Spoilers for the final "My Name Is Earl" until the strike ends coming up just as soon as I ask my optometrist for some frames like Stan's...
Anyone who's read my sporadic blogging about this show over the last few years knows that I gravitate towards episodes where Bad Earl surfaces and wish that the writers would trust Jason Lee's charm a little more and make Earl's behavior more outrageous. So an episode titled "Bad Earl" should be catnip for me, right?
Instead, what the episode mainly gave us was Grumpy Earl. Sure, he threw out The List for a while, he walked out on helping Mistletoe (who was definitely the episode's best sight gag, non-car accident division), he knocked over Crab Man and Joy's trailer and he bigfooted on Ralph's Stan scam. But none of his actions were that terrible, and certainly not for that long, that they merited an intervention that quickly, either by the writers or the characters.
I'd be inclined to blame some of this on strike-related problems, but like I said, the show has always been a little too willing (either by the writers' choice or because of pressure from NBC brass) to distance themselves from Earl's dark side, even though playing likable bastards is the thing that Lee does best.
Ah, well. I probably should've seen the first car crash coming, but I laughed in surprise nonetheless. (Then I laughed at the Alyssa Milano crash because the special effects were so terrible. At least they used a stuntman for the Earl crash.) So long as NBC puts it on a night with much better shows like "30 Rock" and "The Office," "Earl" is just good enough for me to keep watching, but I almost always wish it could realize its potential more than it does.
What did everybody else think?