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Characters / My Name Is Earl

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Main characters

     Earl, Joy, Darnell, Randy and Catalina

    Earl Jehoshaphat Hickey
Just your average bum looking to make amends - with an epic mustache.
Played by: Jason Lee, Noah Crawford (as a child/teen)

"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".
  • Affably Evil: Back when he was a scumbag thief and liar, he was still friendly to those close to him, looked after his brother, and even stayed with Joy to raise two "awful kids" who weren't his. Averted in his childhood and teenage years, where his actions seem to have a level of cruelty, while his adult self is more an amoral opportunist.
  • Afraid of Needles: As shown in "South of the Border Part Uno".
  • Anti-Hero: Earl is on a redemption quest to balance his karma after losing everything (from his fortune to his wife). While Earl is trying to better himself, he 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 of the 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 dose 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.
  • At Least I Admit It: Retroactively; in "Stole P's HD Cart", he meets a Corrupt Corporate Executive and says that he's even worse than he was as a crook, because he at least never pretended not to be one.
  • The Atoner: The entire premise of carrying his list.
  • Bash Brothers: His half-witted brother Randy is his sidekick through the story and the two get into all sorts of misadventures as they better themselves.
  • Being Evil Sucks: The entire series is started by Earl having nothing and realizing he's lived a terrible life and deciding to make up for his past misdeeds to improve things for himself.
  • Being Good Sucks: The things he goes through sometimes border on Kafka Komedy. In fact, after his stint in prison and difficulty adjusting to the outside world again, he temporarily returns to his old ways, until he gets run down by another car.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution:
    • He was struck by a 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 guilty for indirectly ruining Mr. Patrick's life while he worked in a fast food place. Randy reassured him that Karma could have borrowed Earl's fist to give him his comeuppance, as he was a horrible person who received no consequences for his actions. By punching Mr. Patrick, all the people who suffered because of him have now received their respective karma.
  • Book Dumb: Badly uneducated outside of a partial high school education. He's also uninformed about things happening in the world, mostly because he lives in a run-down motel 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. He compensates for his lack of education with genuine curiosity and willingness to learn and possessing a great deal of street smarts and very good people skills, allowing him to maintain ties and call on people for help when he needs it.
  • 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. To it's credit, karma is also willing to reward him when he does things right, such as letting him find his lottery ticket after he earnestly decides to go straight.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Earl led a life of hedonism and selfishness; when he got a winning lottery ticket, he was hit by a car while celebrating. If he turns away from his path of redemption, karma punishes him in order to reign him in and keep him on his path. Though on the flip side, he will also often be rewarded for his good deeds and continued determination.
  • 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 his family).
  • 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 (almost) 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.
  • Dumbass No More: As the show goes on, he transitions 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.
  • 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."
  • Everyone Has Standards: Before his Heel–Face Turn, he still had some ethical standards as seen in flashbacks. He helped raise Joy's kids so that they wouldn't grow up without a dad, refused to take advantage of a woman when she passed out from excess alcohol, and beyond making fun of people with accents, always frowned on racism.
  • Fatal Flaw: He has two; his guilt makes him try too hard to atone and his anger when he's pushed to his limit.
    • The two flaws end up correlating when Earl loses his temper and punches his boss, a cruel man who had it coming. He immediately tries to put him on the list but is told by Randy that he shouldn't need to apologize, as his actions punished the man for all the terrible things he did to others and the people who did suffer under him were being rewarded.
    • When he beats himself up for failing at being a salesman for the first time, a coworker named Reggie angrily tells him to get over it because it was Earl's first day and he shouldn't torture himself just so he can prove himself to somebody who couldn't care less.
  • 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.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: The theme of each episode is that Earl must atone for wrongdoings and accept personal responsibility for how his actions have hurt others.
    • When Earl found out that Joy cheated on him again and gave birth to Earl Jr., he was set on abandoning them until Carl berated him for attempting to abandon 2 kids who had nothing to do with Joy's infidelity and were just products of it (mainly because he didn't want Earl living with him again). It took Carl throwing Earl's gerbils out the window for Earl to finally concede and return to Dodge and Earl Junior, something Earl remarks as one of the most decent things he's ever done.
