When Randy asks why Earl is marking months of a calendar, he explains he’s figuring out how much time he’s got left to serve. At this point, Earl’s done so many favors for the Warden, he’s gotten all but 6 months and 10 days taken off his sentence. Luckily for him, Warden Hazelwood has a big problem.
At a press conference with his wife, the Mayor, a reporter asks him about all his failing programs. To cover, Hazelwood says that he’s enacting a special "Super Duper Super Program" – one that involves inmates reconciling with the families of their victims. If Earl can pull this one off, he’ll get 6 months removed from his sentence.
Given his whole karma mission, Earl’s really into the idea of helping a prisoner make up for something they did wrong. He chooses John Klevinger (the always excellent and occasionally smarmy Shawn Hatosy) who is in prison because his meth lab burned down his parents house. When Earl approaches him, John doesn’t think they’d want to see him but agrees to sit down with the ‘rents and talk apologize and hug it out. Since Earl can’t go to see Mr. & Mrs. Klevinger, he sends Joy and Darnell in his stead. The Klevingers (whose house contains a battalion of fire extinguishers) don’t want to go until Darnell’s story about a tense time between he and the turtle convince them otherwise.
Too bad the family reunion doesn’t go so well. With the tricky reporter and some cameras there, Earl and the Warden witness John melt down because he was expecting an apology from his parents for neglecting him instead of saying sorry himself. Hazelwood is a little more than irked and gives Earl a week to fix it. He goes to talk to John who says it’s not his fault he’s this way, it’s because of his parents who were cold monsters that wouldn’t let him have a color TV in his room, buy him cargo pants or go to Prom because he was too stoned to drive. Earl tells him he just has to apologize, he doesn’t have to mean it. John agrees, but only if Earl throws him a Prom. It’s a crazy idea so naturally the Warden agrees to it. And they’re going to get women prisoners to be the dates.
Earl enlists Joy’s help to plan it as she’s being going to Proms since the age of 12. Looking through catalogs, Joy finds an "Underwater Wonderland" theme that John really digs. Except it’s pretty expensive, what with the whole "whale with a chocolate fountain blow hole" piece. When Earl points that out, Joy mentions his lotto winnings which gets John even more excited. Initially reluctant, Earl changes his mind when he thinks about how much he’s looking forward to his freedom and agrees to use his last $24,000 to finance Prison Prom. I have to say, the exchange between John and Joy about the prom theme was fantastic. Shane Hatosy and Jamie Pressly play off each other very well.
At Prison Prom, all the guys and gals are dressed up all fancy-like with corsages/boutonnieres and their inmate numbers pinned on their clothes. All the couples were assigned, but that didn’t matter because everyone just liked being able to hang out with new people. The best part about this sequence? Earl locking and break dancing to "Gettin’ Jiggy With It" in celebration of his impending freedom. Really, this might’ve just been an excuse for Jason Lee to show a smidge of his skillz on national television. The night was going extremely well and the Warden even made Earl Prom King. Seeing how much it’d mean to him, Earl gave the crown to John which made him extremely happy.
The next day, instead of making up with his parents, John went off again in front of the media while wearing his crown and carrying the scepter. When Earl confronted him in the hallway, John continued to not take any responsibility for his actions. Ticked at loosing his six months reprieve, Earl wanted payback so he went to John’s cell and burned everything in there. When John arrived, they got in a fight and Earl said that he can’t take responsibility for his actions and repeated a modified version of John’s reasoning – "You treated me like crap, so now I treat other people like crap. It’s out of my control."
Earl felt pretty bad about what he’d done but it did have good consequences – the more John blamed Earl for torching his stuff, the more John came to his senses and realized he only had himself to blame for his behavior. John began painting recreations of family photos lost in the fire and sending them to his parents who were very touched. They later reconciled and hugged it out, finally getting the Warden some good press.
In his office, Hazelwood thanked Earl and said he didn’t know what he’d do without him. When Earl said they’d find out tomorrow and left the office, the Warden realized exactly what was about to happen and, with panic in his eyes, started shredding all of Earl’s Good Behavior certificates. Now that’s just unfriendly.
Quotes of the Night:
- "I was at a press conference and this really tricky reporter tricked me…with his tricky trickiness" – Warden Hazelwood setting up what happened
- "Everybody hates meth heads, that’s a hundred-percenter." – Joy to The Klevingers
- "That fire was the only time there was any warmth in the house, you cold-heated bastards. You should thank me. " – John to his parents the first time the reconciliation went bad
- "See, here’s the thing…everybody expected you to apologize to them." – Earl to John after said bad reconciliation
- "We only have 5 trannies to dance with and they’re all spoken for." – Earl regarding the need for women at Prison Prom
- "My middle name is Lou…I have two toilets in my name Earl, I never had a chance!" – John after the second reconciliation went bad
- "You really understand the criminal mind. You’re like the scumbag whisperer." – The Warden marveling at Earl’s people skills
Are you surprised Hazelwood shredded the certificates? Did I neglect to mention your favorite part? How often do you think Darnell washes his hands (from holding that turtle so much)?