BROTHER IN ARMS
‘My Name is Earl” comes full circle in its season finale tomorrow night, minus one very important thing: 42 percent of its audience.
That’s the difference between the number of people who tuned in for the premiere of “Earl” last Sept. 20 (15,249,000) and the number who watched the show just last Thursday (8,798,000).
Part of the dropoff was likely due to “Earl’s” move Jan. 5 to Thursday nights at 9 from its original, less-competitive time period, Tuesday nights at 9.
But still – where’d those 6,451,000 viewers go? “CSI” on CBS? “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC? Probably both of the above.
And all this time I thought Earl-ism was catching on. Maybe that’s because I was such an early, willing convert to Earl Hickey’s easy-to-digest brand of instant karma.
But, hey, that’s me – I’m a sponge for any new religion that comes along, especially one as simple as Earl-ism, which basically says this: Do good things for others, and good things will happen to you.
In actual practice, this has never worked for me, but in “My Name is Earl,” it has always worked for Earl (Jason Lee), ever since he bought, then lost, then found again a lottery ticket worth $100,000.
And it is that moment – the moment that started it all – to which “My Name is Earl” returns in the final episode of its first season tomorrow night.
The episode answers the question that has hung in the air since the series premiere: How on earth did that lottery ticket float in the breeze all the way from the street in front of the convenience store where Earl was struck by a car to the parking lot of the motel where Earl and brother Randy (Ethan Suplee) were picking up trash days later?
The answer is complicated. And I won’t spoil the episode by revealing it here except to say that the saga of the fateful lottery ticket involves Willie the One-Eyed Mailman (Bill Suplee); Earl’s ex-wife, Joy (Jaime Pressly); her current husband, Crab Man (Eddie Steeples), who sets the finale episode in motion; and Paul the pizza delivery man (guest-star Max Perlich).
Despite its declining viewership, “Earl’s” survival is virtually assured since NBC renewed it months ago for a second season.
For the network, it’s a good deed that deserves one in return – namely, a high-rated, end-of-season sendoff for “My Name is Earl.”
BROTHER IN ARMS