"My Name Is Earl" Quit Smoking (TV Episode 2005) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Earl decides that the next thing he needs to make right is to quit smoking. However, Randy and Catalina are of the opinion that Earl needs to face his fear of Donny Jones, even if it kills him. Coincidentally, Joy is planning to kill Earl in order to inherit his money.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • According to Earl's reasoning, he may have killed several people with secondary smoke, so the next item on his list is to quit smoking. After the first unsuccessful attempt, Randy and Catalina give him a self-help audio tape they bought from a yard sale which should help. Meanwhile, Joy finds a tape that Earl made before their divorce, in which he says that all his possessions should go to Joy in case of his death. Although Joy is normally not violent, this opportunity to get Earl's money prompts her to go to a weapon store in search of something lethal. Because there is a three-day waiting period for guns, she buys a crossbow to kill Earl, but fortunately, she is not a very good shot.

    Earl, in the meanwhile, has Catalina pick an item from the list, and she chooses Donny Jones. Donny was one of Earl's friend, who got framed for a robbery that Earl committed. Earl was masked and sneezing at the time, but he also wore one of Donny's shirts, which caused Donny, who had caught Earl's cold and was wearing a similar shirt, to be caught and sentenced for 2 years in jail. Earl refuses, remembering Donny's history of unpredictably violent outbursts, fearing what Donny would do if he knew he'd been in jail thanks to Earl. He decides to focus on quitting smoking, but this makes him stressful, and stress generally makes him smoke.

    Randy and Catalina decide to give Earl a 'push' by secretly making an appointment with Donny and 'dropping' Earl unwillingly in front of Donny's door. It turns out that Donny has become a devout born-again Christian in jail, going as far as tattooing an image of Jesus on his chest, and an image of Moses parting the Red Sea on his bottom. He also bought a Bible in large print for his mother, who refuses to wear glasses because she thinks they make her look old. When Earl reluctantly confesses to Donny that it was his fault that Donny was wrongfully imprisoned, Donny seems angry at first. But he remembers that Jesus would also 'turn the other cheek', and forgives Earl, stating that with his criminal record, he would have ended up in jail one day anyway. As Earl is about to leave, Donny's mother hits Earl with the oversized Bible. She is furious over the fact that she lost two years together with her son because of Earl's lies. However, Earl notices that Donny's mom is a smoker as well; although he can't give her back the two years she missed, he can give her two more years on Earth by making her quit smoking. She refuses, so Earl kidnaps her to his motel and ties her to a chair.

    Crabman comes to visit with a dish full of cookies, courtesy of Joy, but he warns Earl that Joy put rat poison in the cookies (which doesn't stop Randy from wanting to try). After removing her gag, Donny's mom tries to scream, but realizing that forty years of smoking have had a disasterous effect on her voice volume, she finally gives in to make a combined effort with Earl to quit smoking. They try with the self-help tape, nicotine patches and by using carrots (although Earl mistakenly thinks he needs to light them), and after a few days, they succeed. Donny's mom thanks Earl, and as he is about to drive home, Joy is making another attempt to kill Earl, but he quickly informs her it's no use as he has already made a new will.

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