* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Was Randy just a simpleton, going along with his brother's schemes and not in full control of his actions, or is he a fully aware person, who joined in on his brother's antics, because he wanted to? It doesn't help that DependingOnTheWriter, Randy swings between kinda slow but competent and borderline mental retardation.
* AngstWhatAngst: Despite the fact that he was doing his wife behind his back, and she eventually left Earl for him, Earl and Darnell are best buds, once even bonding over a shared naked dance from Joy. Darnell was hiding in the closet.
* AuthorsSavingThrow:
** The pilot episode glossed over the circumstances of Joy's infidelity with Darnell and Earl's reaction to seeing "his" child turn out black, which mostly played it for laughs. "Look What's Coming Out Of Joy" showed that Joy did regret cheating on him and genuinely hoped the baby was Earl's, Darnell wasn't entirely an absent father and still sought to be in his kid's life secretly, and Earl was devastated when he finally realized the truth and would have left Joy if his father didn't encourage him to stay just for the kid's sake.
** Season 4 appears to be this for the many who disliked Season 3. [[TheScrappy Ralph]] [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome never appears again]], the episode quality has increased and focuses on the list again, Randy is de-flanderized into "simple, but not retarded" and the events of the previous season are almost never mentioned.
* AwesomeMusic: If you like classic rock, you'll like this show. [[AwesomeMusic/MyNameIsEarl See the sub-page]].
* BaseBreakingCharacter:
** Joy. Some people think she's hilarious and has some redeeming qualities, others think she's a horrible {{jerkass}} who never really develops and stays the same selfish bitch from start to finish.
** Darnell. He's either a funny and kind OnlySaneMan who plays off the other characters well, a boringly perfect person, or lazy with his own quirks like everyone else. It's especially pronounced because Darnell suffers the most from DependingOnTheWriter. Then there was the secret agent plot which was either funny in its own absurd way or just bizarre and stupid even for this show.
* BizarroEpisode: As [[DVDBonusContent bonus content]] on the season 1 DVD, there is an "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MfMvc7Z4xE alternate first episode]]" where Earl sees [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Stewie Griffin]] talk about {{revenge}} instead of Carson Daly talking about karma, and he decides to go on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge. Until he gets killed by his friends and wills the show to Randy. Also a nice use of ActingForTwo with Jason Lee as a transvestite prostitute.
* DorkAge: Season 3. Earl goes to prison in order to save Joy from getting her third strike (which would never have happened in RealLife) and that leaves him unable to cross things off of his list. Then, once he is freed from prison [[note]]By getting an early release for blackmailing the warden after he shredded his good behavior certificates[[/note]] he loses his faith in Karma and goes back to being "bad Earl", gets hit by a car (again) and is comatose, again being unable to cross things off of his list[[note]]His friends and family do it for him as a way of bringing him back[[/note]]. Upon waking up from his coma, he marries Frank's ex-girlfriend Billie, who's a bigger bitch than Joy ever could be and even threatens to ''kill'' him for working on his list instead of being with her. Then after Billie joins the Camdenites, she divorces Earl and everything is back to normal by Season 4.
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: According to "O Karma, Where Art Thou?", {{Forgiveness}} will only make you a ButtMonkey and your enemy an unrepentant KarmaHoudini, ultimately leaving you no choice but {{Revenge}} anyway, which will turn out to be the only way to EarnYourHappyEnding.
* FetishRetardant: Catalina tries to use this to make herself unappealing to Randy. It works, too. Unfortunately for her, it turned out that Randy was a nigh-on SexGod.
* GeniusBonus: "Pigfoot"--the giant pig Joy tries to capture--seems like another wacky bit of legend just made up for the show. Then you find out several states in the American South have their own "Pigzilla" legends concerning gigantic swine cryptids.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** Following this series' cancellation, Creator/MikeOMalley's next recurring role is in ''Series/{{Glee}}'', where his main interaction is with his CampGay son.
