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Characters: My Name Is Earl

Earl Jehoshaphat Hickey

Just your average bum looking to make amends- with a Badass Mustache
Played by: Jason Lee

"Son of a bitch!"
"You might think that getting so drunk that you accidentally marry a women who's six months pregnant is a good reason to stop drinkin'. Personally, I think it's a good reason to keep drinkin'."

High school dropout ex-felon, once married to Joy, and has a witless brother named Randy, Earl J. Hickey gets handed a rotten dose of bad luck in the form of a passing car driven by an old lady plowing him down in the street right after he scores a prize-winning lotto ticket worth $100,000 bones. Not only does Earl lose the ticket, but Joy divorces him for Darnell as he sits in the hospital on morphine drips. Then, Earl saw Last Call with Carson Daly on TV from his hospital bed and learned about the concept of karma- do good things, good things happen to you; do bad things, bad things happen to you. Earl realizes that his life sucks donkey turds and if he wants to change it, he needs to fix all the problems he caused- which prompts him to write a list of almost 300 things he did on a yellow sheet of writing paper that he totes around in his flannel shirt pouches. After he starts working on the list, he's greeted with the miraculous return of the lotto ticket and cashes in a small fortune- but he still has a long way to go before he's living like a king.

Although the show got canned, the creator made sure not to let Earl be forgotten. The last we hear of his exploits is on Raising Hope- if only for ten seconds- and he somehow completed his list. How remains a Riddle for the Ages.
  • Accidental Marriage: Is tricked into marrying Joy after her girlfriends serve him "upside-down martinis".
  • Afraid of Needles
  • Anti-Hero: Earl will occasionally do nasty things when he's at wit's end with people he's trying to help, or gets pushed the wrong way. Usually, it results in an appropriate karmic response:
    • He once sucker-punched the jerkass boss at a burger joint after taking a buttload of his dickery - which set a chain of events in motion that got the guy busted for cheating and robbing the restaurant, leaving him divorced and locked up in the pokey.
    • Another time, when Earl himself got sent to jail, he helped a former junkie who accidentally set fire to his parent's house with his meth lab have the prom he never got, only for him not to reconcile with his parents, which would've allowed Earl to get enough time off his sentence to leave prison. When the guy threw it back in Earl's face, Earl went berserk and torched his cell, destroying all his paintings he made, then punched him in the face and gave him a taste of his own medicine- which finally taught him a lesson.
    • Right after this, the bumbling warden found him too valuable at fixing problems around prison, which made him look good by extension. So what does he do? Shred all of Earl's certificates for time off his sentence and snuff him when it comes time to leave, chuck him into solitary for 60 days to the point he goes cuckoo, and then threaten to add to his sentence. Not only does Earl kick him in the stomach and teabag him while in shackles on two separate occasions, with the help of his friends, both in and out of jail, he plans to bust out of prison. But after a mishap, Earl and Randy fall through a ventilation shaft right into the warden's office, take him hostage, and negotiate his release from the slammer. However, Earl questions the lack of karma kicking in and thinks after all he's been through, it's bogus. Finally, one last does of Butt Monkey antics prompts the return of Bad Earl- and karma deals him another car to the chest to punish him.
    • Despite being an atoning petty criminal, Jerkass, and a Book Dumb hick, he has a real knack for getting along with people, is actively working hard to become a better person by righting all his past wrongs, in the process making his town a better place, and is willing to make great sacrifices for the people he cares about. Sometimes he relapses, but he brings up some interesting questions on morality and what makes a good person.
  • The Atoner: The entire premise of carrying his list.
  • Badass Mustache: His signature trait, grown from a desire to have once since he was a kid.
  • Bash Brothers: With Randy.
  • Being Good Sucks: The things he goes through sometimes border on Kafka Komedy.
  • Book Dumb: Badly uneducated outside of a partial high school education. He's also uniformed about things happening in the world, mostly because he lives in a run-down apartment where news doesn't get around fast. He decides to wise up after the bank treats him like a kid and gets a G.E.D. Slowly but surely, Earl's brainpower's getting better.
  • Butt Monkey: Dear God. Earl suffers all kinds of ilk as he tackles his list. We could go on for decades about this.
    • The very worst instance was getting roped into a top-secret spy mission with Darnell when he went back into action, only to be given round-the-clock tranquilizers to block out everything he saw with absolutely no say in refusing them (while his life was constantly in danger, no less!), kept knocked out for so long he had to be put in a diaper so he wouldn't soil himself and woke up with side-effect-induced twitches.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Lampshaded in an episode where he neglects his list in favor of spending time with a beautiful woman and Laser-Guided Karma causes trouble for both of them.
  • Carpet of Virility: So much so he had a gorilla chest by early puberty- which made him afraid to pull his shirt off during swimming lessons in school- otherwise, everyone would laugh their heads off.
