My Name Is Earl
About the Show
Petty crook Earl decides he's got bad karma, and tries to turn his life around by righting all the wrongs from his past. But it's a long list - and things don't always pan out as planned...
Series 1 Summary
You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things and then wonders why his life sucks? Well, that was Earl. Every time something good happened to him, something bad was waiting round the corner. Karma.
Things had to change. So he's made a list of everything bad he'd ever done and, one-by-one, he's going to make up for all his mistakes...
Episode 1 - Pilot
Meet small time crook Earl J Hickey; a lowlife petty crook living in Camden County with his wife Joy and their two kids Dodge and Earl Junior, (although neither is actually his). His brother Randy lives on their couch and they spend their days pulling minor scams and kicking back with a few brewskis with Darnell at Ernie's Crab Shack.
Things are pretty sweet, but after a life spent stealin', cheatin' and lyin' Earl finally gets a wake-up call when he find a 100,000 dollar scratch card - and immediately loses it when he's run down celebrating in the road.
Homeless and woozy in hospital. Earl has an epiphany and decides Karma is getting even with him for all his misdeeds. Taking Carson Daley's creed to heart, 'Do good things and good things happen to you', he writes a list of all his bad deeds and sets out to clear his slate.
Earl's efforts are immediately rewarded when he finds his lost scratch card whilst picking up rubbish (Number 136 - Been a Litterbug). This leaves him free to concentrate on the list, starting with Number 64 - Picked on Kenny James, the kid he bullied at school.
But making it up to him proves harder than Earl imagined. Kenny turns out to be gay, something Earl is not prepared to deal with. He decides not to help - but then Joy turns up looking for the lottery money and Randy gets smacked around the head with a telephone.
Which is when Earl realises he may have made the list but Karma makes the rules, and he ends up taking Kenny to a gay bar. One down, 258 to go...
Episode 2 - Quit Smoking
The tough thing with having a list of over 200 things you've done wrong to people is choosing which one you're going to make up for next, so Earl lets Catalina choose.
Unfortunately, while Earl is struggling with Number 102 - Harmed and Possibly Killed Innocent People with Secondhand Smoke, she picks number 112 - Let Donny Jones Serve Jail Time for a Crime Earl Committed.
The thing is, Donny is certifiably mad and has no idea why he was banged up for robbing a donut stall, and Earl is terrified of telling him. As it turns out prison was the best thing for Donny, inside he found God and, while still crazy, he forgives Earl.
But in crossing one thing off the list, Earl finds he has to add another. Donny's mum hasn't forgiven him and Earl has to find a way of giving her back the two years Donny served.
And the only way he can do it is to get her to quit the smokes, killing two birds with one stone...
Episode 3 - Randy's Touchdown
Unable to get her hands on Earl's money, Joy starts pawning his family heirlooms to pay for cigarettes, including his grandfather's cuckoo clock. Getting it back gives Earl the opportunity to cross off Number 58 - Fixed a High School Football Game.
However, it isn't enough just to pay back the money. In rigging the game, Earl also robbed Randy of his only chance to score a touchdown. And the only way he can make up for that is by sending Randy back to school to join the football team.
But football is the least of Earl's problems after Joy gets his car impounded. That's that's where Earl keeps his Lotto winnings - and it's a race to make up the $3000 fine to get the car back.
Earl ropes in Kenny to help, and Joy and Darnell steal crash barriers to sell on, but in the end it's Randy who comes up with the cash.
By fixing the very game in which he was supposed to score his touchdown...
Episode 4 - Faked My Own Death
A chance meeting in a grocery store whilst crossing off Number 203 on the list (Stole Various Snacks and Drinks from the QuickStop), also gives Earl the opportunity to deal with Number 84 - Faked his Own Death.
After crashing a biker party at The Crab Shack, Earl went to bed with a hot blonde called Natalie, but woke up with a clingy new girlfriend who liked hiking, picnics, and papier-mache art. The only way out of the relationship was to get Randy to tell her he'd died at sea.
But coming clean seven years later only opens up a whole new can of worms as her current boyfriend gets ideas about how to finish with her, leaving Earl to pick up the pieces and inadvertently rekindle Natalie's feelings for him.
