My Name Is Earl-Season 1 (2005)

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Released 27-Nov-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Pilot , Teacher Earl
Audio Commentary-Joy's Wedding, O Karma There Art Thou, Dad's Car,Number 1
Additional Footage-13 Minute Optional Short With Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes-Blooper Reel "Karma Is A Funny Thing"
Outtakes-Blooper Reel "Karma Is A Funny Thing"
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Making Things Right
Web Links
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 505:34 (Case: 624)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Victor Nelli Jr.
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Zack Friedman
Gregory Thomas Garcia
Jason Lee
Ethan Suplee
Nadine Velazquez
Jaime Pressly
Eddie Steeples
Trey Carlisle
Case ?
RPI $54.95 Music Mark Leggett
Danny Lux
Dillon O'Brian


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
English
Finnish
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes, although it is actively frowned upon
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    "You know that guy you see, when you stop off at the convenience store in that little town on the way to Grandma's house? Sort of shifty looking fella who buys a packet of smokes, a couple'a lotto tickets and a 'Tall Boy' at 10 AM in the morning? The kind of guy you wait to come out before you and your family go in? Well... that's me. My name is Earl. And if you took the time to really get to know me, find out what kind of person I really am instead of just stereotyping me, because of the way I look... well, you'd be wasting your time. 'Cause I'm exactly who you think I am. Hell, I'll pretty much steal anything that's not nailed down." - Earl Hickey

    Not long after making the above statement, Earl Hickey (Jason Lee) wins $100,000 on a scratchie only to be hit by a passing car as he celebrates, losing the ticket in the process. As he lays in the hospital bed his trailer-trash wife Joy (Jaime Pressly) divorces him, leaving him for the bus-boy at their local pub. Shortly after, and possibly with some help from the large quantities of morphine the hospital has him on at the time, Earl has an epiphany - with a little help from Carson Daly on TV. That epiphany is karma. What goes around comes around. Realising that all the bad things he has done in his life have given him bad karma, Earl writes a list of everything he's ever done wrong and sets out to make up for them... with hilarious results.

    He is accompanied in his quest by his half-wit, but well-meaning, brother Randy (Ethan Suplee) and Catalina (Nadine Velazquez), the maid at the hotel where they live. Holding up this quest at every turn is Earl's still-evil ex-wife and her amiable new fella Darnell "Crab Man" Turner (Eddie Steeples) as well as an assortment of guest stars that make up the people on Earl's list.

    My Name is Earl is, hands-down, the funniest sitcom to hit TV screens in the past decade. The humour is a great mix of the crude and the intelligent. The show does a great job of upholding the 'laws of karma' throughout and to this end has a lot of similarities to the style of The Farrelly Brothers (though the style of humour is a little different). There are plenty of laughs at the expense of every one of the diverse range of characters, but the last laugh is always on the character that deserves it karmicly.

    Many would-be fans were disappointed when this first season of My Name is Earl was shown out of order and incomplete on Australian TV. This was unfortunate as, whilst each episode is a fully self contained story, many ongoing jokes are built up throughout the series and often characters were introduced some time after appearing in small spots in previously shown episodes. The great news is that this season presents all the episodes in their intended order.

    Spread across four discs, the episodes in this season are:

1. Pilot

    After coming to his karmic epiphany in a hospital bed, Earl begins making up for his past misdeeds with number 64 - Kenny James (Gregg Binkley), the kid he used to pick on in his youth.

2. Quit Smoking

    Earl makes amends to Donny (Prison Break's wild eyed Silas Weir Mitchell), who he had accidentally framed for robbery years earlier. Though Donny himself is easy to cross off the list, Earl finds that it's a lot harder to give Donny's mother (the Desperate Housewives' meddling old neighbour Kathryn Joosten) back the years with Donny that Earl stole from her.

3. Randy's Touchdown

    Earl makes up for the touchdown he "stole" from Randy when he fixed a high school football game.

4. Faked His Own Death

    Earl comes clean to an ex-girlfriend about faking his own death rather than breaking up with her. Unfortunately this gives her current boyfriend (Dax Shepard) the same idea...

