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Earl Jehoshaphat Hickey
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: As shown in "South of the Border Part Uno".
- 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.
- Being Good Sucks: The things he goes through sometimes border on Kafka Komedy.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: He was struck by car in the first episode which convinces him to change his ways and he was hit by a car again when he returned to being bad. At one point Earl felt incredibly guilty for unintentionally ruining Mr Patricks life when he worked in a fast food place but Randy reassured him that Karma could of possibly borrowed Earls fist to give Mr Patrick divine retribution because he was a horrible person who received no consequences for his actions and the people who had good karma finally got rewarded after Mr Patricks incarceration.
- 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.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Downplayed example. While Earl's childhood seemed like it would be pretty good (he lived in a nice house in the suburbs), it's shown that his parents would fight a lot (during which he retreated to watching TV and imagined living in a "perfect" family like the ones on TV), and his dad spent a lot of time at work (and when he was home, he was grumpy and resentful of Earl).
- 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.
- Destructive Romance: When he was married to Joy, and later when he's married to Billie.
- 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: Everything about him screams "average joe."
- 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 Catalina (as Earl was being a pervert to her at Club Chubby), 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."
- Good Is Not Soft: He's willing to kick a person's ass if they sufficiently prove to deserve it.
- 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 B.S.O.D.: 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 Waddt 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...
- Jerkass: Prior to starting his list, Earl was quite possibly the worst person in Camden County. Which is saying something.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When the people he tries to help become too difficult to reason with or become too demanding then he will become aggressive and possibly harm the person which makes them realise the errors of their ways or realise that they have no real reason to be afraid of their problems because it can always be worse.
- Karma Houdini: Played straight in flashbacks, averted after getting hit by a car.
- Kavorka Man: While not unattractive, Earl is very scruffy, technically homeless and is more or less a loser all around. While his Nice Guy attitude and general heroism makes romance seem more plausible, the majority of his relationships occurred before his Heel–Face Turn.
- 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 he was already a Jerkass.
- 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: Bad Earl got a lot of tail. Good Earl isn't so lucky.
- The Reliable One: It reaches a point where everyone in Camden County goes to him when there's a problem.
- 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.
- Technical Pacifist: Earl refrains from fighting whenever possible, but when he's forced to take action, he'll kick your ass in a second.
- The Unfavorite: His parents disowned him, but still secretly kept in touch with Randy. Averted once Earl finally convinces them he's changed.
- 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.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Inverted. As the show goes on he goes from an Idiot Hero to Book Dumb to the Only Sane Man and, while still far from intelligent, comes off as one of the only sensible people in the show.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He initially begins his list out of a drug-induced misinterpretation of the concept of karma, but seeing the result of several of his hijinks, along with feeling a sense of accomplishment in the first time in his life both lead to him becoming a legitimately good person, to the point of verging on an All-Loving Hero.
- 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.
- Your Son All Along: While for three seasons it was believed that Earl was not the father of Dodge and simply could not do it physically, the finale of the last season reveals that Earl is actually his biological father.
- 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.
- Played By: Jaime Pressley
- Action Girl: All those years watching Springer really paid off.
- Amicable Exes: She and Earl are divorced but still are friends with each other. Earl even said right after their divorce that despite how crazy she was, he did miss being married to her.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Surprisingly subverted, although she is quite verbally abusive to Earl, the episode where she's on trial has all these instances brought back against her. Though Earl takes the bullet for her regardless which is mostly just to show how selfless he can be.
- Dumb Blonde: She isn't very smart.
- Going Commando: Has a habit of doing this from time to time. Even on her wedding day.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: She's once described as a "tiny pink Hulk."
- Heel Realization: Joy angrily berates other mothers at the park for excluding her sons from group activities with the other children. Then she realizes that the other mothers were just trying to avoid her, and that her abrasiveness is what's keeping her kids from joining the group. At the end of the episode, Joy is watching her boys have fun at the park with the other kids from the parking lot.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Pretty hidden, but it's there.
- Hot-Blooded: Very hot blooded.
- Jerk Ass: Cheats on Earl, verbally abuses and even hits him, leaves him for a mutual friend while he's hospitalized, and tries to kill him to get his lottery winnings
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Can be nice (and even helpful) sometimes. Subverted, though, in that usually only if something's in it for her. That said, she did take in Randy after Earl went to prison and is a genuinely loving mother and wife.