Faced with the repeat dilemma of dumping her, Earl takes Catalina's advice and opts to be such an awful boyfriend she'll have to dump him, and in doing so Natalie will finally regain some self-respect.
Tragedy looms after a distraught Natalie commits suicide, but after tricking Earl at the graveside her new sense of backbone gives her the confidence to showcase her wetpaper art in public, and Karma finally gives Earl a pen to cross her off his list.
Episode 5 - Teacher Earl
Karma works in strange ways for Earl. He's trying to teach English to a class of immigrants to cross off Number 27 - Made Fun of People with Accents, which is harder work than he imagines, particularly as they all seem to be called 'Earl'.
The list takes a backseat when old buddy Ralph Mariano gets out of jail - but if Ralph steals things when Earl's around, will Karma hold him responsible? Not wanting to take any chances, Earl spends his time replacing all the goods and trying to convince Ralph to mend his ways.
However the thought of Earl's $100,000 lotto winnings are just to tempting to resist, and Ralph ties up Randy and Earl and sets off to steal the money, which is where Karma steps in...
He may not have taught his class much, but he did teach them the directions to his house, and when they turn up because he hadn't made the lesson, Earl is able to warn the bank before Ralph gets there, save his money and cross another task off his list.
Episode 6 - Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine
In an effort to stop Joy trying to steal his money, Earl does something nice for her and at the same time he crosses another bad deed off his list, Number 153 - Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine.
The problem is you can't just buy the figurine, the only way Earl can get hold of one is to be crowned winner of Balboa and Sons Lawnmower's Prettiest Pretty Princess Pageant. To this end, he decides to join in with Joy's arch rival Shelly Stoker and her daughter in the 46th Pageant.
Joy has other ideas, though. She'd rather Earl just buy her a hot tub. so she enters the pageant in an attempt to win the figurine herself.
Episode 7 - Stole Beer from a Golfer
Every year there are three things Randy gets excited about; amnesty day at the adult video store, the high school cheerleader bikini dog wash, and the Camden County Fair. And this year the Fair boasts the actual car from Smokey and the Bandit!
However before Earl will let Randy go to the fair they have to cross something else off the list, and the easiest thing on it is Number 139 - Stole Beer from a Golfer. But things aren't as easy as they seem.
Life has fallen apart for the golfer they scammed. Not knowing the secret behind his run of hole-in-ones, Scott became convinced he should turn pro and has lost his job and girlfriend due to his obsession.
But in fixing thing with Scott's boss and girlfriend, Earl makes Randy miss the fair, and Earl realises he's become just as obsessed with his list as Scott was with golf.
After adding another deed to the list, Number 260 - Neglected Randy, he starts making it up to his brother by renting a certain car for the day and for once Randy gets to be the Bandit.
Episode 8 - Joy's Wedding
Joy plans her wedding to Darnell on the same day as Earl's birthday, and doesn't invite him. Things go further downhill as a drunk Earl turns up - only to knock blushing bride unconscious with a football.
The only way he can redeem himself is by helping plan the best wedding ever for Joy and Darnell, so Earl wholeheartedly throws himself into the task. A little too far as it turns out...
What with their close proximity and blooming friendship, one thing leads to another and Earl finds he has to add a new deed to the list; Number 262 - Slept with Crab Man's Fiancé Three Days Before Her Wedding.
With two things to cross off, one of which might completely destroy the other happening, Earl decides he can't lie to Darnell.
But, as a man in black once said, love is a wonderful thing - and his confession only brings Darnell and Joy closer together...
Episode 9 - Cost Dad the Election
Despite repeatedly putting it off Earl finally gets around to trying to cross off Number 86 - Stole a Car from a One-Legged Girl. While running away from her new boyfriend he stumbles on the next task to tackle; Number 4 - Blew Dad's Chance to Be Elected Mayor.
Since he was a baby Earl has always disappointed his dad, but the final straw came four years ago when he ruined Carl¿s chance of becoming Mayor after being caught on camera assaulting a police officer.
With a new election looming Earl decides the way back into his dad's good books is by getting him to run for Mayor again. At first, Carl's having none of it. But once Earl appears on TV, Carl finds he's got new support and joins the race, only this time he doesn't want Earl around.
