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Tune-In Reminder: ''My Name Is Earl''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 12, 2005

If you haven't watched this NBC comedy starring Jason Lee, tonight would be a good time to do it. NBC is airing four episodes from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern. (Lee is also hosting ''Saturday Night Live'' tonight, although I'm not making any recommendation for that given the subpar quality of ''SNL'' so far this season.)


Or, if you're going out, this is a good night to set the DVR for ''Earl,'' since Tuesdays -- when the show usually airs -- have so many choices that you can pack your recorder in very short order.


For those of you tuning in late, ''Earl'' involves a loser (played by Lee) who has decided that he can improve his own life by righting all the wrongs he has done. He has a long list of wrongs, and some are not as easily fixed. But the process of fixing them can often be hilarious.


Episodes are usually named after wrongs on Earl's list. Tonight's telecasts, in order, are ''Faked His Own Death'' (he tries to make up for a woman he dumped by faking his death), ''Teacher Earl'' (which finds him, among other things, teaching an English-as-second language class), ''Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine'' (where he has to deal with his troublesome ex-wife) and ''Stole Beer From a Golfer'' (which requires more than giving the golfer beer, and which -- like ''Teacher Earl'' -- demonstrates the impact of Earl's new way of life on the people from his past). I have seen all but ''Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine'' (which awaits in MY DVR) and laughed at all three.


''Stole Beer'' just aired on Tuesday, and it was funny, odd and endearing; the whole bit about Earl, his brother and ''Smokey and the Bandit'' let us understand the characters better -- but didn't sneer at their taste. Although ''The Office'' was also very good that night (and gave us a fresh view of its main character), I actually liked ''Earl'' better. Maybe that's the sentimentalist in me; ''The Office'' is consistently a harsher brew than ''Earl.'' But it made me even happier that both shows are on, especially as some other good comedies, including ''Arrested Development'' and ''Kitchen Confidential,'' are in trouble. (See my post about that below.)


So watch tonight. Then start figuring out a way to put ''Earl'' and ''The Office'' in your Tuesday lineup. It might even be worth a second DVR.

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