YMMV / My Name Is Earl

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: 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 Depending on the Writer, Randy swings between kinda slow but competent and borderline mental retardation.
  • 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-Breaking Character: 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.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: According to "O Karma, Where Art Thou?", Forgiveness will only make you a Butt Monkey and your enemy an unrepentant Karma Houdini, ultimately leaving you no choice but Revenge anyway, which will turn out to be the only way to Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • 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 Sex God.
  • Genius Bonus: "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.
  • 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.
    • A faith healer called "God's Little Finger" wears an outfit that will look mighty familiar to fans of 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 American History X.
    • The idea of Randy and Joy in a relationship in "Pinky" becomes this given that, in Raising Hope, Ethan Suplee and Jaime Pressly play a married couple... and it plays out exactly like how Joy and Randy being married would play out.
  • Incest Subtext:
    • Earl and Randy are good brothers and the motel room is small, but it's still weird that Randy pedicures Earl and knows what his nipples taste like.
    • Earl and Randy sleep in the same bed. Their usual wake up routine includes Earl announcing to Randy some variation of "Wakey wakey, hands off snakey." In one episode Earl announces "Rise and shine... hands off mine!"
  • 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".
  • Moral Event Horizon: Ralph was already a petty thug, with a huge Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder, 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.
  • 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".
    • 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!
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Natalie from "Faked My Own Death".
  • 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.
    • 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/MyNameIsEarl