- The Lancer: The most hostile and argumentative of the group with Earl.
- Mama Bear: God help you if you hurt her kids.
- Megaton Punch: Her right hook can knock any man (or woman) into next Tuesday.
- Never My Fault: Constantly blames Earl for things, that were because of her own doing. Subverted in "The Bounty Hunter", where she stops Earl from blaming himself over leaving Jesse over her and takes care of the problem herself.
- Proud Beauty: While certainly attractive, she is the one to point it out the most.
- Really Gets Around: She even has a phone book full of the number of guys she's boned, and after a mix-up caused by Randy, they all show up at Earl and Joy's one-year anniversary.
- Shot Gun Wedding: Tricks Earl into marrying her in Las Vegas while she was pregnant with an unknown man's (later found to be Earl's) child.
- Sick Episode: Contracts a flesh-eating toe disease from a hottub Earl gives her (because it was previously inhabited by a homeless man with the same disease)
- Tsundere: Type-A example, usually involving Darnell and the kids.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Was the hot wife when she was married to Earl.
- Your Cheating Heart: Results in a Chocolate Baby, and later the end of Earl and Joy's (rather dysfunctional from the start) marriage.
Darnell "Crabman" Turner (Real Name: Harry Monroe)
- Played by: Eddie Steeples
- Afro Asskicker: Has an afro and is a trained government assassin.
- Badass Bookworm: He is the most intelligent of the group, as well as, An ex-government assassin.
- Black Best Friend: To Earl despite the affair and stealing Joy.
- Characterization Marches On: In the early episodes, he appeared to be as vacuous and ignorant as Joy and the others. This was before the writers revealed his past and the fact that he is actually very intelligent.
- Easily Forgiven: Earl doesn't seem too bothered about him stealing Joy nor is Darnell particularly annoyed about Earl sleeping with her
- Erudite Stoner: A smart guy who likes marijuana.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Is almost always referred as Crabman, by everyone except Joy.
- Henpecked Husband: Being a (mostly) nice guy married to Joy means being this.
- Hitman with a Heart: Was originally a government assassin, until one of his marks turned out to be a child.
- Laser-Guided Tykebomb: Was trained from childhood to be a government assassin by his father, which led to his being placed in Witness Protection after he retired.
- Nice Guy: Subverted, though, because he slept with a friend's wife.
- Noodle Incident: He had a sister named Pam who was killed by honesty, according to Joy.
- The Smart Guy: By far, the smartest of the group.
- Team Dad: He is the most mature of the group.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Despite being the Team Dad, The Smart Guy, and generally the most reasonable, he still has his moments. The most notable? When he resolved to kill Catalina (when Joy had her pinned against a wall with a lawnmower) to keep her from telling the police and potentially giving Joy her third strike. Even Joy (who has said on numerous occasions that she'd kill Catalina) thinks this is outrageous.
- Witness Protection: He is in it because he testified against his employers.
- Played By: Ethan Supplee
- Addiction-Powered: At exactly four beers, he becomes much more competent, as well as a con man.
- Afraid of Blood: Always faints at the sight of blood.
- Annoying Laugh: A wheezy, lengthy chuckle/guffaw that grates on people's ears but makes the audience crack up.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Although the show never gives an answer to this question or even raise this topic at all, it is fairly obvious that Randy has some kind of mental problems, such as developmental delays or dementia, judging by his extremely childish behavior and strange thinking.
- The Big Guy: He is physically the largest member of the gang.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He is normally very friendly and seems harmless, but he's not. Especially when fueled with Shark Adrenaline.
- Borrowed Catch Phrase: Loves to shout, "RIIIIIICOLAAAAA!!" in places with good acoustic echoes.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Not until he's had exactly four beers, anyway.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: He absolutely loves reminiscing about cartoons, movies, anything that amuses him, and especially E.T.- but he's badly distracted by doing so.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: In O' Karma Where Art Thou Randy reassured Earl that Karma didn't have a fist (or any other body parts after some thought) and just borrowed Earls fist to give Mr. Patrick divine retribution.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Will get caught in a loop sometimes while trying to think things through or his brain will take the long way around to work out a conclusion. Just don't mention the words Catalina and half-naked in the same sentence, or he'll blank out over and over- maybe not so much now after the Unrequited Love Switcheroo. He also gets stuck in a loop after watching Back to the Future, according to Earl.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Occasionally says something smart.