    • When he discovers that it was actually Randy who caused the fire at the Right Choice Ranch, Earl blames Randy for ruining his chances at having a good life and forces him to complete his list. After interacting with Dodge and Earl Jr., Earl realizes that he shouldn't hold it against Randy because he was genuinely apologetic about getting Earl in trouble all those years ago and because Randy was not responsible for Earl's actions after the fire.
  • Good Feels Good: "Do good things and good things happen."
  • Good Is Not Nice: Earl may be doing good things, but he's still short-tempered, and can be insensitive at times.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He's willing to kick a person's ass if they sufficiently prove to deserve it. Despite being a reformed criminal, he is still willing to commit crimes if it will help balance his karma.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Earl is a beer drinking, rock music loving and flannel shirt wearing redneck...who is also surprisingly insightful, intelligent and open-minded, making a genuine effort to help others and be more accepting of people he previously looked down on and made fun of, especially minorities.
  • 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.
  • Hot-Blooded Sideburns: He has a mustache with sideburns as part of his facial hair. Before turning his life around, he was hot-blooded and quick-tempered as he often physically hurt people when they provoked him. After discovering Karma, he's still prone to fits of anger and can still be destructive but he's controlling himself a lot more.
  • 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 Earl uses harsher methods in a fit of anger. He'll feel guilty for it, but his victim gets a new perspective on their problems.
  • 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 where he did admittedly possess a very charismatic personality and could be very fun to be around.
  • 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.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In his younger days, he was even more a Jerkass than himself before the list.
  • Lazy Husband: Was this when he was married to Joy. He even lampshades in the first episode (before his change) that while many would wonder why he'd stay with a "cheating wife and two horrible kids", he isn't in a position to judge as he's sure as many people ask why she stays with her "good for nothing husband who lets his brother crash on their couch".
  • Loser Protagonist: Uneducated, unemployed and technically homeless. And he was an even bigger loser when he was a petty thief. He begins to straighten out his life after being denied a credit card in season 2 by getting his G.E.D., a job and an apartment. But then he loses all that when he confesses to Joy's crime and goes to prison.
  • 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.
  • Noble Demon: In some flashbacks to his days as a scumbag, he has some scruples; notably, he's always looked after his little brother and is pretty affable to people, even as he's scamming them.
  • 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.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: 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.
    • In the past, he ended up kicking Little Chubby right in the balls. This was before his Heel–Face Turn, and he only did so because Joy nagged at him to do it, but Little Chubby was an Ax-Crazy Jerkass who repeatedly tormented and threatened people for fun, so it comes off as Karma using Earl long before he even knew of it.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Prior to the events of the series, Earl used to make fun of people with accents and he was initially freaked out by Kenny's homosexuality. As Earl himself mentions in one of his monologues; this was before the LGBT were more accepted in America, plus he lives in a small town and neither he nor Randy had any idea on how to conduct themselves around a gay person. Throughout the series, Earl does become more open-minded and accepting of people with different sexual identities, ethnicities, and cultures. He does refer to transvestite/transexual prisoners as "Trannies" but this wasn't done maliciously; he only objected to dating them at prom because "They're all spoken for" rather than any actual prejudice. note 
  • 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.
  • Reformed Bully: As a kid, he was a vicious bully and a fair amount of his list includes making amends to those he tormented.
  • The Reliable One: It reaches a point where everyone in Camden County goes to him when there's a problem.
  • Revenge Is Not Justice: Earl has hurt many people and has often acted on thoughts of revenge, as an adult, he knows what he did was wrong and he has to atone. In Stole an RV, he decides to help an old man called Jerry because he stole his RV. While Earl does help him get all his stuff back and helps bring him out of his depression, he immediately turns against him when he learns that Jerry wants revenge on his old army buddy, Joe, for abandoning him during the war and letting him get captured as he fled the scene.
  • 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 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 for 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.

