Jason Lee, the former big-time skateboarder who has been kickin’ it in such big-screen fare as Heartbreakers, Mumford, and the works of Kevin Smith, takes a nice size chunk of the small screen in My Name is Earl, a single-camera (and yes, single-channel!) sitcom. He plays a trashy, minor-scale crook whose life has the chance of improving once he faces his own karma. He must do good things, and he is a man ill-equipped in experience and intellect to reach those goals. And from that conflict, humor arises.
So thematically, this is a struggle for redemption, which has always been ann attractive theme to me. This is a show where we may laugh at the central losers, but we have hope for them. It’s pro human, for hope is what this is all about.
Which would not excuse it if it was not funny, mind you, but it is very funny.
So for those keeping score, we have real first episode wins for this, How I Met Your Mother, and Surface (and that last one gets an asterisk, as I’m not comfortably sure that it leads to an actual good series.)