- Dumb Is Good: Almost nobody blames him for the stuff he did in the Bad Earl days. Even his own parents kept in touch with Randy after disowning Earl for these reasons.
- Dumb Muscle: Strong enough to rip a phone cord out of a wall with little effort, and on shark adrenaline, mutilate a phone by slapping it into his head.
- Fat Idiot: He's fat and a dumbass.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Temporarily developed this when he had shark adrenaline injected into his nuts.
- The Hat Makes the Man: Inverted. Randy has a bad habit (at least in Earl's opinion) of claiming any stray hat he finds just lying around abandoned and then donning it and inventing a stupidly contrived personality to go along with it, which pisses off Earl to no end.
- Insane Equals Violent: Hunger makes Randy go into an angry, dizzy Hulk sort of reaction. Shark adrenaline makes him Ax-Crazy.
- Insane Troll Logic: A common byproduct of his rambling conversations.
- Kavorka Man: Despite being a lazy manchild, Randy racks up a respectable haul of tail.
- The Load: The times Randy is actually useful is outnumbered by the times whatever trouble Earl finds himself in can be directly attributed to Randy. Then there's the times where he just makes things worse, which is every single time it's possible.
- Manchild: There's few as extreme as him.
- Nice Guy: Despite his idiocy, he's one of the sweetest guys you could ever meet.
- Non Sequitur: He tries to carry conversations, but drifts into wonderland all the time.
- No Social Skills: Although he tries really hard.
- Perma-Stubble: Always sports it.
- Satellite Character: He is dependent on Earl even in the most trivial things (which food to pick for example). After Earl's imprisonment, he is forced to develop a free will on his own, and a more healthy relationship with his brother.
- Moreover, he found his Goal in Life in helping Earl.
- Sex God: Catalina learned this after an attempt to drive Randy away by giving him disgusting sex. She immediately regrets her actions but it is too late.
- Tastes Like Feet : Randy knows what a lot of things taste like, as he frequently licks things. "This chicken tastes like... zoo."
- Testosterone Poisoning: After getting shark adrenaline pumped into his nads, Randy goes into an uber power-crazed, macho muscleman mindset, with a Hair-Trigger Temper and frightening distorted voice when he turns furious.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Is insanely gaga over Catalina from day one and even gets a green card marriage, but one night of deliberately disgusting sex on her part wipes it all out. If only Catalina had mulled over the possibility of actually enjoying making love to Randy...
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Terrorized by birds more so than cats. It's thanks to a Noodle Incident where he burned down a barn at a summer camp.
- Played by: Nadine Velazquez
- Almighty Janitor: Sometimes, particularly in the first two seasons.
- Ambiguously Bi: Made out with another stripper on stage, dubbed herself 'a chapstick lesbian' for some time before finding Paco again, fantasized about Billie ("I imagined this would end with our bare breasts pressed against one another, our smooth legs intertwined"), had a foursome with Kenny, Crabman, and Patty
- Ascended Extra: At the beginning of the series, she had almost no impact on the plot. But further down the line, she gets her own story arc.
- Bilingual Bonus: Her "insults" in Spanish to Joy are actually Breaking the Fourth Wall to Spanish-speaking viewers, usually thanking them for watching.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: After Randy confesses his love for her she tries to figure out a way to make him lose that feeling, Joy convinces her to sleep with him while being as disgusting as possible. This ends up backfiring when she realizes how good he is in bed but he ends up being disgusted with the smell and loses all feelings for her. Ouch.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She killed her mother (in self-defense), beat up Earl with a broomstick after he acted inappropriate with her, and mugged a group of Crab Shack patrons after Patty stole her handbag.
- The Chick: The most moral of the group, to the point of occasionally acting as Earl's conscience.
- Citizenship Marriage: Marries Randy to get back into the country although she actually wanted to marry Earl. Because of the bad sex (see above), it doesn't work out so well. We are not told, however, if they are still (legally) married, or if they got a divorce at some point.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Has witnessed multiple Kidnappings and even once killed someone.
