My Name Is Earl concludes its second season with the long awaited trial of Earl Hickey's ex-wife, Joy, played by Jaime Pressly, along with a surprisingly unexpected twist to hold viewers over to the next season. Along the way to the cliffhanger ending, Earl still finds time to check in on several past characters and even manages to squeeze in one last adorable little fling before his list manages to bite him one last time.
It's been nearly two years since Earl set off on his quest to undo all the wrong doings in his life, creating a list to help him on his way to karmic redemption. Recently, however, he realized that he himself was one of the victims of his past vices as he neglected to give himself a chance at an adult life. So, Earl got his G.E.D. and even managed to secure a respectable job and an actual apartment for him and his brother, Randy. As his life blossomed, however, his ex-wife Joy's spun out of control. Arrested for stealing a van, Joy now faces life in prison with this being her third felony. So, Earl naturally does what he does week after week and uses everything in power to help Joy win her trial while Randy struggles to help their friend Crabman who is overwhelmed with parental duties while his wife is locked up.
As Earl struggles to find helpful character witnesses for Joy's trial, he comes to the realization that the only thing missing in his life is a woman he can love. After an unsuccessful attempt to reunite with one-time lover Alex Meyers, Earl finds unlikely companionship in Joy's deaf lawyer, Ruby, played by Marlee Matlin. After a night of passion, Ruby peruses Earl's list and unfortunately discovers that she was actually a victim of Earl's past antics, as he and Randy had robbed her years ago, believing it would be easy to rob a deaf woman. Angered, she throws Earl out, but still represents Joy in the trial.
Through his natural charm, Earl manages to convince the jury of Joy's finer characteristics but when the prosecution uses Earl's own 9-1-1 phone calls of him reporting his wife during their various fights from when they were married, the jury begins to swing against Joy once again and Earl decides that there is only one thing left that he can do. Since Earl doesn't already have three strikes against him and since Joy has a family to care for, he falsely admits to the crime Joy is accused of and is sentenced to two year in a State penitentiary.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out next season. Will Earl find a way out of prison to continue his quest or will this just be a new hurdle for him in his karmic journey? Either way, Earl did need a change and, though seeing him get his life together was refreshing, a show about Earl without his list is nothing more than a show about a quasi-redneck in boring job. With Giovanni Ribisi as his cell mate, next season might be able to give Earl the revamp it needs while still staying true to its original intent.
-George Freitag, Buddy TV Staff Columnist
(Photo courtesy of NBC)
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