The writers clearly wanted a sappy, romantic episode but didn’t want to come up with a non-crazy person (or even a sorta-crazy person) for Earl. So they flashed us back to when Joy and Earl were together -- their first anniversary, to be exact. Which happens to also be the day when Earl broke the bar at the Crab Shack (that’s how this episode ties in to the list, by the way; it’s just a blip). This is the first episode that I can recall being successful and funny without being mostly list-related. Anyway, back in 2000, Joy and Earl had their first anniversary, and she didn’t think he really cared about her. Mainly because he didn’t. Randy threw her an anniversary party and pretended Earl did it. That was a disaster, since he invited all of the guys from her “Guys I’ve Boned” address book. That includes Earl’s cousin, Jason Priestley, a backpack model (hee!), who has his own condo and has always been better than Earl at everything. Even at getting Joy on her anniversary with Earl, it seems. Joy decides Earl doesn’t care about her and their marriage is a sham, and that it should be over. But then Earl sacrifices himself (okay, that might be stretching it) by diving across the room to kill a bee with a corndog stick to keep it from stinging Joy. And then we all know he cares.
In the completely irrelevant story this week, we find Catalina (obviously; she never matters anymore), Darnell (not fair! Shouldn’t he have been at the Crab Shack?), Kenny and Patty the Daytime Hooker. They spend the episode trapped in a phone booth, hiding from the killer bees. And it feels very much like they’re forgetting about the continuity of the show and going back and introducing these characters who I really don’t think knew each other back then. But, whatever. It’s not like it matters because they’ll change it all again when they need more filler at some later date.
We start out with our weekly dose of Earl and Randy's bedtime nonsense. They tell each other good morning, and then Randy tells Earl he's always wanted to join the debate team. Earl thinks that's not true, but Randy disagrees. And Earl doesn't think he's be very good. Randy says, "Yes I would." Earl tells him he thinks debating is more than just saying the opposite of what someone else says. Randy: "No it isn't." Earl: "Yes it is." Randy: "No it isn't." And so on. Earl says it's stupid and rolls over, not wanting to talk about it anymore. Randy's satisfied. He just won his first debate! [And I just relived a 30-year-old Monty Python sketch. We're all winners! - Zach]
Crab Shack. Earl's there to fix some things he's actually done to the Crab Shack. Today he's going to fix a dent he put in the bar. Darnell and the regulars have been working around it in their beer sliding, but Darnell would love for Earl to fix it after the ramp disaster with Kenny and a glass of wine this very day. Catalina's practically an extra, sitting in the background during this scene. Earl says the reason he's fixing this dent today is because it's the anniversary of the day he dented it. And it's also the anniversary of the day he married Joy. Awwww. Wait -- that's not "Awwww," is it? Maybe this is a better reaction: WHO CARES?!
Earl thinks we do, apparently, because we flash back, via his voiceover, to a newly married and (not newly) pregnant Joy in the trailer kitchen yelling at her baby for kicking. She threatens it, and then holds her breath. Randy's standing there talking to her about the baby. Earl comes home with the top level of a wedding cake and a hairnet on. She is so happy she chose him after they met the other night, and wants to know where he got it. He says if you wear a hairnet, you can basically walk out of a bakery with anything you want. He brought sprinkles for Randy, and Randy is unsurprisingly happy. Joy wanted the cake so they can eat it for good luck on their first anniversary. She heard about it on Oprah, who Joy thinks knows nothing about marriage, but a lot about cake (was that a fat Oprah joke? I'll let them have it because it might have actually been allowed ten years ago). We flash forward in our flashback to a couple days before the first anniversary. Joy's miserable. It's been a rough year, what with Earl, Randy and the baby. Joy needs her luck and can't wait two more days to eat the cake. Randy and Earl are comparing belly button lint. Joy opens the cake but finds out it's actually cat turds. Apparently -- as a flashback within our flashforward in our flashback shows us -- Randy ate it just a couple days after Earl brought it home, when he came home drunk. While eating it, he called Joy a "bitchy old screech owl." Which is way too clever for Randy, but I'll just assume he gets more clever when he drinks. Oh, and apparently, Joy had a hairless cat. Back in the flashforward of the flashback, Earl and Randy are laughing about the cat turd solution, but Joy doesn't think it's funny at all. Joy thinks the cake was a symbol that Earl cared about her, and now that Randy ruined it and Earl's laughing, that means something. Randy's sorry and says Earl can sleep on his couch tonight. Which is actually Earl's couch.