- The Illegal: She came to America in a box.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Starts out as this, eventually becoming a more blatant example.
- Meido: Works as a hotel maid.
- Meta Guy: A couple of times. She Lampshaded first season's ending, for example.
- Ms. Fanservice: She is a quite attractive girl that works as an erotic dancer, and we get to see it more than once.
- Naďve Everygirl: She's very unaware of how things operate in America.
- Noodle Incident: Apparently killed her mother during a fight. "It was either her or me."
- Later averted when we see in a back-story that the two of them fought to see who would go to America and who would wind up dying to give a kidney to the smuggler's sister.
- Self-Made Orphan: See Noodle Incident.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Has this kind of relationship with Joy, because the latter called her a whore at their first meeting.
- Stripperific: Justified, as she is, in fact, a stripper in addition to working as a hotel maid.
- Team Mom: Up there with Darnelle as the most reasonble out the group.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Often this with regards to relationships.
- You Don't Want to Die a Virgin, Do You?: This prompts her to have a four-way with Darnell, Patti, and Kenny in a phone booth. Also, to Rage Against the Heavens a bit."I'm gonna die a virgin! *all look at her* I was saving myself for marriage...I hope You're impressed! And that You exist!"
Patty The Daytime Hooker
"I tried, Earl! I did! Lord sakes, I even pulled out my good boob!"Camden's most notorious prostitute, and a good friend of Earl's.
- Almighty Janitor: Dispite being just a hooker, she probably has lived a much fuller life than anyone in the series, and is surprisingly intellegent.
- Anything That Moves: Well, anything that moves and pays her.
- Badass Bookworm: One of the few Camdenites to possess a college education.
- Catholic Schoolgirls Rule: Went to Catholic school, and transformed her uniform into the fetishized version. Tries to invoke the trope again 20-30 years later during a drag race. It does not work.
- '80s Hair: Actually, her entire getup looks like she never quite left The '80s.
- Fan Disservice: She's middle-aged and not very attractive, which is actually a more accurate representation of Real Life prostitutes.
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Specializes in catering to Camden's kinkier tastes.
- Hidden Depths: Is noticeably smarter and more experienced than many other characters.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Is very kind, and always willing to help out Earl.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Was very pretty when young.
- Kavorka Man: Has slept with practically every straight or bisexual man in Camden County at least once (and all of them enjoyed it), even though she looks to be well into her 40's or 50's, and is very open about being a prostitute.
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: Became this after going to prison and finding Jesus.
- Ax-Crazy: Before his salvation, everyone was afraid of him and for good reasons.
- Eye Scream: Has bulging, somewhat disturbing "Crazy Eyes".
- Heel–Faith Turn: Became a devout Christian while in prison for a crime Earl committed
- 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.
The first person that Earl helps out, 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).
- Camp Gay: Yes and no. While quite effeminate, he's not quite fabulous.
- Club Kid: Becomes this after Earl helps him break out of his shell
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: In the COPS episodes, which took place before he came out.
- Nice Guy: Part of the reason Earl feels so bad about hurting him and why they become friends thereafter.
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.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Didi is implied to have a couple of screws loose in her head.
- Ax-Crazy: The sight of Earl immediately send her into a homicidal rage.
- Agony of the Feet: Makes Earl hop on one leg all day as punishment for abandoning her and not returning her prosthesis.
- Berserk Button: Earl. (before he made amends with her).
- Easily Forgiven: Ziz-zagged. Earl tries to make up with her several times, but never gets the chance due to Didi immediately trying to hurt/kill him on sight (not that she doesn't have a good reason). In late season 3, Earl discovers where he stashed her leg and learns Didi has been forced to hop around without until now. He finally gets her to cool off in the midst of an enraged blowup at seeing him again. She has him make up for this by doing the same until his one foot is as sore is hers, but she lets him enjoy the other half of the foot bath she never uses and quickly makes peace with him now that she knows he's really turned a new leaf. They become good friends afterwards.
- Fiery Redhead: She has red hair and is very aggressive when enraged.
- Handicapped Badass: Lost her leg in a minefield during wartimes, explaining why she's such a good shot with a gun- she's ex-military.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: She gets a Handicapped Badass boyfriend mid-series, who's ready to beat the crap out of Earl at a moment's notice.