Which is just as well because while he's trying to pick up voting sheets off the highway Earl gets filmed assaulting a cop for a second time, prompting his dad to lose by another landslide, for a second time...
Episode 10 - White Lie Christmas
The spirit of Christmas comes to call at Joy and Darnell's trailer when Earl tries to cross off Number 74 - Ruined Joy's Christmas. You see for six years he'd bought her terrible presents, and she wasn't the only person he'd disappointed; he owed Earl Jnr and Dodge some decent gifts too.
Leaving Randy and Catalina trying to win a brand new car for Joy, Earl takes care of the kids by buying them some new bikes but the arrival of Joy's parents for Christmas causes him bigger problems.
Earl finds himself having to keep all their secrets from each other to stop the truth ruining Christmas; Joy's married to a black man, Connie's gambling addiction has lost the family business, and far from being the racist Joy thinks he is, Buzz loves black women. In the biblical sense...
Episode 11 - Barn Burner
When they were younger, Randy and Earl's antics saw them packed off to the Right Choice Ranch, a camp that helped troubled kids turn their lives around.
Three days later they were back home after Earl burned down the barn while learning to smoke, condemning the pair of them to their lives of petty crime.
Which brings us back to the list and Number 164 - Burned Down a Barn. Earl, Randy and Catalina head back to the ranch to make amends.
And in between building an ostrich pen and finding out a bit about Catalina's past, Earl also discovers who really burned down the barn and therefore ruined his life ¿ Randy...
Episode 12 - O Karma, Where Art Thou?
Earl and Randy break out their winter clothes - and find a dead goldfish and a stolen wallet in their coat pockets. As Randy mourns the passing of his piscine pet, the wallet reminds Earl of task Number 202 - Stole a Wallet from a Guy at the Gas Station.
Replacing the money and returning the wallet seems an easy task, but it's only when he meets the young couple he stole it from that Earl realises the full extent of his wrongdoing.
Not only had he taken their cash, he'd also ruined their wedding!
Spotting a chance to give them a second chance at taking their honeymoon, Earl steps in at the guy's work so he can take the time off. It seems the perfect plan until Earl meets the boss, Mr Patrick.
Despite being a total ass, he's living the high life with a beautiful wife, great house and loads of money, when Karma should really be kicking the crap out of him.
Whilst he persecutes everybody else, Mr Patrick's life just seems to get better and better, and Earl finally snaps at the injustice. With some unexpected consequences...
Episode 13 - Stole Pop's Hot Dog Cart
Ralph reveals the gang's favourite Hot Dog stand didn't just close down, Earl and he were given $200 by corporate rivals Winky Dinky Dogs to put Pop's Hot Dogs out of business.
Crossing off Number 159 - Stole Pop's Hot Dog Cart isn't as simple as Earl thinks it's going to be. Having returned the hidden cart and drummed up support for the stand, he doesn't legislate for Winky Dinky Dogs hiring Ralph to burn it to the ground.
Unwilling to go to the police due to various unresolved legal issues, Earl decides to take the fight to 'The Man' - and gets the old gang back together for one last heist.
Episode 14 - Monkeys in Space
When Hank Lange gets caught robbing a liquor store, he gets 20 years in the Big House, which means Earl's only got four days to cross off Number 18 - Told an Inappropriate Story at Hank Lange's Birthday Party.
Earl ruined Hank's birthday by telling everybody how he slept with a transsexual stripper, so he decides to make it up to him by delivering a copy of his local paper, getting him some fresh Yummy Donuts and bringing his Gran for one final visit.
Unfortunately Earl hasn't taken into account wheelchair-bound Uncle Charlie who gets the paper lives on the top floor of a block of flats, and Yummy Donuts is run by Earl's still-bitter one-legged ex-girlfriend Didi.
And he's not even got to the home to pick up Hank's Gran yet...
Episode 15 - Something to Live For
When Earl runs out of gas he realises its Karma's way of telling him it's time to cross Number 62 off the list - Siphoned Gas from a Car.
Returning the gas is easy enough, but Earl's problems are only just beginning.
It turns out that while Earl and Randy were stealing the gas, Philo (the dude they stole it from) was trying to commit suicide. Only he didn¿t have enough gas left.