    Joy Darville-Turner
Played By: Jaime Pressly, Gigi Goff (as a child), Kelli Goss (as a teen)

Earl's ill-tempered, promiscuous ex-wife.

  • Action Girl: All those years watching Springer really paid off.
  • Amicable Exes: She and Earl develop into this as the series goes on. They get divorced in the pilot, and at first they don't get along at all (largely because Joy wants the money Earl won), but over the course of the first season they come to an understanding. While there's still friction between them, for the most part they're on good terms. Earl even said right after their divorce that despite how crazy she was, he did miss being married to her.
  • Animal Motif: Downplayed. Joy used to compare herself to a Queen Bee, which reflects her quick temper and promiscuity.
  • Beauty Is Bad: As attractive as Joy is on the outside, she has a terrible personality, and that's putting it lightly.
  • 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.
  • Eagleland: Very much a type 2: belligerent white trash who thinks she's way more sophisticated than she actually is as well as being racist, homophobic, overly patriotic and just an all-around bitch.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In the episode "Gospel", a drunken Joy traps Catalina inside an abandoned shed after running her down with a lawnmower. While trying to figure out a way to free Catalina without being ratted out to the police and getting her third strike, Darnell decides to kill Catalina, which Joy is not only appalled by, but she actually knocks him out with a shovel when he's about to do the deed.
  • 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."
  • Hates Everyone Equally: She's mean to everyone and often makes fun of people for kicks.
  • 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.
  • In the Blood: Just like her father, she's been involved in interracial affairs. She also shares the same catchphrase as her mother: "Don't you judge me!"
  • Irony: For someone as patriotic as Joy, her car being a Subaru (a Japanese car) is very ironic. Doubly so since it has an American flag paint job.
  • Jerkass: 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. She also bullies Randy and Catalina, and isn't the best wife to Darnell either.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's extremely abrasive, and when she's nice, nine times out of ten it's a scam, but for the other one time out of those ten she's a good friend and a genuinely loving mother and wife.
  • The Lancer: The most hostile and argumentative of the group with Earl.
  • Love Redeems: Marring Darnell and having two kids does bring out Joy's nice moments and makes her a good person, albeit in her own way.
  • Mama Bear: Lord have mercy on the poor bastard who hurts her kids, as shown by how she terrified her neighbors into moving away despite Joy being on anger suppressants.
  • Megaton Punch: Her right hook can knock any man (or woman) into next Tuesday.
  • Never My Fault: Constantly blames Earl for things, that was 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.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Joy is overtly racist to non-white Americans, going as far as to teach Kim Lee improper English so it would put Kim out of business. She also references racial stereotypes with Darnell and other black people and utters the occasional homophobic remarks, especially to Kenny. She's also an ableist, making offensive remarks about her deaf lawyer.
  • 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 hot tub Earl gives her (because it was previously inhabited by a homeless man with the same disease)
  • Tranquil Fury: After a neighbor injures Earl Jr by throwing a beer can at his head. Her Mama Bear instincts break though the effects and she basically tells them to head to the hills then run further before she comes back when her pills wear off. She gave her warning to them while having the biggest smile on her face and having no change to her happy tone of voice.
  • Tsundere: Type-A example, usually involving Darnell and the kids.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Was the hot wife when she was married to Earl.

    Darnell "Crabman" Turner / 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.

Though there's more to Darnell than first glance would dictate. His real name is Harry Monroe and he's a former government assassin placed in Witness Protection after testifying against his former agency.

  • 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.
  • Catchphrase: "Hey, Earl!"
  • 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 before their wedding. Darnell does find it karmic that Joy cheated on him with Earl and contemplated leaving her until Earl talked him out of it because Joy genuinely cared for Darnell
  • 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 Tyke-Bomb: Was trained from childhood to be a government assassin by his father, which led to his being placed in Witness Protection after he retired.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: In the first few episodes, when he participated in Joy's schemes to get Earl's lotto winnings.
  • Nice Guy: Even after sleeping with Earl's wife, Earl can't stay mad at him and encourages him to stay with Joy after he found out she cheated on him as well. The home environment is also a lot less toxic for Dodge and Earl Jr. as Darnell was shown to be a better dad than Earl was.
  • 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, and quite possibly in all of Camden.
  • Team Dad: He is the most mature of the group.
  • Terrified of Germs: Likely because he is familiar with biological weapons. When Joy contracts a flesh-eating staph infection in her toe, Darnell makes her bathe in hand sanitizer, walk on foil, and remain isolated in a corner of the living room converted into a plastic "bubble" until she's finished her antibiotics and her toe gets better.
  • 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.