- Informed Flaw: The only one that seems to have a problem with the fact that she only has one real leg is Earl. This was quite a bit before Earl's Heel–Face Turn however.
- Meta Casting: The actress that plays her actually does only have one leg.
- Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: The only reason Earl didn't at least stay for breakfast after their one-night stand (if not actually date her) was because he was shocked and upset that she only had one leg.
- Running Gag: "Number 86: Stole a car from a one-legged girl". And it takes Earl three seasons to cross her off due to her Ax-Crazy temper.
- Yandere: YOU SAID YOU LOVED ME!!! (While blasting a shotgun at Earl). In all fairness he did steal her car and ditch her after sex, but it's not like she couldn't have let the police deal with it.
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.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played straight with Frank, subverted with Earl.
- Dating Catwoman: Getting into a relationship with Frank was not the best decision she ever made.
- Expy: Deconstructed: She wants to get on the right path, but has very different ideas than Earl about what constitutes making things up to people. And she even goes so far as to undo what Earl has done when she feels she isn't getting enough attention from him.
- Face–Heel Turn: When she met the guy she was with before marrying Earl, she was a good person. Her boyfriend, however, introduced her to stealing (which gave her a rush), and she became his partner in crime.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At least in the beginning, before becoming a complete Jerk Ass, and finally becoming a genuinely nice person.
- Heel–Faith Turn: Joins an Amish-like settlement when hiding out on their land, and finds inner peace and becomes a better person.
- High-Heel–Face Turn: Wants to follow in Earl's footsteps after hearing about his list and breaking up with her boyfriend.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Earl is focused on the list instead of sex with her, she goes and undoes everything Earl has already crossed off the list.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: Earl finds out the hard way that being married to Billie is nothing like The '50s Dom Com he pictured while in a coma.
- Unholy Matrimony: Was this to the guy she was with before meeting Earl.
Played By: Giovanni RibisiOne 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.
- Boisterous Weakling: Acts tough, but if he doesn't have a gun, he'll be taking out pretty easily.
- 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.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Get's information out of Randy, by tying him in the shower, flushing the toilet so the burns him.
- 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.
- Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder: He'll throw anyone under the bus, for even the smallest of rewards.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: He tries to sucker punch Earl. while Calling Your Attacks. It last two seconds.
- Easily Forgiven: Earl and Randy are always quick to forgive him. Though Ralph does suffer from others for his actions.
- Establishing Character Moment: Randomly steeling stuff he didn't even need, in his first appearance.
- 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.
- Evil Can Not Comprehend Good: When Earl explains why he pulled a Heel–Face Turn, he only listens to the part where he got money, and tries to "reform" only to give up in less then a day, after realizing it doesn't come immediately. Later in the series, he's shown to generally not get why Earl wouldn't want to join in his old life style. At one point, after burning an old man's hot dog stand down, he assumes Earl will only be mad because he didn't cut him in on the deal.
- For the Evulz: Ask him why he likes to burn down things- go ahead.
- Freudian Excuse: Subverted. Earl intentionally feels responsible for Ralph becoming a crook, because he's the one who introduced him to stealing. But all things considered, this doesn't really explain his borderline sociopath tendencies.
- I Banged Your Mom: Earl had sex with his mother after the woman Earl was originally going to have sex with was passed out drunk from jello shots.
- 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.
- Kick the Dog: Pretty much does this in every appearance.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Earl admits this, at one point.
- Noodle Incident: Apparently, he stole a dog off screen.
- Pet the Dog: He was willing to cut off his own toe, to help the gang out. (From a situation, that's his fault.)
- Put on a Bus: After Earl ends 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: Burned down Pop's Hot Dog Cart twice.
- 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.
- Too Dumb to Live: He's not too bright.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Is the only character who outright wishes that Earl become bad again.
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.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Well, at least the "clingy" part. She doesn't have a jealous bone in her body.
- Extreme Doormat: Earl helps her get over this.
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Is rather a jerk-magnet, because she's such a doormat.
- Naughty by Night: Went to the Crab Shack on Halloween dressed in a slutty biker-chick costume, and even took Earl home with her, but the next morning, even she is shocked by her actions. In fact, she ended up losing her virginity that night!
- Please Dump Me: Earl tries this on her, but it doesn't work.
