Saturday, October 15, 2005

Earl Does Teshuvah

I should probably have posted about this before Yom Kippur, but anyway, I'm addicted to a new TV show called My Name Is Earl.

Earl has a fairly ordinary, parody-of-redneck life when the show begins. He is married to a trashy blond with whom he is raising two children (neither is biologically his, longish story), he has a nice trailer, a loving brother, and a local crab shack/bar where they give him free, slightly over-date crab. Then disaster strikes: Earl gets a winning lottery ticket for $100,000, and is promptly struck by a car, losing the ticket. While in the hospital, his wife visits, asking him to sign some papers next to the 'sticky yellow thingies', whereupon he discovers he has signed both a divorce and the trailer over to his now ex-wife.

Shortly after this, Earl watches the Carson Daly show, learns about karma, and becomes convinced that he needs to fix all the bad things he has done in his life, or 'karma is going to kill me'. He creates a list of all the bad things he's ever done on a yellow pad--two hundred fifty something--and sets out to make amends. In the process he finds his lottery ticket again, enabling him to finance the project.

It's a yuck-a-minute sitcom, but it's actually pretty interesting to watch a show dedicated solely to a man trying to fix all the things he's done to others. In the last episode I watched, he contacts a man who went to prison for two years for a crime Earl committed. His victim found Jesus in jail, and is willing to forgive Earl, however the victim's mom is not. In fact, she beats him up with an oversize Bible (large type. VERY large type), and demands to be added to the list herself. He owes her two years with her son. He finds a way to deliver--and it's classic, weird, and very funny.

Earl is likable. There's something compelling about a man who's so relentlessly honest with himself, and willing to go to such lengths of self-examination, while still being a very ordinary, with a not so borderline criminal personality.

It's fun. I can imagine a slightly modified version being told by some Chasidic rebbe. (Less crab.) Check it out.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

It looked interesting, never got around to checking it out though...