5. Teacher Earl

    Earl teaches English to immigrants at the local community college to cross "Made fun of people with accents" off his list. Meanwhile, Earl's old friend Ralph (Giovanni Ribisi) gets out of prison and goes to great lengths to steal Earl's lottery winnings.

6. Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine

    In an attempt to replace a fancy figurine that he broke, Earl lends a hand to help Joy's knife-throwing former adversary (Missi Pyle) and her daughter win a mother/daughter beauty pageant . Alas, the plan goes awry when Joy enters the pageant also with her "dead" mother.

7. Stole Beer From A Golfer

    Earl makes good to a golfer who he had tricked into buying him beer by "faking holes-in-ones" and whose life had been ruined after he decided to turn pro based on the faked scores. Meanwhile the fair is in town and Earl and Randy need to get this redemption quest out of the way before they can go!

8. Joy's Wedding

    Crab-man decides to make a slightly more honest woman of Joy by marrying her, but Earl accidentally ruins the ceremony (adding another thing to his list in the process). Things get out of hand when he tries to make good by planning the perfect wedding for Joy.

9. Cost Dad the Election

    Earl attempts to make amends with his average middle-class parents, starting by making up for the time he cost his dad (Beau Bridges) the local mayoral election.

10. White Lie Christmas

    Number 74, "always ruined Joy's Christmas". Earl, Randy, and Catalina enter a radio contest to win a brand new car for Joy to make up for all of the thoughtless Christmas presents Earl gave her while they were married. After an early disqualification, Earl finds out that Joy hasn't told her bigot white trash parents (Brett Butler and Blake Clark) she has left Earl and married a black man.

11. Barn Burner

    When trying to enrol her children into the "Right Choice Ranch for Troubled Youth" summer camp, Joy is denied enrolment because of a barn burning incident at the hands of a younger Earl. Earl, Randy and Catalina travel to the camp to make amends for the barn burning by building a pen for the camp’s ostrich and try to get Earl's ex-step-kids into the camp.

12. O Karma, Where Art Thou?

    After discovering he had cost two newlyweds their honeymoon by stealing a wallet years earlier, Earl fills in for one in his job at a local fast food restaurant. There he encounters the evil and selfish boss Pat Patrick (Jon Favreau) whose life defies the laws of karma... initially!

13. Stole P'S Hd Cart

    Earl returns Pop's Hotdog Cart, that he and Ralph (Giovanni Ribisi) had stolen some years earlier when bribed by a competing vendor. Alas, that vendor still doesn't want the competition and hires Ralph to get rid of it again.

14. Monkeys In Space

    When one of his old friends (Carnivale's Tim DeKay) is arrested, Earl decides he must give him one great day before he goes to prison to make up for ruining his birthday years earlier.

15. Something To Live For

    Earl takes his car troubles as a sign that it is time for him to redeem himself for a long run of stealing gas out of a complete stranger's (Adam Goldberg) car. Alas, his gas stealing may just have been the only thing saving that stranger's life.

16. The Professor

    Romance is in the air when Earl returns a laptop (aka Porn Machine) to a professor (Christine Taylor) he had stolen it from years earlier.

17. Didn't Pay Taxes

    Paying unclaimed back taxes turns out to be a lot more difficult than Earl bargained for, so Earl attempts to knock up a sum of public fines to the value he owes.

18. Dad's Car

    Earl attempts to make up for never giving his Mother (Nancy Lenehan) a Mother's Day present. She asks Earl to do something nice for his Dad (Beau Bridges) as that present, so Earl and Randy attempt to win back a vintage sportscar of their father's that they lost in a drag race as kids to two other lifelong lowlife trailer trash brothers (Deadwood's Timothy Olyphant and Joey's Ben Falcone).

19. Y2K

    While completing number 24, "Stole a red 'Take-a-number' machine", Earl and Randy reminisce about the Y2K New Years Eve they spent living in the department store the machine was taken from, thinking that the world had descended into a post apocalyptic wasteland.

20. Boogeyman

    Earl makes good to a kid (Lost's Malcolm David Kelley ) he accidentally made scared of the Boogeyman while robbing his house.