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.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Stealing her boyfriend and knocking out her teeth will cause her to undergo Training from Hell to take you down.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Trades her cat in for a large dog during her training, just to show how tough she is.
- It's Personal: She wants to become a bounty hunter, just so she can take Joy in as vengeance for a) stealing her boyfriend and b) knocking out her two front teeth.
- Office Lady: When she met Earl, she was a secretary at the bail bondsman's office Earl frequented.
- Training from Hell: Puts herself through this to become a bounty hunter.
A friend of Earl's, whom Earl helped to learn English (in order to make up for making fun of people's accents).
- Cloud Cuckoolander: To be fair, he does live in Camden.
- Crazy Cultural Comparison: Believes that when a stripper gives him a lapdance, he is legally married to her.
- Funny Foreigner: He comes from one of the Congos.
- Omniglot: He likes to learn languages; English is only one of them.
- Meta Casting: The actor that plays him speaks 6 different languages fluently.
- Sticky Fingers: Compulsively steals pens. Only pens, though. Even he doesn't understand why.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Often adds "Bitch" to the end of sentences.
Willie the One-Eyed Mailman
Camden's mailman. He lost his eye after Joy smashed Earl's Def Leppard wall mirror with a bowling ball, and he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Dissonant Serenity: Noticeably undisturbed by most of the mayhem that happens around him.
- The Quiet One: Most of the time he doesn't speak. He does have a few lines, though.
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.
- Noodle Incident: The skydiving accident, and what exactly spurred his decision to live "off the grid."
- 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.
Earl's father, who resents him for all his childhood antics.
- Exiled to the Couch: At an anniversary party back either late in The '70s or early in The '80s, 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: He doesn't have much patience with his sons.
- Heel–Face Turn: He warms up to Earl again after he sees Earl really has changed.
- 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.
- No Sympathy: Seeing his son in tears because his wife had a baby with another man his only response is "I want my Indian rattle back"
- 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.
Earl's mother. She dotes on Earl and Randy, in contrast to her husband.
- Alcoholic Parent: Implied.
- Doting Parent: She is much quicker to forgive Earl for his bad deeds than Carl after he changes.
- Minnesota Nice: At least in terms of being a bit passive-aggressive and making an effort to always be polite. It's unknown whether she actually is from Minnesota or not, though.
- Parents as People: Likes Randy better, because although he did almost as much bad stuff as Earl, he wasn't the brains behind it."One of you is bad, the other is just simple. Earl, you're bad."
- Your Cheating Heart: Once had an ill-advised affair with their next-door neighbor. She did regret it, though.
The convenience store clerk where Earl got the lottery ticket.
- Asian Store-Owner: Well, it's never confirmed whether or not he actually owns the store.
- Bi the Way: Although he is a frequent client of Patty, he is also seen at Camden's gay bar.
- Coitus Uninterruptus: Witnesses the infamous "phone booth orgy" between Darnell, Patty, Catalina, and Kenny.
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: He's a nice guy but is perfectly willing to use a pregnant Joy as a hostage.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Dead Guy on Display: At his second funeral he is displayed doing what he loved best: sitting in front of the computer.
- Due to the Dead: Wants to receive a proper funeral
- Dying Alone: Subverted; it seems like he has no social life, but All his friends are online.
- The Everyman: Lives a very normal, average life
- Ghostly Goals: Appears to both Earl and Joy in a dream, informing them that he wants a proper burial.
- Operator from India: Goes on weekly Skype dinner dates with one of these.
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.
- All Women Are Lustful: Likes to flirt with men, much to the annoyance of her (male) interpreter.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Earl breaks up with her when he's sent to prison, so she wouldn't have to wait around for him to get out.
- Love Interest: To Earl at the end of Season 2.
- Meta Casting: Is played by deaf actress Marlee Matlin
- Second-Act Breakup: When she sees that she's on Earl's list, she gets angry with Earl and leaves him. They get back together when Earl takes the fall for Joy, but it doesn't last long.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Drugs Are Bad: Landed in prison because his meth lab caught fire
- Must Make Amends: When he sees what a Jerkass he's been, he paints all the family photos that got destroyed in the fire, that he had memorized while stoned.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Earl's manly man
- The Stoner: So much so that his parents refused to let him go to his high school prom because they were worried for his behind-the-wheel safety
- Too Dumb to Live: Took the time to complete his painting instead of either a) attempting to put out the fire or b) getting out of the house.
