Looking at all the media the Bonzuko household regularly had going on,* of course we always are on the lookout for good stage (well, film) combat. Jas recently got into the comedy "My Name is Earl," and since I have joined him in watching this, I have been struck by many things all at once. Everything just seems opposite to what you normally get on television. Let me explain:
First, the acting is really good. Sure, it's a bit commedia-over the top, but everyone is so well characterized and there are actual, real, honest moments in the show. No, really. Good acting on television. I went to acting school, I know what I'm talking about.
Second, the premise is so positive and sweet, the writing poignant, weird, and hilarious at all the right times. Wait wait, you're saying (I know you writers out there are perking up): a sitcom that's well-written?? Not possible! Oh yes, say I, and not only that but the show actually celebrates kindness, goodness, generosity, and in general trying to treat others well. The premise, you may or may not know, is that of Earl, a petty criminal and all-around ne'er -do-well that gets hit by a car directly when he gets a winning lottery ticket. He then sees Carson Daly on TV talking about karma, and he reaches an epiphany. He makes a list of everyone he has ever done wrong, and sets out to repay them in kind. The first repayment he makes, he regains his lottery ticket, ensuring he can live on just his karma and his list indefinitely. So each episode, of course, is another event he's attempting to scratch off his list. He has a myriad of supporting characters that are as colorful as you can imagine. I mean, what movie or TV show these days celebrates love and redemption like this?
Third, there are several actors who are excellent physical comedians and good movement people, and every role I could suggest to any of my Stage Movement or ninja-enthusiast students as a study in physically embodying a role. One of them, Darnell the "Crab Man," played the Rubberband Man in those Office Max commercials; one of the best clowns I've seen in a long time. And the stage combat, when there has been some, has been excellent. Great speed, a minimum of edits, realistic yet perfectly safe-looking. And for the most part it looks like the actors do most of the fighting. Highly recommended.
The bottom line: My Name Is Earl: **** out of *****. ~Jenn
*We have recently decided to nix the television. We lived sans TV for a few years when we first moved in together, and we decided the many dollars we pump into our cable wasn't worth it. We'd be working with mindless stuff going on in the background. Any TV shows we need to see we can easily catch online or through Netflix. And most of the time, it'd be best if we had a film or some music on anyway. We're very excited about this new phase in the Bonzuko hombu. :)