Nothing stirs up the spirit of the Yule like watching a Christmas-related episode two weeks after Christmas. “Bad Earl” was originally scheduled for Dec. 13, but NBC pushed it way back, probably thinking it was best to not burn a new episode when the ratings probably weren’t going to be good.
Earl is out of prison (prison’s not quite out of him), but he’s finding it hard to celebrate during his release party at the Crab Shack. He has his list back, but he’s doubting the existence of karma. All of his good deeds have brought him nothing but misfortune. The mayor decided to hide the homeless for the holidays in their motel room, and Earl can’t find a job better than a delivery driver for Camden Foreign Foods (now serving gyros!). Making a delivery one day, Ralph (Giovanni Ribisi) answers the door dressed in old-man clothes.
It seems that six months ago, after Ralph escaped from prison in his undies and hitched a ride (and perhaps more) with Gay Kenny, Ralph ended up at the door of an old woman, Doris, who took him in and offered him pants. It seems Doris saved her dead husband’s clothes, and Ralph dressed up in them. Doris confused Ralph for her dead husband Stan, and Ralph realized he’s now on Easy Street. He’s got a sugar grandma!
Ralph’s good life dispirits Earl even more, but Randy convinces him to do something on his list. So Earl makes amends with a stripper he once injured with a laser pointer — she makes Earl dance at Club Chubby, complete with tassels! Earl’s pissed, and he tosses his belief in karma, and his list, out on the street.
Bad Earl is back. After boozing and picking up some girls from Club Chubby, they break into Joy’s trailer and take turns trying to tip it over. Eventually they succeed.
In the morning, Earl wonders why Ralph has it so good, and he has to bathe in a bird bath. So while Ralph’s in the shower, Earl swipes the Stan clothes, and instantly becomes Doris’ dead husband. Ralph is tossed out of the house in his skivvies. Earl spends Christmas Eve inside with Doris, while Ralph and Randy spend Christmas Eve outside in the El Camino, singing “Silent Night.”
Christmas morning, Earl finds all his friends in Doris’ house. They’re throwing him an intervention, begging for the good Earl to come back. But he’ll have none of it, and he walks out the door.
But on the street, Earl is followed by a yellow piece of paper blowing in the breeze. It seems karma has come looking for him. Or maybe it’s just a cheeseburger wrapper. Earl denies the existence of karma … and is subsequently hit by a car. But the car is driven by Billie (Alyssa Milano), who we figured would be coming back at some point after the “Frank’s Girl” episode. Earl has a thing for Billie, and maybe getting hit by her car is finally the good thing Earl was waiting for. He passes out in a state of bliss, unaware that as Billie goes to get help, she too is hit by a car. Nice.
Coincidentally, my colleague Mike interviewed Milano last night about a Lifetime original movie she’s in in March, and asked about her status on Earl. It seems she signed on for three more post-strike episodes, and that’s it. She’s focusing on pilot season. So if there’s going to be a romance between Billie and Earl, it’s not going to last long.
What we learned:
A margarita with an egg in it does not constitute eggnog.
You look like you could use some pants.
There’s a new Stan in town.
A laser pointer is a tiny green hand you can put wherever you want.
Life is rough. Things get stuck places.
That spring in your step may be caused by an actual spring.
Men are only interested in one thing: raping your mother.
Wisdom From Randy: The candy corn stuck in his ear since he was 9 sometimes attracts ants.
Crab Man Chronicles: Sadness falls on us all, like food from a sideways refrigerator.
Photo: Copyright © 2007 NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. Credit: Michael Yarish