Review: My Name is Earl 2.1

My Name is Earl

In the US: Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC

In the UK: Repeats of the first season begin on Channel 4, 6th October. Second season planned for the “near future”

Characters re-cast: 0

Major characters gotten rid of: 0-2 (we’ll see in the next episode)

Major new characters: 0

Format change percentage: 50%

Bad deeds performed: Many

My Name is Earl is nice, isn’t it? A regular joe decides to make up for all the bad things he’s done and in return, good things happen to him, thanks to karma. Now Earl is back, he still has his list of bad deeds to tick off, but times they are a-changing.

For one thing, we’ve been promised there’s going to be less list-ticking this season: more of the episodes are going to be about Earl and the rest of the cast. You can already sees signs of this in the first episode, which ostensibly is about the fact that Earl never took his wife Joy’s side in arguments when they were married. However, before long, Earl is instead trying to help her dispose of some stolen property.

All the regulars appear except for motel maid Catalina, who appears to be MIA for now, although it’s really only Earl and Joy who get the limelight this episode. Randy, Earl’s brother, does get to appear for some choice moments and provides most of the big laughs as always, with Joy providing the more subtle humour.

The ending of the episode is unexpected and looks like it’s likely to change the format of the show somewhat, unless a secret magic reset button can be found. So fans of last season will need to brace themselves a little bit at least. Those of you who have never seen the show before, rest assured you’ll be able to watch this first episode without feeling too out of it. You probably shouldn’t expect many belly laughs, but My Name is Earl is reasonably funny and nice, so should be worth a trial run at least.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.