Jason told me about Earl’s attempts to be a better man:

“It takes him a while. He’s an ignorant guy. He’s got a big heart. He’s naïve. So it’s going to take him a while. He certainly doesn’t become an overnight Buddhist Monk or anything. He’s still going to make mistakes, he’s still going to have his struggles, but he’s really all about correcting the bad things that he’s done. So we’ve got this journey to follow with this small town common man and the situations he gets himself into.”

You know Jason Lee. You’ve seen him in Chasing Amy and Almost Famous, and you’ve heard him in The Incredibles. You know he’s funny. Sure, he’s no Matthew Perry or Jennifer Aniston. And that’s partly why this show is so great: Jason Lee and Earl are so different from anything else on the air that you can’t help but like the show. As the New York Times says today, the show would be more at home on HBO — or paired with Arrested Development on FOX.

Here’s a quote from the Boston Globe review:

The NBC sitcom is so unpretentious and original, it will probably win you over on its own sweet merits. Like its hero, Jason Lee’s Earl, it is askew, funny, scruffy, and unexpectedly touching.

Here’s a quote from the USA Today three-and-a-half star review:

In a season stuffed with “aspirational” reality remakes of Queen for a Day, Earl is a bright comic twist on TV’s makeover madness, a man determined to reshape his life and the lives of everyone he has robbed, conned or conked along the way.

Anyway, I could link you to and quote from any number of other reviews. Suffice it to say, I’m a big fan of the show — and not just because Jason gave me a good interview (which you will be able to read in full in November).

Earl is up against some tough competition (the Dancing with the Stars dance-off is tonight, next week The Amazing Race returns, etc.), but do yourself a favor and at least TiVo the show and watch later.

It’s worth it.

One Response to “Vanity, Thy Name Is Earl?”

  1. the deal September 21, 2005 at 6:21 am #

    hey, it was a cool show.

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