  • Closer to Earth: A rare gender swapped example. He is far more sensible than his ex-wife Joy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Earl gets sick of the shenanigans his buddies or the person on his list puts him through, or he can't stand Randy's stupidity or Joy's bitchiness, he'll be prone to snarking.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Earl just can't catch a break from anyone. It's a wonder he hasn't pulled a shotgun on some of the people he endures.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: The birthday party episode. It turned out to be a prank, and his friends really did give him props for the wrongs he'd righted thus far.
    • "Bad Earl" takes it to a logical extreme. Earl has let himself take the bullet for Joy by going to jail in her stead so she wouldn't get her third strike and become a lifer. It costs him a nice new home, a great job and all the respect that came with it which he fought hard to get, and then the shiftless warden screws him out of an early parole. When he returns to doing his list again, he gets humiliated and believes his misery didn't get a suitable karmic compensation. Earl decides to hell with the list and relapses into his old criminal ways- until karma catches up to him with a vengeance.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Jehoshaphat. We learn it in the Geraldo Rivera-narrated two-parter, finally revealing what the "J" stood for after four seasons.
  • The Everyman
  • Face-Heel Turn: Temporarily relapses into "Bad Earl," which pleases Ralph, who thought his list was bunk from the get-go, but scares Randy, and pisses off Joy and Darnell, who discover that drunken Earl and friends have decided to tip over their trailer. Then, he takes a car to the chest again and that's all she wrote.
  • Good Feels Good: "Do good things and good things happen."
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: His list of misdeeds... almost clocking in at 300.
  • Hair of the Dog: "Some people might think that getting so drunk you end up marrying a woman who's six months pregnant is a good reason to stop drinking. Personally, I think it's a good reason to keep drinking."
  • Heel-Face Turn: Getting T-boned by an old lady behind the wheel and losing a lotto ticket with $100,000, then being served up divorce papers in retraction on morphine will do that to you.
  • Heroic BSOD: Caused by going to jail for Joy's sake in exchange for a great job and apartment, suffering solitary confinement instead of being rewarded with early freedom, and busting out of said jail without consequence. Earl soon learns the hard way that karma's willing to kick his ass if he strays from being a nice guy.
  • Homeless Hero: Technically, since he lives in a motel after Joy took the trailer in the divorce. It never occurs to him that he can use part of the lotto money to pay for a small apartment. He does get an apartment halfway through the series, but that's using money he earned through working at Wadt Appliances. And Randy loses the apartment while Earl is in prison. The fact that Earl has no permanent residence is lampshaded when he goes to apply for a credit card.
  • Honor Before Reason: Earl often goes out of his way to fix things, even if they weren't directly his fault and the people he is helping are already happy. When something he did on his list has a snowball effect, he is especially prone to patch those things up, too.
  • Idiot Hero: Some shades of Book Dumb mixed with drunken escapades result in Earl having prime moments of stupidity. Otherwise, he's not so dim... but Randy... oh, boy...
  • Kavorka Man
  • Kick the Dog: Earl did so to one guy in prison after he got whiny and inconsiderate- so he set fire to his cell and gave him a knuckle sandwich.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Exactly what he dished out to the boss of a fast food joint after having to suffer untold humiliation and got talked down to like he was a butt-scratching chimp. Because he beat the guy up, the boss also gets his due for his crimes of cheating and stealing.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In his younger days
  • Lazy Husband: was this when he was married to Joy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sometimes, when Earl discovers the consequences of what he did to the person on his list after it effectively ruined their life, or if he unintentionally botches a plan to fix things and makes them worse when hijinks ensue.
  • Nice Guy: After changing his ways, Earl becomes an extremely nice and kindhearted individual, who goes out of his way to help anyone who needs it.
  • Only Sane Man: Most of the time. Sometimes, it's inverted, where he gets so engorged with his list, he's the loony one, and Randy usually suffers for it.
  • Porn Stache: Lampshaded when Earl teaches a class of douchebag high school students and one insults him by saying he doesn't want to grow up being a loser with a porn 'stache.
  • Really Gets Around
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: He's just about the perfect everyman.
  • Serial Spouse: Is married three times over the course of the series, and two of the marriages end in divorce; the second one was annulled.
  • Shot Gun Wedding: When he married Joy, she was pregnant the child was later found to be his.
    • Also, he briefly married his friend Ralph's elderly mother after he admitted he slept with her while drunk, to appease the man's wrath.
  • This Loser Is You: Earl realizes his life is a pile of dog crap and believes going through his list will change that- which it (somewhat) has.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: When married to Joy and later to Billie. Also inverted when he married a friend's elderly mother to make up for sleeping with her while drunk.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Has a fear of taking his shirt off in public due to being teased for having hairy nipples in Junior High- though now, the hair he's sporting is proper for his age.