Having returned the gas, Earl decides he can't leave Philo in his suicidal state and tries to find him something to live for.
A few cold brewskis, playing motel hockey and the offer of making out with Catalina offer few comforts, but the love of a beautiful woman could save the day.
It's just unfortunate the beautiful woman in question is Joy... Could Earl's hastily-arranged date put the final nail into Philo's coffin?
Episode 16 - The Professor
One of the perks of being friends with the motel staff is getting free stuff when another resident dies. But when Earl finds a laptop in a box of belongings, he decides this is karma's way of getting him to cross off Number 37 - Stole a Laptop.
In doing so he has to confront a few demons of his own; like being nervous around smart people, particularly smart women, and even more nervous around beautiful smart women, like Professor Alex Meyers, the laptop's former owner.
Luckily, the lovely Alex reciprocates Earl¿s romantic interest in her, but karma seems determined to wing the two lovebirds. Earl still has items on his list.
And it seems there¿s no rest for the still wicked...
Episode 17 - Didn't Pay Taxes
Even though Earl has paid the government a ton of money in fines, the one thing he has never paid is taxes. A quick amendment to the list later and Earl decides it's time to cough up.
Unfortunately, the government doesn't make it easy for you to pay them back when they don't have any record of you, so Earl embarks on a series of tasks to pay back his dues.
But he soon discovers volunteering to work on a road-side chain gang isn't the best way to work off your tax. After serving some time in solitary confinement Earl is back at square one.
The one thing Earl does know about is getting fined for being breaking the law. All he has to do now is think of a suitable law to break...
Episode 18 - Dad's Car
A guilty Earl comes across Number 256 - Never Gave Mum a Good Mother's Day. Earl and Randy decide to rectify the situation by letting their mum cash in some Mother's Day coupons they stole for her over 20 years ago.
And now it's up to Earl to do something nice for his dad.
Earl finds Number 108 - Lost Dad's Mustang on the list. But the only way he's going to get that car back after losing it to Billy Reid 20 years earlier is to challenge him in a drag race.
Unfortunately, the cars conk out and the drag race deteriorates into a contest of brother power rather then horse power.
And as they cross the finish line the truth of the matter finally comes out - the Mustang was originally intended as a present for Earl's 16th birthday!
Episode 19 - Y2K
Earl wants to return the ticket machine he stole from the Bargain Bag and scratch off Number 24 - Stole a Number Ticket.
The trouble is that Randy doesn't want to give it back, because it brings back happy memories of a mysterious stranger called Darnell.
Skip back to New Year's Eve 1999 and Darnell, the smartest man Earl ever met, is warning the gang of the impeding doom that is Y2K; all the computers are going to go berserk and civilisation will end.
As tension mounts in the run-up to doomsday, the red ticket machine proves an invaluable tool for solving disputes among the guys.
But all good things must come to an end. As, indeed, must all bad things. And that red ticket machine has got to go back?
Episode 20 - Boogeyman
It all started six years ago when Earl got trapped in a kid's bedroom while robbing a house. As the rest of the gang made their escape, young Albie spots our 'hero' leaving Earl no choice - he scares him, and therefore adding Number 239 - Made a Kid Scared of the Boogeyman - to the list.
Being a kid's slave for a day is harder than it looks what with paintball, mystery sandwich making and being forced on to all fours to race against dogs. But at least Earl finally realises what Albie needs.
Poor kid - he's scared of the dark because some idiot hid under his bed. And because Earl was that idiot, it makes 'sense' that he should help cure Albie. Each night Earl sleeps in a tree next to the kid's window. However, Albie gets a bit too attached to Earl and decides to move in with him, which - with the help of a botched phonecall - could be interpreted as a full blown kidnapping.
Simple misunderstandings get a lot less simple when you add choppers and SWAT teams, but at least it shows that Albie's dad really does care about him, making Albie a lot less lonely - and supplying us with a happy ending.
Episode 21 - The Bounty Hunter
Earl has a problem when his ex returns. Jesse and Earl used to be an item: she was the first person to let him jump a tiny motorcycle over her head; she even got on with Randy.