    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 Suplee, Ryan Armstrong (as a child/teen)

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

  • 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.
  • 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 Earl's 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 a 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. He also doesn't suffer as much Karmic retribution as Earl does, even though Randy was an accomplice to almost every item on the list.
  • Dumb Muscle: Strong enough to rip a phone cord out of a wall with little effort and, while on shark adrenaline, mutilate a phone by slapping it into his head.
  • Fat Comic Relief: He is usually presented as comic relief because of being the Fat Idiot that he is.
  • Fat Idiot: He's fat and a dumbass.
  • Flanderization: In season 1, Randy was a little slow, but still occasionally useful and while reliant on Earl for many things, could still do some things on his own. By season three, Randy is a complete imbecile who can't function at all without Earl. When Earl went to prison, Joy and Darnell helped Randy become more independent and by season four, he was de-flanderized and became more like he was in the first season.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Temporarily developed this when he had shark adrenaline injected into his nuts.
  • Hidden Depths: As the season 4 premiere reveals, he's a surprisingly decent actor and imitator.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the episode "Harrassed a Reporter," after Earl convinced Nicole Moses, a reporter he and Randy got demoted to the "Up Before Dawn" news-broadcast following a meltdown she had on live TV after they pranked her, to do a story of how he was trying to be a better person by crossing things off his list, as a way to get her off the the pre-dawn shown, they tell Randy he won't be part of the story because the story is about Earl. Disapointed he won't be featured in the story, Randy interrupts her weather report, and she allows Earl's story to include him, but Nicole edits it in such a way that the story makes Earl look like a caring affectionate man who's trying his best to care for his younger, mentally challenged brother. When Randy calls her out for humiliating him on live TV, Nicole responds that's how she felt whenever he and Earl were pulling their stunts while she was filming a report. When Earl tells Andy they should file a complaint to the station, Randy says not to because "karma noticed me," and added an entry to Earl's list that he crossed off himself.
  • 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.
  • 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." He even made a book called "Curious Tongue", which lists all of the things he's tasted.
  • 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.

    Catalina Auruca
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.

  • 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.
  • 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 killed her mother.
  • Demoted to Extra: Catalina starts out as a supporting character in Season 1, but gets more screentime and plot relevance as the season goes on, and by Season 2 she's a major and vital part of the show, having her own ongoing subplot and quite a bit of development. Then, by season 3 her role gets diminished again, and apart from a few A Day in the Limelight episodes she spends most of the final two seasons as a very minor character who only has a couple of scenes in any given episode, if that.
  • The Heart: The most moral of the group, to the point of occasionally acting as Earl's conscience.
  • The Illegal: She came to America in a box.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Starts out as this, eventually becoming a more blatant example.
  • Matricide: She was forced to kill her mother.
  • 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.
  • Naïve 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. They make up near the end of the series after Joy saves her life.
  • Stripperific: Justified, as she is, in fact, a stripper in addition to working as a hotel maid.
  • Team Mom: Up there with Darnell as the most reasonable out the group.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Her life in her home country wasn't very pleasant, and she had to kill her mother to escape to America.
  • 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!"

Secondary characters

    Patricia Michelle Weezmer (aka. Patty The Daytime Hooker) 

Played By: Dale Dickey

"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: Despite being just a hooker, she probably has lived a much fuller life than anyone in the series, and is surprisingly intelligent.
  • 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 prostitutes than many other shows.
  • 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.
  • Nice Girl: She's one of the sweetest, most cooperative citizens in Camden County, which is a breath of fresh air for the browbeaten Earl.
  • Really Gets Around: She's a hooker.

    Dodge and Earl Jr. 

Played by: Louis T. Moyle (Dodge), Trey Carlisle (Earl Jr.)

Joy's two sons; Dodge was conceived 6 months before she met and married Earl, and Earl Jr. during her affair with Darnell. Except Darnell isn't Earl Jr's biological father, and it turns out Earl is Dodge's biological father.

