Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Name Is Earl: "Randy's Touchdown" Review

            Earl is in a good mood as the episode starts. Since discovering karma, he has felt better about himself. Since he started crossing people off of his list, more good things have been happening to him. As he explains to Randy how good he’s been feeling lately, Randy notices that someone wrote, “u r an ass” on Earl’s car. Earl knows who did this, and immediately goes to confront her at the trailer park.

             Joys taunts Earl about the ordeal, and tells him that if he calls the police, she’ll inform them of the time he and Randy stole a refrigerator. Earl just wants Joy to leave his stuff alone, but Joy demands half of his lottery money. Earl needs the money to cross stuff off of his list while Joy needs it to provide for Dodge and Earl Jr. Since she divorced Earl and married Darnell, Joy hasn’t been stealing as much because Darnell isn’t cut out for crime. Joy has taken to pawning old items for the extra income—including the cuckoo clock that once belonged to Earl’s grandfather.

            Earl and Randy drive down to the pawnshop because Earl doesn’t want to see his family’s only heirloom being auctioned off in a seedy neighborhood. While he’s there, he decides to cross off another list item—fixed a high school football game.

            In a flashback, we see Randy playing football for his high school team and Earl betting a $100 on him to lose. Randy had the ball and was on his way to scoring a touchdown when he sees Earl’s hand signals and purposefully fumbles the ball.

            Back in the present, Earl pays back Rosie, the pawnshop owner he made the bet with. She is disgusted, and threatens to stomp on his “sweaty little tea bag.” She’s also upset with Randy, accusing him of throwing away could have been a great accomplishment in his life just because Earl asked him to. Earl realizes that he didn’t just cheat Rose out of $100…he cheated Randy out the experience of scoring the winning touchdown for his team.

            Earl puts Randy on his list and decides to get Randy back into high school so he can score his touchdown. He gets fake birth certificate from Kenny James and hires the electrolarynx guy to pretend to be Randy’s father and sign the paperwork. To make sure Randy had a chance to play, Earl picked the school with the worst team in the league. Randy is not the oldest person on the team.

            After his first day of school, Randy is excited to tell Earl what he learned in science class. Before we were humans, we were monkeys. That’s not quite how it works, but okay. As Earl and Randy wonder what we were before we were monkeys, they notice that their car has been stolen. Earl knows who was behind the theft.

            Back at the trailer park, Earl confronts Joy about the car. Joy informs him that she had the car towed and that it is now at the impound. She tells him that she’ll give it back to him when he gives her the lottery money. Earl is relieved to know that Joy didn’t realize Earl’s money was in the car. Unfortunately, Randy immediately let’s the cat out of the bag.

            Earl and Randy rush over to the impound. They beat Joy, but discover that they can’t retrieve the car because Earl owes $3,000 in unpaid parking tickets. When Joy comes in, she tries to claim the car as her own. The guy in charge doesn’t car whose car it is, he’ll give it to whoever gives him $3,000.

            Earl and Randy try to climb over the electric fence to get to the car. It’s only active at night. Unfortunately, the impound workers spot them, and turn on the fence, sending them flying. Joy tries to get a $3,000 loan from the government. She tells Darnell to wait in the car because she’s afraid she won’t get a loan if she’s seen with a black man. She reconsiders this when the insurance agent she talks to turns out to be black. She even tries to have Darnell “say something black” in order gain the advantage, but it doesn’t work. She can’t borrow money against a rented trailer with a carbon monoxide leak.

            At the motel, Randy asks Earl for $20 so he can enter the science fair. This is impossible because all of Earl’s money is in the car. Earl also tells Randy that he’s supposed to be scoring a touchdown. Catalina points out that Randy’s already growing his potato battery. Randy gets an idea from one of his textbooks—a Trojan horse.

            Earl calls Kenny and tells him the plan. He’s going to use Kenny’s car as his Trojan horse; he’ll hide in the back while Kenny gets the car towed. Once he’s at the impound, he’ll hop out of the back, get his car and money, and go back to the high school to watch Randy score a touchdown. There’s only one problem with this plan; Earl is too big to fit in the back of Kenny’s car. Kenny offers to do the plan himself.

            As Randy gets psyched for the big game, Joy and Darnell sell their belongings to the pawnshop in order to get $3,000. After selling almost everything they own, they’re still short by $1,500. Joy notices a cart full of cans and bottles and immediately steals it.

            Kenny’s car is towed, setting the plan in motion. Earl is happy he can witness the full game, and invites Catalina and the electrolarynx guy to come along with him. Darnell picks up cans and bottles in a ditch while Joy is selling her loot to the local recycling plant. She returns quickly and tells Darnell to stop because an entire cart full of cans was worth only $8. But that’s $8 in 2005 dollars, so that’s worth, like, $9.74 today! Since they pay buy the pound, Joy’s figures they need heavier cans. She sits on the guardrail, which gives her an idea. A minute later, the guardrail is loaded into the back Joy’s car.

            At the football game, Randy is struggling. All those years of sleeping and drinking had taken their toll. Earl wonders where Kenny is. He’s still at the impound, hiding in the trunk from the Dobermans his aftershave had attracted. With less than a minute left on the clock, Randy gets the ball and charges for the goal. Earl and Catalina cheer as it looks like Randy will finally get to score that touchdown. At the last moment, however, Randy drops the ball, and the game is lost.

