Friday, April 4, 2008

My Name is Earl - I Won't Die with a Little Help from my Friends

Back after a strike prolonged hiatus, we finally got the resolution to Earl's fate after being run over by a car--again. It was being hit by a car that started Earl off on his karmic journey in the first place. Remember way back when? When the show was actually funny? Last night's episode had its moments (Paris Hilton not among them. Seriously--her movie tanked, her reality show was this bimbo's fifteen minutes up yet?!!!), but stretching out over an hour doesn't seem to help things.

Speaking of stretched, the sitcom within in sitcom was a neat device--albeit not well executed. A comatose Earl dreams up a Dick Van Dyke styled existence with Billie (Alyssa Milano) as his perfect, perky wife and everyone else as the wacky supporting characters. Ostensibly, this fantasy was a result of Earl's childhood addiction to sitcoms as an escape from the arguing between his shrewish Mom and alcoholic Dad. Say what? We've seen Earl childhood flashbacks before and never saw that side of his parents. And who was that kid playing young Earl? Noah Crawford, who has played young Earl in past episodes, is a ringer for a young Jason Lee. The kid playing young Earl last night--no resemblance whatsoever.

Randy steals an ambulance and tries to get Earl to the hospital, but he doesn't know where the hospital is. Fortunately, in a coincidence that can only happen on sitcoms, he comes across Joy, Darnell and Catalina stranded at the side of the road. While Randy careens down the highway, they attempt to revive Earl. Joy twists his nipples but that doesn't rouse him. Neither does Darnell's attempts to use the defibrillator--although slipping and shocking the sides of Earl's head instead of his chest probably didn't help.

The gurney flies out the back of the ambulance with Joy straddling Earl. Joy jumps off and Earl and gurney get attached to the grill of a semi-truck. At the house of the she-trucker, the gurney is empty leading the gang to wonder if it's possible that Earl managed to regain consciousness and walk away. Joy says about as likely as Earl spontaneously combusting to which Darnell replies, "The government doesn't want you to know people spontaneously combust all the time. That's why you see so many sneakers hanging off powerlines." It turns out the she-trucker has kidnapped Earl and plans to keep him as her secret lover. They manage to rescue Earl and get him away from the psycho she-trucker, but not before she unloads some buckshot in Earl's butt.

At the hospital, the doctor says the prognosis is not good. In addition to being in a coma and having internal injuries due to being hit by a car, Earl has bruised nipples, paddle burns on the sides of his head, bugs in his teeth, buckshot in his ass and what appears to be an involuntary orgasm. Joy tells the doctor that they want a second opinion from a real doctor, a Jewish one. To which the doctor responds, "I'm Indian. We're the new Jews." Darnell dubiously replies, "I thought that was Koreans." The doctor says, "They wish!" I hope they bring the doctor back in future episodes. He was hysterical. And the other doctors hovering over Earl like vultures with coolers waiting to collect his organs was very funny.

All attempts by Randy and company to draw Earl out of his coma fail, so Randy is forced to pray to God for an answer. God tells Randy to go to the Faith Healer kid. Darnell scoffs saying how can Randy believe in a faith healer when he doesn't even believe in weathermen and Randy answers, "Faith Healers magically cure diseases, they don't pretend to predict the future!" So they track down the Faith Healer kid, but he has lost his faith. Seems he crossed paths with Joy and Earl--healing them both--and then later realized they were criminals. Randy is able to convince the Faith Healer that Earl has changed, but he still thinks Joy is evil. So Darnell fabricates a video, inserting Joy into scenes with President Bush and even President Kennedy (Joy wouldn't have been born before Kennedy was assassinated) to convince the Faith Healer that Joy isn't evil.

The Faith Healer is convinced and goes to the hospital to cure Earl. His father tries to stop him, but the Faith Healer touches Earl with his magic finger and--nothing happens. Turns out the faith healing was a scam concocted by his father and Earl even played a part in pretending to be healed. The Faith Healer kid is relieved that he doesn't have powers and can go back to being a normal kid. But Earl is fading quickly. Randy starts to say good-bye to Earl and crosses the Faith Healer kid off Earl's list--which brings Earl back to life.

Next week Earl is back with a regular half-hour episode--along with new episodes of 30 Rock, The Office and Scrubs. Let's hope they bring back Noah Crawford and the very funny Indian doctor sometime in the future as well. And please God--no more Paris Hilton!

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