** Patty once worked for a pimp named [[JerseyShore Snookie]].
** A faith healer called "God's Little Finger" wears an outfit that will look mighty familiar to fans of [[WesternAnimation/GravityFalls a certain lil' future seer...]]
** Randy freaking out over being perceived as a racist during Liberty's wrestling match can be this if the viewer first saw Ethan Suplee playing a neo-Nazi skinhead in ''Film/AmericanHistoryX.''
** The idea of Randy and Joy in a relationship in "Pinky" becomes this given that, in Series/RaisingHope, Ethan Suplee and Jaime Pressly play a married couple... and it plays out ''exactly like'' how Joy and Randy being married would play out.
* ItWasHisSled: Darnell is a former super-spy in Witness Protection.
* MemeticBadass: Erik Estrada in his [[ShowWithinAShow game show]] "''Estrada or Nada''".
* MoralEventHorizon:
** Ralph was already a petty thug, with a huge ChronicBackStabbingDisorder, but he hit a new low, when an elderly woman takes him into her home and mistakes him for her dead husband. The first thing he does is ask for his ATM number, then proceedes to take full advantage of the situation.
** Billie trying to undo all of the things Earl crossed off of his list (re-tipping the Turners' trailer over, bringing a group of tourists to make fun of the carnival people, stealing Didi's leg after she ''finally'' forgave Earl, making Nescobar A-Lop-Lop listen to his own accent, burning down Pop's Hot Dog Cart) because Earl wasn't spending enough time with her. As if that wasn't bad enough, she threatened to ''kill'' Earl after the police were called on her.
* RetroactiveRecognition: Creator/ShaileneWoodley appeared as the young Gwen Waters in the episode "BB".
* TheScrappy:
** Billie is not very well liked by the fandom. While no more flawed than any other character in the series, Earl's obsession with her and Earl's bad karma being blamed for her behavior (rather than blaming ''her'' for her behavior) left a bad taste in the mouths of many.
** Ralph is an obnoxious thug whose primary purpose is to make life harder for Earl through either ChronicVillainy, or sheer callousness. The character and his antics are usually more annoying than amusing. Thankfully he's completely absent from Season 4.
* SpecialEffectsFailure:
** The fight between Randy and Wally in "Bullies" is obviously done with stunt doubles. There are even a few instances of the doubles' faces being shown on full display and they don't even have a passing resemblance to the actors they are doubling for.
** Billie [[spoiler:getting hit by a car]] in "Bad Earl" is obvious, very poor CGI.
* {{Squick}}:
** Only this series can take sex with [[Series/DharmaAndGreg Jenna Elfman]] ''as a highly flexible cheerleader'', and turn it into ''this''.
** Little Chubby's batting cage scene.
** Joel's disfigured hand, which he aptly describes as a "clump of spastic meat".
** Joy's toe infection. Also some of Earl Jr's and Dodge's games around the trailer.
--> Get Mommy's thong off your head. You just had pinkeye!
* TakeThatScrappy: Earl punching Ralph in the face and stealing Doris from him in "Bad Earl". This is also the last episode that Ralph appears in.
* TastesLikeDiabetes: Natalie from "Faked My Own Death".
* TheWoobie: Most of the characters at various points (Joy when she loses her dream of fame, Randy when Earl tells him he doesn't stand a chance with Catalina, Earl and his dad when they go on a crying jag over their adulterous wives, and so on), but most often? Joy's kids.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot:
** The fact that Catalina longed for Randy after their night together and Randy was no longer in love with her wasn't picked up after the episode "Foreign Exchange Student." The following episode had a brief nod when Catalina smelled his hair affectionately, but it never went anywhere beyond that.
** When Joy fled to Mexico, a bounty hunter was sent after her. Instead of Jessie (who still had a bone to pick with her) they used [[Series/DogTheBountyHunter Dog]].
** In the Season 2 finale, Earl goes to prison and discovers that Ralph is his cellmate. In the very first scene of Season 3, Ralph escapes through a hole in the wall without having the smallest interaction with Earl.
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