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Review: 'My Name Is Earl: Season One'
Such is the grim alternate reality in "Bad Karma," a mini-episode of "My Name Is Earl" that's included in the show's first-season DVD set. Instead of trying to correct all the bad things he's done in life, Earl makes a list of everyone who's ever "screwed him over," setting off on a dark path.
Lee, who normally plays Earl in a pitch-perfect, low-key style, gets to chew up some scenery (not to mention dress in drag) as Bad Earl, who takes the advice of "Family Guy's" Stewie Griffin and seeks vengeance on all those who have wronged him. Karma being what it is, though (at least in the context of this show), things don't work out all that well -- except for his brother (Ethan Suplee), who gets to star in "My Name Is Randy."
"Bad Karma" is the highlight of a decent set of extras on the DVD set, but the true star is the show itself. "Earl" started out strong, with a pilot that justly won Emmys for writing and directing. But as Lee points out in the commentary track for that episode, the show got better as the season progressed, with Suplee, Jaime Pressly, Eddie Steeples and Nadine Velasquez all adding shades to their characters. The writers also showed a willingness to move, at least a little bit, away from the gotta-cross-something-off structure of the early episodes.
The commentary tracks, all of which feature series creator Greg Garcia, are a mix of good observation and this-was-so-much-fun reminiscing, and several mention Lee's apparent inability to get through a day of shooting without getting the giggles while the camera's running. That's borne out on a blooper reel that consists mostly of Lee trying to contain fits of laughter.
The Mother's Day-themed episode "Dad's Car" also features commentary by the real-life moms of Garcia, Lee, Suplee and executive producer Marc Buckland. Things get off to a slow start there, but prodded by questions from the two producers, the mothers open up a little about their boys, and it makes for an amusing session.
EXTRAS: Commentary on seven episodes, mini-episode "Bad Karma" with commentary, deleted scenes, "Karma Is a Funny Thing" blooper reel, featurette "Making Things Right: Behind the Scenes of My Name Is Earl."