There is a saying, at least I think there is, that goes something along the lines of "charity begins at home." I’ve never quite been able to figure out what it means (I’m not much of a do-gooder), but I’m pretty convinced that whatever it might mean it certainly isn’t anything along the lines of the scam Joy was working tonight on My Name is Earl.
Many years ago (but not too many), Earl and Joy had this "brilliant" idea for a scam. It had them stand out on a corner in Camden and hand out fliers that talked about all the problems children in Africa have. It was filled with important facts like "9 out of 10 African children die every minute." Most people saw the come-on for what it was, but one poor soul actually bought it and sent Joy and Earl a check for 100 bucks. That would be the list item that Earl was correcting tonight.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this whole tale, and the first of many things I didn’t understand tonight, was the fact that Earl was able to find this guy. Think about it, Earl and Joy got a check from someone years ago, one check, and knowing those two, they must have cashed it instantaneously, I might have even thought without reading the name of the sender, but Earl still knew the guy’s name to this day. Perhaps a little tough to believe, but certainly impressive.
Earl sat down with the guy, Mr. Hill, and explained what he and Joy had done. Hill actually took it all surprisingly well, particularly when you consider the fact that he had been sending a check every month since (Earl had no idea that was taking place). Joy, when she found out what Earl had done, didn’t take it nearly as well as Hill. I have no idea how Darnell puts up with her, even Joy’s excuse for why she was continuing the scam was ludicrous. She told Earl that if she’d only fooled Mr. Hill once it would have been shame on her, but because she did it multiple times it was shame on him. I’m sure the saying isn’t meant to excuse scams, I’m just sure of it.
Now, Joy had actually gone beyond simply getting a check herself every month, she had told other people in the trailer park about the scam and two women had started their own versions of it. One charity purported to be for hurricane victims and another for families which had lost their homes in wildfires. Hill, the poor fool, was sending all these people money on a monthly basis.
To end the scamming, Earl cooked up a ridiculously intricate scam of his own which began with Hill being sent on a vacation (Hill thought he’d won a prize). Earl then got a fake obituary printed which indicated that the charities were to be given all of Hill’s money. Next, Earl got a con man with a grudge against Joy to pretend to be Hill’s lawyer and to write checks to the charities. The "lawyer" got five thousand dollars from Joy and company and to sleep with one of the women as a part of Earl’s scheme.
What happened next absolutely thrilled me, Joy and the other two women from the trailer park all had disasters befall them. The five grand they’d paid the fake lawyer came from a loan shark who ended up taking stuff from the "charities," which in turn led to the wildfire charity ending up with a burned trailer, the hurricane charity with a flooded out one, and Joy without any appliances at all. I thought that was just about perfect. That’s the whole idea of karma — at least as the show understands it — right?
If I was writing the episode, that’s exactly where I would have ended things. But, I guess that’s not the Christmas spirit. Consequently, Hill, who Earl had taken to the trailer park so that he could taunt those who had cheated him (Earl and Hill didn’t know about the added misfortunes), ended up giving money to the women all over again. He went into it fully aware this time, but I’m still saying it wasn’t a very smart move. It had a karmic pay off when the recipients of his kindness in turn did nice things for other people, but that doesn’t make me accept it any more.
Call me a grinch, call me a scrooge, but the women running the charity scams only caused their own misery, they should have been left to deal with it on their own too.
Odds and ends:
- A minor plot tonight had Randy writing a book about what things taste like. He briefly went around tasting things including Darnell’s hair, and that’s where our quote of the night can be found: "Hair — tastes like marijuana."
- Okay, tell me true, am I being too harsh, do you think Hill should have helped out the folks at the trailer park or, upon seeing their misery, should he have just turned around and left? I’m not saying he should have left with a smile, just that he should have left.
The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews – we wish a Merry Christmas to most.