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"Earl" Lives Up to Buzz

earl2.jpgI watched "My Name is Earl" last week. I wasn't alone. MediaWeek reported that the show came in with just under 15 million viewers. Like Earl, NBC has hit the jackpot.

The network should be tap-dancing and buying the stars fancy cars too, because this comedy actually has a lot of promise, which says a lot for their flailing lineup. It's original and makes you both laugh and think -- however, that's not exactly a positive TV trend these days. It has the same anti-sitcom spirit as shows like "Arrested Development" and "The Office" -- both of which seem to be hanging by a thread.

Earl is played perfectly by Jason Lee. For years, movie studios haven't quite figured out what to do with him. Director Kevin Smith seems to be the only smart one. Thankfully, a few TV people have wised up too.

Despite his killer facial hair, Earl is a bully and complete loser, until an epiphany from the almighty Carson Daly puts his life on the right track. Creating his own 250-step program, Earl sets out to make amends.

The show is a bit racy, with no race or gender off limits. Crack open a Schlitz and relax people. It's a TV show.

The supporting cast fills in the show nicely, with Ethan Suplee as Earl's dim-witted, beer-challenged friend, Randy and Jaime Pressly as his gold-digging, cheating, white trashy wifey. The great writing is supplied by creator Greg Garcia, who used to work on "Yes, Dear." I was surprised too, but there are a lot of little surprises -- and who cares? The whole thing just works. And with 250 wrongs that need righting, there's a lot of fodder to squeeze out a few seasons at least.

Who knows -- maybe in a world of "Family Guy" and "South Park" fans, people are waiting for a human champion like "Earl." After one week, many are already hailing him as the sitcom savior. I just hope people realize the originality and stay tuned. But if I were NBC, I wouldn't put all of my eggs is Earl's basket. Remember: Karma is a bitch.

"My Name is Earl" airs Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. (EST) on NBC. -- Rachel Cericola

Posted by Rachel Cericola on September 27, 2005 6:09 PM
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