Friday, July 20, 2007

"My Name is Earl" Repeat Recap/Review - "The Birthday Party"

The Birthday Party
Original Airdate: Thursday February 15, 2007
[Submitted by: Breanna P.]

This week’s episode of My Name is Earl, a re-run of The Birthday Party from February 15, 2007, has Earl and his closest friends, family, and good karma-recipients gathered together at his favorite hang-out, The Crab Shack, to remember and reflect on the good deeds that Earl has performed in the past year to right the wrongs he has done.

Earl believes that karma is rewarding him by having former foes and adversaries now celebrating the day of his birth, but he soon realizes that more severe transgressions he committed against his guests are still fresh on their minds. The party turns into a major venting session about the horrible things Earl Hickey did in his less-karma friendly past. Whether it be Earl’s father, Carl, reminiscing about how an adolescent Earl stole pills from his friend’s mother and put them in Carl’s martini at a party to make the elder Hickey more “loose” and leading him to attempt to make the party a “swinging” good time for everyone, or Earl’s friend/ex-wife’s husband Darnell, the “Crab Man,” being misled by Earl into eating marijuana-filled brownies, Earl’s List of wrongs grows as Earl is reminded of just how despicable a person he really was.

Not all is lost at the party for Earl. For one, Earl shows that he truly is remorseful about his past transgressions. He narrates the list of several wrongs brought up by party guests and tells everyone exactly how he was mistaken for a Peeping Tom in his old trailer park because he was trying to find the people who brought a big screen TV he wanted to steal. Earl continues to tell how that mistake made him mislead then-wife Joy into having lots of strange variations of sex with him to “entice” the Peeping Tom to come to their open window so Joy could then brag to the neighbors about it.

The offense Earl seems to be most repentant of is his one night stand with Didi, a woman who unbeknownst to Earl, only has one leg. When Earl finds Didi’s prosthetic leg in her bed the next morning, he freaks out and attempts to escape through the window while stealing money from her wallet on the nightstand. When Didi returns to her bedroom with breakfast, she sees what Earl is doing and attempts to “hop” after him while he flees. This memory and all of the others brought up force Earl to seek refuge in his motel room and he leaves the party.

Overall, the episode is humorous and really conveys how no matter what things a person does to correct a mistake; some things will never be forgotten nor should they be by the wronged-party. That being said, the episode ends on a somewhat sappy note by having all of the venting and story-telling by the party guests being a part of a master plan by Earl’s brother, Randy. The guests somehow realize that Earl has fled to his motel room/home due to their reminiscing at The Crab Shack, and they all somehow are able to be faster than Earl is to the motel (maybe karma sadness made him walk really slowly). There the guests confront Earl to say that not only do they forgive him for his past offenses against them, but that he can now cross those offenses off of his List as a birthday present. In real life, people would not be as forgiving if Earl had really done those things to them, but for a half-hour sitcom, it makes not only a convenient and happy ending, but shows that the character of Earl has come a long way in both personal growth and trying to do right by the people he has wronged.

Overall, the episode is well-acted and really gives the show's great supporting cast a chance to shine. Although it's not the best Earl episode to date, it is very memorable and fits in with the spirit and overall storyline of the show.
I'd give it a B.

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