  • Cheerful Child: They're children and they've both got generally sunny and friendly dispositions, if very hyperactive.
  • Children Are Innocent: Seeing them excited on Christmas morning makes Joy's family put aside their messy history to enjoy the holiday.
  • Chocolate Baby: Earl Jr.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: At the beginning, the two boys are seldom seen apart and play the same role. In season 4, because Dodge is a few years older, they're seen apart more often; Earl Jr. maintaining his role as an innocent little kid, while Dodge is a pre-teen starting to ask more complex questions about his parentage.
  • Informed Attribute: Earl refers to them as "two awful kids" in the pilot. Other than being very hyperactive, they're mostly shown to be pretty nice and grateful boys.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Earl Jr. calling Earl "Old Dad" isn't meant as an insult, but it clearly stings.
  • Keet: They love excitedly running around.
  • Morality Pet: Joy, who's normally a selfish Jerkass, adores her boys and will actually make sacrifices for them.

    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: Became this after going to prison and finding Jesus.
  • Ax-Crazy: Before his salvation, everyone was afraid of him and for good reasons.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Even after he gets out of prison, he's kinda... weird. For example, he consults with his crucifix tattoo, and thinks showing off a tattoo on his buttocks of Moses parting the Red Sea is perfectly normal. (He fails to understand why Earl doesn't want to see it.)
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: In the Cops themed episodes, he lets out a tirade of these while being confronted by the police for doing Tai-Chi in his yard naked.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Cares deeply for his mother, buys her a large-print Bible (because she won't wear her reading glasses), and gives her a big hug when he finds that Earl has helped her quit smoking, thus giving her a few more precious years with Donny that they both thought were lost forever when he went to prison.
  • 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: Why Earl is afraid of confessing that he was the one who robbed that donut shop.
  • Not Me This Time: He was a crook, but did not commit the particular robbery he was imprisoned for.
  • The Peeping Tom: Earl paid him to peep on Joy back in the day, because (thanks to his bulging eyes) "Even when he looked at women normally, it creeped them out." (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.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Back in the day, the paperboy knocked over Donny's beer with a newspaper. Donny beat him up for it. Earl and Randy, even before doing The List, were horrified.

    Kenny James 
Played by: Gregg Binkley, Andy Pessoa (as a child)

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).

  • 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.
  • Late Coming Out: He remained closeted until he met Earl again in his thirties.
  • Nice Guy: Part of the reason Earl feels so bad about hurting him and why they become friends thereafter.
  • Sixth Ranger: Usually the go-to person to help out Earl when his primary friends can't.
  • The Smart Guy: Often the Brains involved in Earl's operations.
  • Something Else Also Rises: "STUART, PUT A WASHCLOTH OVER CHESTER!!" (said to him in a quickly diminishing bubble bath)

Played by: Tracy Ashton

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.

  • Ax-Crazy: The sight of Earl immediately sends 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: Zig-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.
  • Running Gagged: Earl finally crosses her off the list in season three.
  • 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.

    Billie Cunningham 
Played by: Alyssa Milano

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.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Subverted towards Earl. Despite setting out on a similar path of redemption, right down to creating a list of her own, she ultimately ends up putting minimal effort into it and eventually slips into a Yandere personality when Earl keeps the list as his main priority.
  • 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.
  • Fair Cop: She dresses as one for her conjugal visits with Frank.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At least in the beginning, before becoming a complete Jerkass, and finally becoming a genuinely nice person.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Oh boy. She started out as a nursing student, then became a petty-criminal when she began dating Frank. She returns to nursing school after breaking up with Frank, then flunks out and returns to her criminal ways. Then when she married Earl, she makes a list of her own, but barely puts any effort into it and is insufferable to live with, so Earl puts more work into his list in order to avoid her, believing that fixing his bad karma with women will make the marriage better. Then Billie becomes the worst she's ever been when Earl chooses the list over her: going on a rampage undoing everything that Earl has crossed off his list, then threatening to kill him after Joy calls the police on him. But hiding out in the Camdenite village provides her with the fulfillment she has lacked, she divorces Earl, leaves him the rest of her settlement money and enjoys her simple life with the Camdenites.
  • 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.
  • Woman Scorned: She did not appreciate Earl choosing the list over her, and went around town doing bad things to everyone Earl had crossed off.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Was this to the guy she was with before meeting Earl.

