My Name is Earl: Season One

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Earl J. Hickey (Jason Lee) has just won one-hundred thousand dollars on an instant lottery ticket, but his excitement is squashed when he is hit by a car. As he lies in the street and watches his fortune taken by the wind, he has no idea his life is about to change forever. When he hears Carson Daly talk about karma on television, Earl realizes his bad luck in life is no coincidence. He remembers all the bad things he’s done and that’s a lot, then decides its time to get his karma back in line. He makes a list of all the bad things he’s done and one by one, he plans to make things right. He has been a litterbug, so he grabs a trash can and starts picking up debris in the parking lot of his motel. This is when good karma first finds him and when his lotto ticket blows back into his hands, he knows he has made the right decision. Now even though his wife left him and neither of his children were from his own seed, Earl is determined to be a good person. He takes a good look at his list, which is filled with actions he now regrets to no end, then starts on his mission. As he crosses off each incident and makes right the wrongs of his past, will Earl’s life be better for his efforts?

As frequent readers should know, I am not a fan of sitcoms and as such, I had some doubts about My Name is Earl, despite some positive word of mouth. After all, Everybody Loves Raymond was beloved, but I’d rather shoot myself than endure an episode. But with Jason Lee in the lead and a promise of white trash culture, this show seemed to have some potential. I’ve now viewed this complete season and part of the second season and I can proudly proclaim, My Name is Earl is not a sitcom. To me, sitcoms recycle situations and then tailor them to the characters of the show, the same stuff, with different people involved. My Name is Earl looks like a sitcom, but is unique in that storylines are fresh and rarely recycled, each episode is a self contained adventure, while each one also adds to the larger picture. The premise is a good one and the execution is even better, thanks to sharp writing and good performances. The show might not appeal to fans of standard sitcoms, since this one doesn’t run on the rails, but anyone who loves hilarious comedies should be satisfied. My Name is Earl is a cut above the usual television comedies we see these days, with a fresh presence and consistently good episodes. As such, I am able to give this release a high recommendation.

Video: How does it look?

The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. This is a newer show and as expected, Fox has delivered a top notch visual presentation. The episodes look crystal clear and quite stunning at times, so this is some impressive work. I’ve caught some reruns after I started this set and without question, the episodes in this collection put the televised versions to shame. The prints have no debris or grain to mention, which allows for a very crisp, razor sharp visual presence, so fans will be quite pleased. The show’s bright colors stand out and look terrific here, with no evidence of smears or other problems. The contrast balance is smooth and well executed also, which means black levels look excellent and no detail loss is to be seen. Not much else I can say in this section, as these episodes just look terrific.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a dialogue driven comedy, so the audio has no real duties outside of the show’s main element, vocals. So the theme music sounds good and the basic sound effects come through, but the sole spotlight here shines down on the vocals. From Joy’s outlandish tantrums to Earl’s sage wisdom, all the vocal work is in excellent form here. The whispers even sound clear as a bell in this release, so you won’t miss a single one-liner. This release also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

A total of eight episodes offer audio comments from various cast and crew members, which are more than decent, but a tad repetitive. But it is cool to hear from Lee and other cast members, so if you’re a big fan of the show, give the tracks a listen. A very cool inclusion is Bad Karma, an alternate reality version of the show, which proves to be simply brilliant. This is a shining example of how great a supplement can be, so kudos to Fox for putting this out there. This release also includes some deleted scenes, a look behind the scenes, and of course, a blooper reel.

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