YMMV: My Name Is Earl

  • Angst? What Angst?: 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.
  • Author's Saving Throw: 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.
  • Awesome Music: If you like classic rock, you'll like this show. See the sub-page.
  • Base Breaker: 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.
  • Bizarro Episode: As bonus content on the season 1 DVD, there is an "alternate first episode" where Earl sees Stewie Griffin talk about revenge instead of Carson Daly talking about karma, and he decides to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Until he gets killed by his friends and wills the show to Randy. Also a nice use of Acting for Two with Jason Lee as a transvestite prostitute.
  • Broken Aesop: Some people find the Aesop of Witch Lady to be this; having Earl put away his list for a day so people will stop calling him 'Karma Guy' in an episode about not letting labels define you.
  • Fetish Retardant: 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 Memetic Sex God.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Following this series' cancellation, Mike O'Malley's next recurring role is in Glee, where his main interaction is with his Camp Gay son.
    • Patty once worked for a pimp named Snookie
  • Incest Subtext: Earl and Randy are good brothers and the motel room is little, but it's still weird that Randy pedicures Earl and knows what his nipples taste like.
  • It Was His Sled: Darnell is a former super-spy in Witness Protection.
  • Marty Stu: The boringly perfect Darnell.
  • Memetic Badass: Erik Estrada in his game show "Estrada or Nada".
  • Memetic Sex God: Randy, apparently.
  • The Scrappy:
    • 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.
    • Ralph is an obnoxious thug whose primary purpose is to make life harder for Earl through either Chronic Villainy, or sheer callousness. The character and his antics are usually more annoying than amusing. Thankfully he's completely absent from Season 4.
  • Squick:
    • Only this series can take sex with 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 "spastic hunk of meat".
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Natalie from "Faked My Own Death".
  • Tear Jerker: Randy crying over Earl's comatose body wondering if he "crossed enough off his list to get into heaven".
    • Earl's reaction to seeing Earl Jr. in "Guess Who's Coming Out of Joy" counts, even more so since up to that point, he was incredibly excited about having his own son.
    • The sequence with Earl taking the fall for Joy and going to jail at the end of season 2 is thoroughly depressing. The commentary points out one particularly sad moment: when Earl is led off, Randy instinctively follows him only to be sent back.
  • The Woobie: 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.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • 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 Dog.