    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.

  • Affably Evil: Speaks pleasantly to everyone, even when he's actively antagonizing them.
  • Apologetic Attacker: When he kidnap and tortures Randy, he's constantly apologizing. Subverted in that it's obviously insincere.
  • 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 taken out pretty easily.
  • Catchphrase: "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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He didn't appear in season 4.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Gets information out of Randy, by tying him in the shower and flushing the toilet so the water 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 stealing 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 than 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 initially 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.
  • Jerkass: 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.

    Natalie Duckworth 
Played by: Beth Riesgraf

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.

Played by: Juliette Lewis

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.

    Nescobar A-Lop-Lop 
Played by: Abdoulaye N Gom

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 
Played by: Bill Suplee
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.

Played by: Christian Slater
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 in order to make a difference.
  • 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.

    Carl Hickey 
Played by: Beau Bridges

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

  • Drugs Are Bad: After a bad experience at Woodstock, he hates drugs a lot. He hates drug dealers threatening him with guns even more.
  • 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 wife or sons' antics.
  • 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 for all the crap he's done over the years, and initially doesn't believe he has managed to change. But he also cares about his son leading them to reconcile once he realizes that Earl has genuinely mended his ways.
  • 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 
Played by: Nancy Lenehan
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."

Played by: Abdul Goznobi

The convenience store clerk where Earl got the lottery ticket.

    Frank Stump 
Played by: Michael Rapaport

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 Monroe 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.
  • 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 Martin 
Played by: Josh Wolf

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. It is left ambiguous whether he is really a ghost or just a manifestation of guilt. Joy holds the latter interpretation but decides it does not matter either way after he shows up to her.
  • Operator from India: Goes on weekly Skype dinner dates with one of these.
  • Unlucky Everydude: He was introduced as just a random docker at Bargain Bin who happened to be in the back of the truck that Joy stole. He spent a considerate amount of time just stuck in the trailer, subsisting off the food and drink he was supposed to unload. In the episode where Earl gives him a funeral, he struggles to find how to send him off as Josh seemed to lack hobbies or loved ones, until he learns of his online life.

    Ruby Whitlow 
Played by: Marlee Matlin

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.

    Officer Stuart Daniels 
Played by: Mike O'Malley

An incompetent cop with a love for bowling. Earl steals his badge after he accidentally leaves it in a diner, then eventually loses it. Later, he finds it in a stream while fishing for random objects.

Played by: Amy Sedaris

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.
  • Dying Alone: Her biggest fear.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Randy moves in with her right away.
  • 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 Lue Clevenger, A.K.A. "John the Artist" 
Played by: Shawn Hatosy

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.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He earned the nickname "John the Artist" for his paintings.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: After Earl uses the rest of his money to throw him a prom in prison and gave him his title as Prom King, John still held a grudge against his parents for petty reasons. When Earl calls him out on it, John tells him "Hey my parents treated me like crap so now I treat other people like crap, it's out of my control Earl!". In response to this, Earl burns all of John's paintings and throws the same excuse at him. This act made John realize that the more he blamed Earl for what happened, the more he had to admit to being responsible for the fire, and he apologized to his parents by recreating the pictures he burned in the fire.
  • Jerkass: He's vindictive towards his parents and finds any petty excuse to hate them and stay angry with them.
  • Never My Fault: He always blamed his parents for the problems in his life and when he was convinced to see his parents for an apology, he assumed he was the one receiving an apology for what happened.
  • 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.
  • Playing the Victim Card: He always finds an excuse to blame his parents for his crimes, ranging from; getting "two toilets" in his name, not getting him cargo pants, and not letting him go prom because he was too stoned to drive. Even after everything Earl does for him, he still refuses to help him. In a fit of anger, Earl sets fire to his paintings and throws the same excuse at him. Learning the error of his ways, John apologizes by recreating the burned pictures.
  • 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 about 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: He pettily laments that he has "two toilets" in his name (his first name is "John," the middle name is "Lou."

