WeekENDER Showdown Part 2

By Jessica King

In “My Name is Earl,” a lovable lowlife played by Jason Lee (formerly seen in Kevin Smith movies) experiences an epiphany after learning about karma from Buddha-incarnate Carson Daly and tries to rectify a long list of wrongs in his life.

The loopy sitcom totally rips off the old Nickelodeon show, “100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd,” in which a lovable bully gets turned into a dog until he can do 100 good deeds. Only in the case of “My Name is Earl,” the title character is already a dog, so to speak. He’ll steal your stuff and then smile mischievously.

No bum would be complete without a cheatin’, buxom ex-wife and a bone-headed, blubbery brother, and Earl has both, who are played by Jaime Pressly and Ethan Suplee, respectively.

The show is less than erudite but it’s not half bad. And at least the show’s writers remembered that in a situation comedy, the situation should provide the comedy.

In the first episode, Earl boosts the confidence of a now-grown twerp he tormented in his younger loser days. In the second, he tries to give a few years back to a bitter old woman by tying her to a chair to make her quit smoking.

The show’s redneck ribbing gets a tad old, but it’s hard not to like Lee’s twinkling eyes and scruffy hair. If future episodes can keep Lee and crew involved in hilarious events, the series will succeed. And as much as I love “Frasier,” even I know not everyone loves jokes about opera singers and psychology. Sometimes, a few beers and booty jokes are all that are required.