21. The Bounty Hunter

    Earl's ex-girlfriend Jessie (Juliette Lewis) returns to town as a bounty hunter and has her sights set on Joy. Jessie is the subject of number 45 on Earl's list, "Ditched Jessie to Marry Joy", which Earl attempts to make amends for.

22. Stole a Badge

    Creepy Rodney (Clint Howard) makes Earl's attempt at completing number 127, "Stole a Badge from a Police Officer" a lot harder than it should be. The officer's (Mike O'Malley) gaggle of sisters, who are also police officers, don't help much either.

23. BB

    Earl attempts to reunite a girl he shot with a BB gun as a child with her estranged alcoholic father so he can cross "Shot Gwen Waters with a BB Gun" off his list.

24. Number One

    When he tries to cross number one, "Stole ten dollars from a guy at the Camden Market", off his list, Earl finds he owes the guy much more - in fact, more than every penny he has.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is sharp and clear. There are no film artefacts visible at any point. The shadow detail in dark scenes is generally good, but a few of the darker scenes do display mildly noticeable film grain.

    The series employs a fairly basic colour scheme, giving a slightly cartoonish feel. Skin tones are occasionally on the pink side, but do not look unnatural.

    There are no MPEG compression artefacts noticeable throughout the episodes.

    Each disc is RSDL, but the layer breaks are in-between episodes and not noticeable even when all the episodes on a disc are played together.

    The English subtitles for the hearing impaired are reasonably accurate, although not to the exact spoken word, but are quite blocky.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Each episode features one English language Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) soundtrack.

    The dialogue is clear throughout the series and in good sync. Dialogue sits at a good level in the mix and is never overpowered by music or effects.

    The use of the surround channels is fairly basic, only really music and a few environmental effect, but it is quite adequate for a comedy series. The same goes for the LFE track and subwoofer - there is not much there but certainly enough given the context of the material.

    The theme tune to My Name is Earl is destined to be heard at pub quizzes for decades to come. It's distinct, memorable and a little zany, which fits the show to a tee.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Two of the dreaded forced anti-piracy ads precede the menus on each disc! Following that heinous startup, we get a fairly amusing menu animation of a scratchie with some of the funnier clips from the show.

Audio Commentary

    Audio commentaries are available on the episodes Pilot, Teacher Earl, Joy's Wedding, Oh Karma, Where Art Thou, Dad's Car, Number One and Bad Karma (a bonus mini-episode) featuring a variety of cast members and guest stars including creator Greg Garcia, producer/director Marc Buckland and actors Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jon Favreau, Giovanni Ribisi, and Eddie Steeples. The commentary for the mother's day episode, Dad's Car, even features a surprisingly entertaining commentary from the mothers of creator Greg Garcia, producer/director Marc Buckland and actors Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee!

Bad Karma (13:08)

    A hilarious alternative take on the first episode... What if Earl had flicked one more channel on TV while in hospital and, instead of discovering Karma from Carson Daley, discovered revenge from Stewie Griffin in The Family Guy.

    This episode also features a funny introduction from a moustache-less Jason Lee (who actually wears a fairly dodgy fake moustache throughout the episode).

Deleted Scenes (8:58)

    A series of deleted scenes that cannot be played separately. Lots of good gags here, most of which were cut for timing reasons rather than not being funny!

Outtakes (19:10)

    I generally loathe blooper reels. This reel almost has me converted. It seems that funny people make for a lot of funny bloopers. Some even verge on the brink of stand-up comedy!

Featurette-Behind The Scenes (36:49)

    A rather thorough behind the scenes featurette on the development and production of the series. It also features a variety of cast and crew interviews and the shaving of Jason Lee's now famous moustache at the end of filming

Web Links

    A weblink to www.foxmovies.com.au.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 edition has all the extra features of the Region 4 edition as well as additional trailers for the show's soundtrack and a website that sells mobile phone ringtones. This one is a draw.

Summary

    My Name is Earl is, hands-down, the funniest sitcom to hit TV screens in the past decade. I would personally argue even further than that.

    The extras package is very good.

    The video and audio quality is excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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