Sometimes watching My Name is Earl I get the feeling that the writers started with one idea for an episode only to decide that the episode was actually about something else entirely later. I had that feeling tonight, the episode started off being about a dent in the bar at the Crab Shack, but ended up being about Joy and Earl’s marriage.
There is a great old Monty Python sketch where this guy goes to a place to "buy" an argument. Literally, he pays someone to argue with him, only the argument goes badly. The "professional" arguer just automatically negates anything the customer states rather than building a cohesive counter-argument. It went back and forth for a while and was a really funny bit, probably that’s why Randy’s conversation with Earl at the beginning of the show about Randy’s wanting to be on the debate team was done in almost the exact same fashion (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
That wasn’t the thrust of the episode, but it intrigued me so I tell you about it. The actual episode (done mainly as a flashback) was — at least it appeared initially — about how Earl put a dent into the bar at the Crab Shack. The whole thing pretty much showed that rather than fixing the bar, Earl actually should have been apologizing to Joy… or perhaps Randy… or perhaps Joy on behalf of Randy… or Randy on behalf of Joy… or something like that, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
You see, many a year ago, Joy had been greatly looking forward to eating the stolen top layer of a wedding cake on her first anniversary to Earl. Only days before the big one year mark, she was desperate for the luck she thought the cake would bring her and went to eat it, only to discover it was cat poop instead of cake.
Long story short, it was drunk Randy’s fault and, in Joy’s eyes, therefore Earl’s fault. As we know, present day Earl would have attempted to rectify the situation then and there, but bad Earl didn’t so much care that Joy was pissed. Randy, however, did. He threw Joy and Earl a one year anniversary party at the Crab Shack and even pretended to Joy that it was all Earl’s idea.
Randy is a sweet lug, but also a dumb one. Almost everyone at the party (save Randy and Earl’s friends) had come out of Joy’s little black book, and clearly Joy was never too discriminating. Okay, it’s possible she didn’t have much of a choice living in Camden, but still, there were some definite losers on that list and at the party.
And then Earl’s cousin Blake (Jason Priestly) showed. Blake and Earl had problems ever since Blake ended up as a childhood backpack model and Earl hadn’t. It only made their problems worse that Blake hadn’t been invited as one of Earl and Randy’s friends. That’s right, Joy had been with Blake, and as she was still angry at Earl and Blake was her best option at the party, it began looking like she might be with him again.
What could Earl do, he had to set a small fire in a trash can in order to clear out the Crab Shack and end the party. It absolutely would have worked had killer bees not been visiting Camden at the same time. Given the choice between killer bees and a bar that may have been on fire, everyone chose the bar. That meant that everyone could see the great video Randy had made of Joy and Earl’s life at home — which pretty much consisted of Earl treating Joy badly — and Earl only ending up in more hot water. Blake then added insult to injury mocking Earl (he gave the quote of the week which is listed below), which led to a brief fight in which Earl found his head pounded into the bar (hence the dent).
Things were looking pretty grim for Earl, Joy was even contemplating divorcing him, but then it all changed. One of Joy’s crazy one-night stands ended up pulling a gun when a killer bee made its way into the bar. Terrified that Joy was either going to be shot or stung, Earl whipped the old corn dog stick out of his pocket and skewered the bee… apparently proving his love to Joy and bringing the night’s main plot to a close.
Other bits and pieces:
Darnell and Catalina ended up in a phone booth to get away from the bees (Kenny and Patty joined them later) and it was there that Darnell gave Catalina the jump thing for Club Chubby. I always wondered how that came about.
So, Blake had the quote of the week — "Hey cousin, it looks you’re going to need a place to crash for a while. You can stay at my pad, I won’t be there because even though we’re still four months from Christmas, it looks like I’m going to be busy… spreading Joy."
What do you think, could Jason Priestly actually make it as a backpack model?
The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews – we’re more hand models than backpack ones.