Joy Darville-Turner

Played By: Jaime Pressley

Earl's ill-tempered, promiscuous ex-wife

Darnell "Crabman" Turner (Real Name: Harry Monroe)

Hey, Crabman.
Played by: Eddie Steeples

Earl's friend, and the bartender at The Crab Shack. Joy had an affair with him, and eventually left Earl for him, but in spite of this Earl and Darnell are good friends.

Randy Hickey

"Man, brains are funny. You shake 'em around hard enough and it's like, 'whoa, who's steering this ship?'"
Played By: Ethan Supplee

Earl's dim-witted brother, who continues to get into all sorts of mayhem with him.

Catalina

Played by: Nadine Velazquez

A beautiful hotel maid at the motel where Earl and Randy live, as well as a stripper at Club Chubby's. She's always got some advice for Earl, even if it's not necessarily good advice.

Patty The Daytime Hooker

Camden's most notorious prostitute, and a good friend of Earl's.

Donny Jones

A man who went to prison for a crime Earl committed, but found Jesus there and no longer lives a life of crime.
  • The Atoner
  • Ax-Crazy
  • Cloud Cuckoolander
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas
  • Eye Scream: Has bulging, somewhat disturbing "Crazy Eyes"
  • Heel-Faith Turn: Became a devout Christian while in prison for a crime Earl committed
  • Hair-Trigger Temper
  • Momma's Boy
  • Not Me This Time: He was a crook, but did not commit the particular robbery he was imprisoned for.
  • Peeping Tom: Earl paid him to peep on Joy back in the day. (A rumor was going around the trailer park about a peeping tom, and Joy was feeling unhappy about how she looked during her pregnancy. The "peeping tom" was actually Earl, trying to steal a big-screen TV.) Unfortunately for Donny, Joy got excited that the "trailer park pervert" was finally peeping on her, and her excited shouts alerted the other trailer park women. Donny was badly injured by a Sassy Black Woman with a potted fern.
  • Put on a Bus: Just vanished halfway through the first season, then reappeared in season 2 during Earl's birthday party.
  • Tattooed Crook: Inverted, as he although he got the tattoos while in prison, they are symbols of his Heel-Faith Turn

Kenny James

The first person on Earl's list, a classmate of Earl from grade school, whom Earl used to bully. Shy about his same-sex preferences, but later grows to find a partner in Stuart (and Chester- don't ask).


Didi

Earl took Didi home from the Crab Shack and slept with her. At first, he told Didi he loved her (likely influenced by alcohol) and was happy to wake up with her, but then found her prosthetic leg in the bed and freaked out. He stole money from her purse, and made off in her car with her prosthesis, and Didi has intensely hated Earl ever since. Until he finally made it up to her and she forgave him.

Billie Cunningham

The ex-girlfriend of Earl's cellmate Frank, who decides to follow in Earl's footsteps to become a better person, although she prefers to "work smarter, not harder," unlike Earl, who will do whatever it takes. Earl was initially smitten with her, but found out the hard way that having her for a wife wasn't all he thought it would be.

