DVD: My Name is Earl Season 2
With a concept for a show like My Name is Earl, the show is either going to fail dismally or just get better with each episode. Fortunately for those of us who appreciate the whacky, ‘Earl falls into the latter category. And, with its second season hitting DVD shelves and the third is starting to air (in the US), if you aren’t on board yet, right now is about as good of a time as ever!
If you are unfamiliar with the show, then quite simply it’s a story of a man seeking redemption for a life of (mostly petty) wrong doings. Fortunately Earl isn’t a vampire, so he didn’t have to set up a detective agency to achieve this. Instead, Earl made a list of all the things that he’d done wrong in his life and, one by one, he finds a way to make up for them… His name is Earl.
I wont even attempt to hide the fact that I’m a huge fan of this show. So it goes without saying that I enjoyed every single second of the time I spent re-watching the episodes on this DVD set. I used to resist the notion that you ‘got more’ out of a series when you watched it in a marathon sitting, but watching ‘Earl’s second season in this manner I was able to pick up bucket loads of call-back gags that I’d missed when I watched the episode the first time… weeks apart.
Over the two seasons that have so far aired the shows creator, Greg Garcia, and the My Name is Earl writing staff have managed to weave together a community of regular, recurring and guest characters — many of whom appeared in a fantastic ‘COPS’ stye episode, which is included in this collection — and Earl’s relationship with these people makes for some fantastic karma riddled moments. Some of the guest stars even return for the commentary tracks on the DVDs – of which almost half of the episodes on the discs are accompanied by.
I’ve expressed before that I’m something of a DVD commentary snob: I realise that not every commentary can be a master-class in film making, but I do usually prefer to hear production information and explanations about how particular elements of a movie (or show) is produced. I do however, also understand that after the first couple of episode commentaries that stale ‘movies 101’ style jargon is going to get pretty boring: Well, the commentary tracks on the My Name is Earl season 2 set are anything but boring, for the most part they are lots of fun and usually feature one or two of the cast members and a couple of members of the production crew.
As with The Family Guy DVD, there’s a clear sense that the DVD set has been put together with the fans in mind: Extras like the deleted scenes (and there are stacks of them) and an extremely cool ‘making of’ doco (which MORE than makes up for the lack of technical information in the commentary tracks) and possibly the funniest blooper reel I’ve seen in a while. However nothing indicates more how in touch Greg Garcia is with fans of the show than the commentary track which accompanies the episode “Kept a Guy Locked in a Truck”.
Without giving the back story away, during the episode “Kept a Guy Locked in a Truck”, a character (now dead) is seen making a post in the forums at televisionwithoutpity.com, what makes this particularly awesome is that, not only did the post actually appear on the televisionwithoutpity.com forums BEFORE the episode aired, but Garcia had been posting there for months, leaving a trail of bread-crumbs for fans of the show to discover once the show (which wasn’t even in production when he started posting) had aired. To top it off Garcia invited two of the site’s regulars to come in and join the commentary team for that episode and fortunately they do a great job of adding to the texture of the track by asking some cool fan questions and relaying some stories of their own.
My mother informed me on the phone the other night, that she doesn’t like this show, but I bet I could turn her into a fan with a couple of the episodes in this season. The My Name is Earl season two DVD set is available to purchase now and, provided you’re a fan of whacky humour (and not my mum) then this is one to look out for.