Well, here we are, four seasons in. And remember how Billie gave Earl her money at the end of last season, and then Greg Garcia promised this season would return the show to the good-old days of Earl completing his list tasks? Well, we're about to find out if he was telling the truth.
Apparently, we start with Earl and Randy on their way to return the hair dryer they borrowed from Joy. The reason is not even a little bit clear. Then they come upon a kid in Joy's trailer park playing xylophone, and Earl tells him, "You keep practicing little buddy. I gave up the xylophone and always regretted it." As they walk away, he says to Randy, "Lucky kid. He's still got a shot at being somebody."
Inside, Joy's making fake Make-A-Wish T-shirts so people will think her kids are dying so they can go to the carnival for free. (Her logic isn't all that bad, actually: "Why should my kids suffer just because they're healthy?") This segues, naturally, into a bad thing Earl once did to Make-A-Wish. It was New Year's Eve and Randy drove home without Earl because Earl accidentally gave him a midnight kiss (don't worry: They still don't talk about it). But drunk Earl was not loving the walking; luckily, he found a "giant dog" (read: a horse) to ride home -- backwards.
The next morning, Camden's intrepid reporter lets Earl know via his TV set that a Make-A-Wish child lost his wish when his New Year's Day parade pony was stolen. Unfortunately, Buddy was dying, so Earl had to try to make it up to his parents instead. Lucky for Earl -- and us -- Buddy is alive and well, in the form of Seth Green, who greets Early with "What's up, Bro? You stole my pony?!" Earl is puzzled that he's alive, but Randy figures it out: He made a wish to be alive. "Why don't they all do that?"
Turns out Buddy is somewhat of a crazy movie buff (that's what happens when you spend all of your childhood in bed). His favorite of all time is a squid movie that's written by Buddy himself. He even has the squid prop that he uses to scare -- and delight -- Randy. Since Earl owes Buddy and they all like squids, Buddy wants them to make the squid movie. And he's "got plenty of books on how to do it."
Earl makes a last-ditch effort to get Buddy to take a replacement pony, but then agrees to make the movie. Buddy wants someone hot and edgy to play Max's wife, and he chooses ... Joy, of course. Kenny ends up as the panicky scientist. Catalina, killing cockroaches, is the ruthless terrorist. Randy, who finds a suit behind the motel, is the president. Patty the Daytime Hooker is there, too, so the gang's all here. And they're shooting in the Crab Shack turned into the Oval Office.