I really like My Name Is Earl.
It’s a TV sitcom about a bunch of lowlifes, one of whom has a moral epiphany and decides to make a list everyone he’s wronged and do something to make it up to them. In tone, it’s like Arrested Development with poor people.
A few days ago, I saw an episode of Raising Hope, a new sitcom with a similar theme: a bunch of lowlifes start learning moral lessons from raising the bastard daughter of their dim-witted, but comparatively morally elevated teenage son. It’s not as sharply written as Earl, but is pretty entertaining.
When I started writing this post, I hoped I was writing about a long-overdue new trend in TV programming: portraying the poor as the slovenly assholes they really are.
But I just discovered that Hope is the latest brainchild of Greg Garcia, Earl’s creator. So I’ll switch gears and praise Garcia as a lone and important voice.
Both Hope and Earl are crass and outrageous. The Hope baby was conceived from a teenager’s one night stand on the front lawn with a female serial killer, she is later executed–thus setting up the teenage dad premise. Earl is doing penance for things like reaching under bathroom stalls and stealing wallets.
Even if Masterpiece Theater is more your cup of tea, you should check these shows out. Especially you should if you watch too much PBS. How much is too much? Do I really need to say it?
Garcia shows you the kind of poor people your tax dollars are supporting and encouraging. The only difference is that the poor aren’t that fucking funny.