Ralph Mariano

A mama's boy who's out to raise some hell
Played By: Giovanni Ribisi

One of Earl's old friends. Gung-ho and stark-raving mad, Ralph loved the days when he and Earl would go looting stuff. Unlucky for him, Earl changed, and he wanted nothing to do with karma. So, where Earl does good things, Ralph does bad things- and almost always finds himself in jail following a crime spree, but Ralph's also a whiz at blowing through the holes of the criminal justice system and always seems to be back out on the streets in no time flat. The one thing he loves more than crime is his beloved mama, but when he learned Earl slept with her, he really, really blew a fuse- as in refused to let Earl do anything short of marrying her to make it up to him, and would make his buddy spit gum out his forehead if he tried to cut and run. Luckily, they worked things out.


  • Asshole Victim: Chances are, if Ralph gets arrested, he deserved it.
  • Ax-Crazy: Threatened to blow Earl's brains out if he deserted his mama- and that's not the half of his insanity.
  • Berserk Button: Screw around with his mama and he will force you to wed her. Try to run, and he'll whip out a revolver.
  • Catch Phrase: "ROCK AND ROLL!"
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Sent to jail at the drop of a hat. While the main cast goes about their daily lives, chances are he's mulling things over in jail. He might even be worthy of a "Frequent Flyer Miles" card for getting sent there so much. That being said, he probably deserved it.
  • Conveniently Cellmates: With Earl right as soon as he gets put in jail- except Ralph's being dogged by a guy threatening to stab him and gives Earl a sock filled with batteries to fend him off when they go out into the yard.
  • Easily Forgiven: Earl and Randy are always quick to forgive him. Though Ralph does suffer from others for his actions.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: VERY protective of his mama.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Can be bribed into committing any form of crime for the right price- such as burning down a rival hot dog stand.
  • For the Evulz: Ask him why he likes to burn down things- go ahead.
  • Insane Equals Violent
  • Jerk Ass: To Earl when he burned down Pops' hot dog cart.
  • Karma Houdini: Although Ralph generally does get punished for his actions (thus proving he's not a member of this trope), the fact that Earl believed he became one due to not getting retribution for taking advantage of a senile old woman results in his forsaking The List.
  • Laser-Guided Karma
  • Money, Dear Boy: Why he burned down P's HD Cart...both times.
  • Moral Myopia
  • Put on a Bus: After Earl end's up in another coma after getting hit by a car in season 3, Ralph is never seen again for the rest of the series.
  • Pyromaniac
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • Shot Gun Wedding: Imposes one on Earl to make amends for sleeping with his mama.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: He'll ditch his friends for money on the fly.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The only guy out of the original thieving gang Earl formed with Randy and Joy who's still an outright crook.

Natalie Duckworth:

Earl's ex-girlfriend. He faked his own death to get out of the relationship, because he found her too clingy but also didn't want to hurt her feelings.

Jessie:

Another ex-girlfriend of Earl's. He had started dating her three weeks earlier, only to be tricked into marrying a very pregnant Joy. When Jessie hears that Joy has a bounty on her head, she becomes a bounty hunter in an attempt to make her suffer.

Nescobar Aloplop:

A friend of Earl's, whom Earl helped to learn English (in order to make up for making fun of people's accents).

Willie the One-Eyed Mailman:

Camden's mailman. He lost his eye after Joy smashed a framed poster of Earl's with a bowling ball, and he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Woody:

A former stoner that Earl robbed blind one hot summer. After a skydiving mishap, Woody got clean and moved to a hippie commune.

  • Drugs Are Bad: Even though he's been clean for a couple of years at least, his heavy marijuana use gave him some brain damage; he's still kind of slow. (Not as slow as Randy, but still slow.)
  • Green Aesop: Teaches Earl about global warming...but also teaches him that he doesn't have to do anything monumental.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie
  • Nice Guy
  • Noodle Incident: The skydiving accident, and what exactly spurred his decision to live "off the grid."
  • The Stoner: Formerly
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Has no recollection of the skydiving accident other than waking up in the middle of nowhere. Justified because of his heavy marijuana use.

Carl Hickey:

Earl's father, who resents him for all his childhood antics.

