“My Name is Inmate 28301-016”
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t expect to talk about My Name is Earl every week. Comedy is always the hardest thing to analyse for me, and while Earl has serial aspects it’s largely episodic.
This episode is worth mentioning because, if you’ve been watching the show, you may recall that Earl confessed to a crime that he didn’t commit so that Joy wouldn’t be sent to prison for life, and was consequently given a two year sentence himself. It’s interesting to see how a series about a community can possibly work when the man who’s supposed to be giving back to that community is in jail. I’m not sure that Earl in prison can be sustained for an entire series, but it certainly looks like it can last for a little while yet.
What really compelled me to write about this episode was Sonny, who provided the sort of meta laughs that this series thrives on. As soon as I saw him, I thought “that’s the guy from the first episode!”. When I rewatched the first series last year, I thought “man, that guy was never in it again!” and, indeed, Earl said to Sonny “We wondered where you went! For a couple of weeks … then, life goes on.” Nothing, of course, will ever compare to the forum joke, but damn! I love that this series rewards you for paying attention.
The only bum steers that Earl has ever taken are dropping the Randy Marriage Visa plot, and possibly the “Earl’s birthday disaster” episode – and even that was heroically saved by Nescobar A-Lop-Lop. I have great faith that it will continue to rock and that, unlike Randy, it will never be a spider ball.