            Things are looking bad for Earl after the game. He and Catalina can’t find Randy, and Joy drives up, having successfully raised the $3,000. Yes, that means the recycling plant actually took the guardrails.  Earl knows that if Joy gets to that car, his life will be ruined, so he starts running. We see a montage of Earl running down the street and past the trees as he makes his way to the impound. He runs as fast as he can for as long as he can. However, he’s almost as out of shape as Randy, and barely makes it out of the school parking lot.

            Earl and Catalina walk along the street, having given up. Just then, Randy drives up to them in Earl’s car, holding the locker box that Earl stashed his lottery winning. It turns out, Randy had made a $3,000 bet against his team before the football game started. He fumbled the ball on purpose again. Earl is happy to have his money back but is disappointed that he once again caused Randy to give up his touchdown. Randy tells Earl that he didn’t force him to do this. He did this because they’re brothers. Randy figures the feeling of getting a touchdown is about the same as driving up to Earl having saved his money and his future. Earl and Catalina decide to lift Randy up like the team would have done if he had scored a touchdown. Randy’s a bit too heavy for them to lift.

            Earl goes back to Rosie to pay her the $3,000 they got from fixing another game. Kenny is let out of his trunk by one of the impound workers. The worker and Kenny fall in love and share a weekend together in wine country. Earl gives Randy $20 to enter the science fair. For his work, Randy receives a “Participant” ribbon. As Joy drives to the impound, she swerves to avoid a homeless man pushing an empty cart—the same homeless man she stole the cart of cans from earlier on. She and Darnell crash into a ditch—which had previously been blocked off by the guardrail that they stole.

            Best Quotes:

            Earl: “Randy, there’s something to be said about waking up in the morning and feeling like a good person.”
            Randy: (looking to the side) “You are an ass.”
            Earl: “What?”
            (Randy points off screen)
            (Cut to a shot of Earl’s car, which has graffiti reading, “u r an ass” scrawled on the door)
            Earl: “Those aren’t my kids, Joy.”
            Joy: “That doesn’t matter. They have grown accustomed to a certain quality of lifestyle that you provided for them with all your crookery. Now, I tried to get their new daddy to fill your shoes, but unfortunately, Darnell is not cut out for crime!”
            (flashback of Darnell snatching a purse from a old lady)
            Old Lady: “Hey!”
            (Darnell starts to run away, but then stops and turns around to return the purse)
            Darnell: “I’m sorry ma’am, I shouldn’t have did that.”
            Old Lady: “That’s okay. Are you hungry? I think I have a candy bar in here! Would you like a candy bar?”

            Earl: “Where’s my grandfather’s cuckoo clock?”
            Joy: (lighting a cigarette) “I pawned it.”
            Earl: “What!?”
            Joy: “What, you think cigarettes grow on trees?”

            Earl: “I can’t wait to see Rosie’s face when I pay her back.”
            (cut to Rosie grabbing Earl by the collar and smashing his face into the window)
            Rosie: “You disgust me, Earl Hickey! Fixing a game! I should pull you through this talking hole and stomp on your sweaty little tea bag!”

            Earl: “This may sound crazy, but…I think you have to go back to High School.”
            (the cuckoo clock rings)
            Randy: “That was weird.”

            Earl: “Somebody stole my car. Randy, my money was in that car!”
            Randy: “Who’d want to steal your car? It’s a piece of crap with ‘asstronaut’ painted on the side.”

            Earl (voiceover): “It was at that point that I realized that Joy had no idea that my money was actually in the car.”
            Randy: “Hey Earl, Joy had no idea that your lotto money was in the car!”
            Earl: (frowns exasperatedly)
            Randy: (smile disappears)
            Joy: (Has a an expression that just screams, “Oh Snap!”)

            Joy: “Look, you know I don’t see color, but these people are never going to give me $3,000 if they see me here with a black man, okay.”
            Darnell: (walks away angrily)
            Joy: “It’s not me, Darnell! It’s America. I don’t make the rules!”
            (Ten seconds later)
            Loan Officer (a black man): “So, they tell me you’re looking for a loan?”
            Joy: “Yeah; You know what, I left something in the car. I’ll be right back!”
            (Cut to Joy and Darnell talking to the loan officer)
            Joy: “We really only need the money for, like, and hour or two.”
            (The loan officer looks from Joy to Darnell, and then down to his paperwork)
            Joy: (whispering to Darnell) “Say something ‘black.’”
            Darnell: (looks offended)
            Earl (Voiceover): “Joy didn’t realize it doesn’t matter if you’re white or black. You can’t borrow money against a rented 1972 trailer with a documented carbon monoxide leak.”
            Loan Officer: “I’m sorry.”
            Joy: (walks away angrily)
            (Loan Officer watches Joy’s behind as she leaves)
            Loan Officer: (to Darnell) “Nice pull, brother!”
            Darnell: “Right on!”

            Kid: “Are you ready!”
            Randy: “I’m ready, are you ready!?”
            Kid: “I’m ready, are you ready!” (pounds fists on Randy’s shoulder pads)
            Randy: “I’m ready, are you ready!” (pounds the kid’s shoulder pads way too hard, possibly knocking him out)

            Additional Notes:

            Ethan Suplee previously played a High School Football Player in Remember The Titans.

            Earl hires someone to pose as him and Randy’s father rather than going to his real father for help. This is because, as we later find out, Earl’s dad hates him.


            As Earl continues to go down a more positive path, his relationship with his brother improves and goods things happen to him more and more. In contrast, Joy is continuing to live a life of crime and karma is not giving her an easy time. This is the first episode in which Earl deals with a list item involving a family member and it won’t be the last. These episodes were, in my opinion, some of the best the show had to offer because proving yourself to your family is the most important step to proving yourself to the rest of the world.

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