  • The Comically Serious
  • Exiled to the Couch: At an anniversary party back either late in The Seventies or early in The Eighties, Earl slipped one of his friend's mom's "happy pills" into Carl's whiskey. Which resulted in him goosing female guests, and attempting to start a key party. Kay was not amused.
  • Grumpy Old Man
  • Manly Tears: After finding out about the affair his wife had with a former neighbor of theirs...and that she had kept it from him for all those years.
  • Parents as People: Resents Earl, but also cares about him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gives Earl one of these when Earl attempted to leave Joy after Earl Jr. was born.
  • Workaholic: Earl recalls that his dad was always at work. Mainly to get away from his less-than-wonderful marriage to Kay, and his troublemaker sons.

Kay Hickey:

Earl's mother. She dotes on Earl and Randy, in contrast to her husband.

Iqbal

The convenience store clerk where Earl got the lottery ticket.

Frank

Earl's old friend and roommate. He planned a big robbery, and almost got away with it too, until he and Paco plowed into an FBI van. The same FBI van that was dropping off Harry Munroe so he could start his new life as Darnell Turner in Witness Protection.

  • Affably Evil
  • Blond Guys Are Evil
  • Break the Cutie: Being dumped by Billie was really hard on him.
  • Break Up to Make Up: Earl convinces him to (gently) break up with Billie again so that she could get back on the right path.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander
  • Dating Catwoman: Billie was a kind nursing student, until Frank introduced her to stealing. This trope is also inverted: when Frank hears that Billie has once again gone to The Dark Side, he falls in love with her again and gets into a huge fight with Earl over her.
  • Fruit of The Loon: Is moved to a halfway house, where they spike the food with tranquilizers to keep the inmates under control. Since Frank has not been eating, Randy gives him an apple slice he'd been carrying around.
  • Love Triangle: Still in love with Billie after the breakup, but Earl is trying to date her.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Eventually is able to let Billie go.
  • Irony: He subletted his kitchen to Earl and Randy, they owned his trailer (at least while Earl was still married to Joy). They also drive his old El Camino, and Earl briefly marries Billie.
  • Naked People Are Funny: With some help from Earl and Randy, he posts a nude photo of himself on a billboard in order to win Billie back, seeing as she had dumped him for showing Earl her naked picture. It's played for every laugh it's worth.
  • Second Love: Believes he will never find love again after the demise of his seven-year relationship with Billie, but eventually finds love again with her cousin Jocelyn.

Josh

A docker at Bargain Bin, he accidentally got kidnapped by Joy and Earl while unloading a truck. He escapes alive and unharmed, since Earl and Joy did not mean to hold him hostage, but unfortunately dies in his own apartment. Earl has to figure out how to make up for kidnapping him.

Ruby

The attorney that the court appointed for Joy, she falls in love with Earl. Their relationship is short-lived, however, as Earl goes to prison. Earl once robbed her before they met, which puts strain on their relationship.

Judy:

A woman who dotes on her show-cat, Sebastian, that Earl once stole and placed in the home of an old woman so Joy's cat would have an edge in the Camden cat show. She also dates Randy briefly.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: It takes Randy a while to realize this, but she has lost the ability to differentiate between the best ways to show affection towards a human and towards a cat. When Randy does realize it, he is horrified and upset.
  • Break the Cutie: Losing Sebastian was really hard on her, especially as it's implied that she did not have many human companions in her life.
  • Break Up to Make Up: Judy and Randy break up so they can each live a better life. They break up on pretty good terms too; Randy doesn't even feel the need to wallow in grief and play "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper on endless loop like he usually does when he gets dumped!
  • Christmas Cake
  • Cloud Cuckoolander
  • Crazy Cat Lady
  • Dying Alone: Her biggest fear
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Randy moves in with her right away.
  • Love Interest
  • Love Martyr: Will do anything for Randy, up to and including giving up her beloved cat.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Randy is certainly not a bad guy, but he's slow, clumsy, and awkward, and yet Judy loves him anyway.
  • Not Good with People
  • Romantic False Lead: Her purpose is to help Randy gain more confidence with women and being his real clumsy awkward self around them. Likewise, he helps her see that there's more to life than her cat.
  • Tsundere: Type B
  • Unfortunate Implications: She implies that due to her mother's criticism of her weight, she struggled with an eating disorder and alcoholism, and became rather isolated and lonely.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gets one from Randy, after he sees that she's been treating him like a cat for the duration of their relationship

John the Artist:

A fellow inmate at the Camden prison, known for his paintings. Earl attempts to help him reconnect with his parents, but things don't go according to plan.

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