    Liberty Washington 
Played by: Tamala Jones, Brooklin Yearwood (as a child), Arreale Davis (as a teen)

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 marriage and all.
  • Career Versus Family: Her husband Ray-Ray wants a child, but getting pregnant would cause Liberty to miss out on wrestling events. They decide to use a surrogate, and after a rocky road, choose Joy, who wants to become pregnant in order to gain sympathy from jurors during her trial.
  • 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."
  • Happily Married: To Ray-Ray. He supports her dream of wrestling, she supports his of having a son to name after himself.
  • 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 "Da Man".

    Little Chubby 
Played by: Norm Macdonald

The son of a local business man and the richest man in Camden. He was once a huge Jerkass who constantly abused his power to bully Camden's citizens until he was kicked in the balls, which left him laying on the floor while everyone laughed at him. After realizing that he was despised by the townsfolk, he pulled a Heel–Face Turn. Later, it turned out that was just because the damage to his testicles cut off his flow of testosterone and the reason his entire family were such enormous jerks is because of congenital overproduction of it. After having reconstructive surgery, he went back to his Jerkass ways and graduated to Big Bad of the series finale.

  • Ax-Crazy: Probably the most dangerous character on the show as shown by his willingness to shoot kids for swimming in his pool
  • Being Good Sucks: The reason for his final Face–Heel Turn as Being a nice guy meant he was too soft to run the family strip club.
  • Big Bad: Of the series finale.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: When choosing a new pair for his ball transplant, he chooses BULL balls.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Throws people who make him angry in the meat locker.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: He threatened to cut Joy's pigtails off if she doesn't drink Randy's rat tail.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Apparently his answer to women claiming he knocked them up is showing them both a bus ticket and his gun. Also, he throws a man in a freezing cold meat locker for accidentally scratching his car.
  • The Dreaded: The most feared man in Camden. For good reason.
  • Expy: Given who his father is played by, Little Chubby is basically Norm Macdonald's Saturday Night Live version of Burt Reynolds with a heavy dose of Jerkass added in.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He is genuinely upset to see that Earl had accidentally burnt his father's 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 but had to turn bad again because while it did make him happy, it made him too nice for his own good.
  • Groin Attack: He's on Earl's list because Earl kicked him in the testicles at Joy's urging after he forced her to drink from a glass containing Randy's hair. The kick made him realize that everyone hated him as they applauded the guy who hurt him instead of asking Chubby if he was ok. The other reason was that the kick had damaged his testicles so badly that it had cut off the production and circulation of testosterone, resulting in them becoming swollen and deformed.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: Basically his whole persona before his Heel Realization.
  • Keeping the Handicap: He allows his genitals to be smashed by a pitching machine in order to be a better person. Subverted in his next appearance when he has them repaired because he's not good at his job when he's nice.
  • 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 ordinance saying anyone who so much accuses him of a crime will be arrested on bogus charges.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Has cameras all over Camden.
  • Supervillain Lair: Bought out a 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 meat locker as a makeshift torture room.
  • Sadist: He seems to enjoy the suffering of others.
  • Walking the Earth: After the Groin Attack that caused him to look back on his life, he did this.

    Sweet Johnny 
Played by: David Arquette

A daredevil who loves extreme stunts and has a girlfriend who was cheating on him with Earl. Ever since he sustained a head injury, while getting ready for his latest stunt, Johnny has been experiencing deja vu of the day before his stunt over and over again, thus being oblivious to the present day and being shocked with the reality when Earl tried to show him the present day and make up for dating his girlfriend.

  • Butt-Monkey: Always suffering from an injury after his stunt and, while he is laid up, his girlfriend, Sheila, takes advantage of the situation by dating Earl.

Played by: Katy Mixon

Sweet Johnny's ex-girlfriend, who left him because of him singing the same song repeatedly. She was cheating on Johnny with Earl. Years later, she became a cop with a very huge butt.

  • Comically Oversized Butt: One of the many rare live-action versions in the episode "Sweet Johnny". Because of this, she has a hard time moving between two cars.
  • Formerly Fit: Sheila used to have a slim figure in the past. In the present, her slim figure packed on a few pounds, around the hips, thighs and butt.
  • I Am Big Boned: She claims that her weight gain is due to a thyroid problem, but the thyroids are located in the neck, not literally in the thighs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She doesn't care about cheating on Johnny, but is very nice and sweet to Earl.