But now there's a bounty on Joy's head and Jesse is out to collect. You see, Earl and Jesse had a good thing going and it was going pretty quickly. But not as quickly as 'later that night' when Earl first met Joy and was married within seven hours.
Jesse did confront Joy about this tricky issue, and Joy confronted Jesse's front teeth with a left-hook, which left her a little bit bitter.
Now, trained as a bounty hunter, Jesse is after Joy for an unpaid traffic fine. Joy heads off on the run, and decides to tell all to Earl. The stuff about his macho seduction of her being all about her using lipstick and booze to trap him so Dodge would have a father.
As Earl scraps Number 1414 - Ditched Jesse for Joy - from the list, Joy deals with Jesse herself. One Jerry Spinger-style ruckus later and she's acquired Jesse's golden front teeth - enough money to pay the bail.
Episode 22 - Stole a Badge
The gang got hold of the badge a few years back. Shoes they stole from a bowling alley included the size 10s belonging to Stewart, a new policeman, who had left his badge in his footwear for safety.
Now, pretending to be a policeman can get you a lot of free stuff, and an incredible sense of power - of course, Earl craves both. But with power comes responsibility (not known to be one of the gang's strong points). In time, the power of the badge became too dangerous, and Earl decided to ditch it in the river.
When it turns up again in Randy's favourite storm drain, Earl adds it to the list, Number 127 - Stole a Badge Off a Policeman - and decides that it too is on a journey and needs to be returned to its rightful owner. Turns out that the most embarrassing thing that can happen to a policeman is for them to lose their badge, and not only had Earl taken Stewart's badge - he had taken his dignity.
Earl's plans to get Stewart's career back on track soon founder when he reveals he never wanted to be a cop. But when he finds out just how happy bowling makes him, Earl's got a plan.
Episode 23 - BB
Families are nothing but trouble. Atoning for stealing by feeding strangers' parking meters, Earl is stopped by a cop who discovers he's been driving without a license (which Joy has been holding hostage), and packed off to court to pay his fine.
At the courthouse, he runs into schoolyard flame Gwen Waters, the resident court artist, and in doing so adds to his list with Number 147 - Shot Gwen Waters with BB Gun. What started with a BB pellet ended up with Gwen's parents splitting up. She hasn't seen her dad for 20 years and finds it hard to paint any subjects who smile.
Earl decides Karma wants him to get the two together again, but soon realises it hasn't taken into account Gwen's dad being a horrible drunk who has trouble keeping his trousers up.
When she finally sees him, Gwen can't believe she wasted half her life hating him. Looks like he got what was coming to him and his misery seemed to be all that Gwen needed to get crossed off Earl's list. It wasn't the end he was hoping for, but at least one person walked away happy. Sometimes that's the best you can hope for.
Episode 24 - Number One
When Earl lets Darnell pick a task for him, he cuts right to the chase and picks Number 1 - Stole Ten Dollars from a Guy At Camden Market. Earl soon discovers the money belonged to Paul, and by chance he was going to buy the very same lotto ticket that Earl brought, so, in fact, he doesn't just owe him ten dollars, he owes him every cent he has.
Convinced Karma will make everything okay, Earl gives Paul all the money from the lotto, leaving him with nothing. To distract Randy, Earl moves on to Number 119 - Ruined Joy's Chance to Get Into Art School - but it doesn't pay the bills. They are kicked out of the motel and Earl has to sell the El Camino.
Undaunted by Karma's plan, Earl forges ahead and moves onto Number 206 - Refused to Dance with Too Tall Maggie at the Eighth Grade Dance - but things still look bleak. Randy and Earl have a bust-up on a bus as the pressure gets to them.
Things look even worse when their fight distracts the bus driver, who runs Paul over. But when they visit him in hospital, Paul reveals his own secret. He saw everything that happened on the day Earl won the lotto, and was given a choice: leave Earl on the side of the road or take the ticket. He took the ticket and Karma has been out to get him ever since. He returns the money to Earl and settles his own score with Karma.
My Name Is Earl synopsis
Petty crook Earl decides he's got bad karma, and tries to turn his life around by righting all the wrongs from his past. But it's a long list - and things don't always pan out as planned...Episode Guide >