Friday, November 30, 2007

My Name is Earl - The Prison Prom

With six months and 10 days left on Earl's sentence (once you subtract all the certificates he's earned for time off), the warden offers him a great deal--six months off if he can coordinate his new "Superduper super program"--a plan to have criminals apologize and reconcile with their victims. Earl takes on the task of choosing the appropriate inmate for the program--but everyone seems to be in jail for aggravated assault. "Isn't everyone who commits assault kinda aggravated?" he asks Randy.

Finally he comes across John, serving time for burning down his parents' house. John seems mild-mannered enough--he spends his days painting portraits in his cell. When Earl tells him there will be an apology and everyone will feel better, John says he'll do it. Next there's the matter of getting his parents to agree to the plan. Joy and Darnell visit them on Earl's behalf. They are reluctant to meet with their estranged son until Darnell tells them a touching story about a falling out he had with Mr. Turtle.

The Reconciliation goes badly as both parties are expecting an apology. John storms out and the warden (Craig T. Nelson is great. So funny to see the curmudgeonly Coach playing such a pathetic weenie...) looks like a fool in front of the reporter. Earl goes after John--who is painting a portrait of his parents as monkey's asses--and tells him "I don't need you to BE sorry, I just need you to SAY you're sorry!" He offers John anything he wants to go back and reconcile with his parents, because this is his ticket out of prison. John says he wants a prom because his parents never let him go to his when he was in high school. Earl gets the warden to agree to it, Joy to help plan it--and "dates" imported in from the women's prison.

Joy and John's ideas for the prom are expensive and so Earl is forced to spend the money he has left from his lottery winnings--$24k--to finance the "Under the Sea" theme complete with chocolate spouting from whale fountains. He agrees because he sees the prom as his get out of jail card--albeit it's not exactly "free." Joy is overjoyed to be a part of it saying, "I can't believe it--I made a prom in prison happen! I bet this is what it feels like to be Oprah." The prom goes well and Earl is crowned prom king--but he gives the crown to John instead.

Newly crowned John meets with his parents again--but this time his head is so swelled from being crowned king, that he lashes out at them immediately and storms off again. He tells Earl that it's not his fault, his parents made him this way. Earl is so angry that he spent all his money and John can't even apologize to his parents that he sets all John's stuff--paintings and everything--on fire. He tells John that it's not his fault, it's John's because he treated him crappy and now he does crappy things to other people. John eventually realizes that he has to take the blame for burning down his parents' house just like he blames Earl for burning all his stuff. And so to show his remorse, he paints pictures of all the family portraits that were lost in the fire.

And so the warden gets his reconciliation and Earl gets his "six month off" certificate. The warden tells Earl he doesn't know what he'd do without him--Earl's like the "Scumbag whisperer." Earl tells the warden that he guess he'll find out tomorrow because, with this last certificate, Earl's out of jail. Earl leaves the office and the warden, realizing what has just happened, starts shredding Earl's certificates.

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