- Unfortunate Names: Laments that he has "two toilets" in his name (his first name being "John," the middle name being "Lou."
Joy's half-sister, who had her identity stolen by Earl during a standoff with Joy in a parking lot. She dreams of becoming a famous wrestler. Her husband, however, wants to start a family. Earl convinces Joy to become a surrogate mother, so that Liberty can fulfill her dreams... and Ray-Ray can have the child he wants.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Her relationship with Joy drastically improves after Joy agrees to be her surrogate.
- Berserk Button: Do not say anything about the size of her butt!
- Black Gal on White Guy Drama: She is an Expy of Joy, interracial marrage and all.
- Cat Fight: Airs out her grievances in a fight with Joy, after Joy poses as Liberty's wrestling Heel.
- Chosen Conception Partner: Eventually, she agrees to let Joy be a surrogate for her.
- Expy: Of Joy. And, like Joy married a laid-back black man, Liberty married a laid-back white man (who also, like Darnell, wears a tank top and keeps a pet reptile.)
- Face: She plays "Lady Liberty," a character who seeks racial justice (although is often held back by her manager, Da Man). She pays her next-door neighbor to play "The Klanimal."
- Hidden Depths: The reason she hates Joy so much is that Joy got to grow up with their father, and she never had a father figure.
- Long-Lost Relative: She is Joy's half-sister, as a result of their father's philandering with black women.
- Malcolm Xerox: A rare female example, at least in Kayfabe
- Sassy Black Woman: Both as her "real"-world personality and her Kayfabe persona
- Wrestling Family: She plays "Lady Liberty," and her husband plays Lady Liberty's evil manager.
The son of local business man and richest man in Camden. He was once a huge Jerk Ass, who constantly abused his power to bully Camden's citizens, until he was kicked in the balls. An act that left him laying on the floor, while everyone laughed at him. For the first time, showing exactly how well liked he was. This eventually lead to a Heel–Face Turn. But it turns out that was just because, the damage to his testicles, cut off his flow of testosterone. And as it turned out, the reason behind his families behavior was a huge overflow of said substance. Causing him to go back to his old ways, after having reconstructive surgery.
- Ax-Crazy: Probably the most dangerous character on the show.
- Being Good Sucks: The reason for his finally Face–Heel Turn: Being a nice guy, meant he was to soft to run the family strip club.
- Big Bad: Of the series finale.
- Cloudcuckoolander: When choosing a new pair, for his ball transplant, he chooses BULL!!! balls.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Throws people who made him angry, in the meat locker.
- Cool Hat: Sports a nice cowboy hat.
- Cut Your Heart Out With A Spoon: He threatens to cut Joy's pig tails off, if she doesn't drink Randy's rat tail.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Apparently his answer to women claiming to he knocked them up, is showing them both a bus ticket and his gun. Also, he through s a man in a freezing cold meat locker, for accidentally scratching his car.
- The Dreaded: The most feared man and Camden. For good reason.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Is not too happy, when Earl accedently burns his fathers grave.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Apparently, he liked to "hang out" with random people, just to pull Kick the Dog moments.
- Good Feels Good: Finds happiness, while helping a group of African natives.
- Groin Attack: What triggers his Heel Realization.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: He changes sides, a total of four times.
- Heel Realization: After being left vulnerable for the first time and seeing everyone laugh at him, he realizes this. Happens again, when he goes back to his old ways.
- Jerk Ass: Basically, his whole persona, before his Heel Realization.
- Kick the Dog: His introduction begins with him doing these to the whole cast.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Not only did he buy out the Chief of Police and the Mayor, but there's apparently a city ordnance, saying anyone who so much accuses him of the a crime, will be arrested on bogus charges.
- Sinister Surveillance: Has cameras all over Camden.
- Supervillain Lair: Bought out butcher shop that was next to his strip club, to use as an office. This is also the hub, for his network of cameras across town and where he deals with people, by using the old meet locker as a make shift torture room.
- Sadist: He seems to enjoy the sufferings of others.
- Walking the Earth: After the Groin Attack that caused him to look back on his life, he did this.