I really enjoyed this episode. Earl crosses off a couple of items, Randy (gotta love that sweet-but-meaty man-child) gets some quality time, and we get to see Joy's sweet side. And I'm not talking about watching her walk away. The ep gets an A-. Why an A- and not an A? No friggin' Catalina! Let's get to recappin'!
At the Crabshack, Earl's trying to cross off # 83 - Never Took The Time To Teach Randy How To Blow A Bubble with limited success. If you're going by the number of gum wrappers or the the number of gum wads in Darnell's bucket Randy's doing boffo. If you're going by the size and number of successful bubblegum blowing attempts, not so much.
Joy enters the bar, dragging Dodge by his ear. The little whelp has had the gall to be attracted to, and even hold hands with, Tiffany, a girl he's not related to. (Note to my editor - yes, I know that's a dangling participle, and no, I'm not going to fix it.) She makes him stand facing the claw machine. That's sure to get those troublesome ideas out of his head. Joy's mad at Tiffany's mom Eugenia because Eugenia steals the Turners' Valu-Pak mass mailing coupons (read: junk mail). Randy has very limited sympathy for the young lad. He remembers all too well the sadness that comes to a young boy from giving one's heart to a pre-adolescent siren with soft long hair and deep soulful eyes. Ten year old bitches, says Randy with a disdainful sneer.
Flashback to those golden days of adolescence and innocence. Young Earl and Young Randy are spending the summer with their Aunt Gail at the lake. She's kind of a heavy gal who needs two strapping young men - Earl and Randy will have to do - to do chores up to and including holding up her fat flabs and drying away the moisture with an oscillating fan. Can I get an Eeeewwww...?? Amen, brothers and sisters. Bigtime. But there's a bright spot in all this fat old lady dehumidifying: Randy's found his first true love, Pinky. Pinky is so named because her hair is Pinky. Pinky calls Randy Skipper because he's so good at skipping stones. She calls Earl Sinker because he's so good at sinking stones. Pinky and Randy spend the summer sharing ice creams, paddle-boating, and tandem biking to John Prine's Day Is Done ("Do you like me? Well I hope you do. Cause if you like me, Then I think I'm gonna to have to like you too.").
All right, I'll say it. This whole Randy and Pinky montage was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen that didn't involve babies, mammals, or baby mammals that didn't make me wanna gag or spew. There. I said it. Think what you want. Moving right along...
The magic day finally arrives when Pinky tells Randy that she's going to let him kiss her. Randy waits at the appointed time and place, but alas and alack, Pinky never shows. Hence, Randy's "ten year old bitches" comment from earlier.
Back at the Shack, Randy asks Earl, Can we try to find her huh can we can we can we huh? Earl is dubious. They don't even know her real name. Earl just knows this is going to end badly.
Earl and Randy El Camino it to the lake, and there they find the same old dude (played by Bernie Kopell, Doc from the Love Boat) running the paddle boat concession.
He agrees to help Earl and Randy try to locate the fuchsia-tressed young lady, but the fact that he can't raise his arms above his waist (and the fact that he has no feeling in his penis...long story) might slow him down a bit. But hey, he's game to try. Randy's so excited he's wearing new underwear and checking mortgage rates in Connect-ticut.
Six hours later, the old dude comes shuffling along with good news: He's found her! And she's going to be on the bridge at 4:00. Randy and Earl hurry over to the bridge after a quick hygiene check. Nostrils? Three mediums and a large, check. Underarms? Not good, okay, check. Breath? Hint of pepperoni and a soupcon of Froot Loops, check. (Okay, I made that last one up. What I really liked was the camera angle from inside Randy looking out at Earl. You kinda had to see it to really appreciate it.) Randy spies Pinky on the bridge, walks over to her in delicious anticipation, and...it's Joy! Pinky is Joy!!
In flashback after flashback, we see Young Pinky utter those now famous Joy words, Oh snap oh snap oh snap.
Joy is of the same opinion. What the hell's goin' on! She demands to know. Where's Skipper? Randy tries to convince her that he is indeed her long lost young love Skipper, but it's not until he pulls out the love note she wrote him way back when that she finally believes him.
After a why did you break up with me I didn't break up with you why did you break up with me exchange the truth finally comes out. The two young lovers did not break up with each other. It was a jealous Young Earl that broke them up, delivering a break up note to Pinky, supposedly from Skipper, that he'd written himself. He just couldn't stand the thought of Randy kissing a girl before he did. And after delivering the note to Pinky, young Earl tried to console her with a smoochy, but Pinky wasn't having it. Welcomed kisses are rarely received with a Ked to the crotch. Welcome to Dating, Young Earl.
This devastating news leaves Randy heartbroken (again) and Joy questioning everything in her life.
Randy takes out his anger by cutting his and Earl's bed in half and holding the sawblade to Earl's throat. How come me and Pinky aren't on your list? He demands to know. Earl was too ashamed to put it on there, but rest assured that it is now. And the only way to make this right is for Randy to make out with Pinky, I mean Joy. I think we are all in agreement when I say there is no good that can come from this.
This is by far the hardest thing Earl's ever had to do to cross off a Karma item. First things first, Earl seeks out Darnell's permsission. Darnell's actually cool with it. As part of their "pre-nup", Joy and Darnell each got one freebie, choosing the one person they could still have sex with after they were married, and Joy chose Skipper. (Darnell chose Anna Nicole Smith.) Earl is saddened by the news that Anna Nicole is dead. She was one of the good ones.
But there's someone else Earl has to get permission from (I know I know...another dangling participle...not fixing this one either). And that someone is Joy. At first she ain't having any part of this making out with the stupid ex-brother-in-law business, but then she sees Dodge and Tiffany and she makes a deal with Earl: You break up those two and I'll tongue-down Randy. So it's back to the forged break-up note game, and Earl puts the kibosh on Dodge and Tiff. Tiffany is heartbroken, and when Earl tries to give her a consolation hug, his actions are misconstrued a by a large black woman who greets Earl's man-marbles with the point of her steel-toed boot. Sorry Earl, but you had that comin'.
Skipper and Pinky (aka Randy and Joy) meet up on their bridge. Time has token its toll on the two erstwhile young lovers, but they are dressed just like they were when they were ten. The initial meet and greet doesn't go well (big surprise there) but as Randy ambles down to the shoreline and starts skipping stones, Joy is able to see past his Randy-ness (cue more John Prine) and see him once again as her first love Skipper. She joins him skipping stones and they have a lovely day on the paddle-boats and eating ice cream and tandem biking. Randy even blows a bubble. Cross that one off the list Earl.
Randy tells Joy that he forgot how nice that feeling was, and that she's lucky because she has that all the time with Darnell. Joy sees and feels just how blessed she truly is and decides to let Dodge spend time with Tiffany. In a superhuman gesture (for Joy anyway) she decides to let Randy kiss her. They kiss, resembling nothing so much as the awkward and sweet fumblings of two pre-adolescents sharing a first kiss. Randy tries to go upstairs inside, but Joy swats his hand away. He tries again. Joy swats again.