TakeFiveGal Chats With Jason Lee And Greg Garcia From My Name Is Earl

My Name Is Earl Jason Lee Photo

MY NAME IS EARL — Pictured: Jason Lee as Earl — NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth
TakeFiveGal: Can you tease for us about what is coming up in the last nine episodes?
Greg Garcia: The most exciting television you’ve ever seen in your entire life, just to sum it up.  It will go down in history.  You know, I always get into trouble when I start – try to talk about it because then I’m like, oh, I don’t want to say that.  I don’t want to say that.  Like, I’m so bad because like, when I watch shows I like don’t want to know what’s coming up next.  I won’t watch previews of movies.  It’s like, it just ruins it for me.  Everybody gets so, like, saturated with what’s going to be on that it always bothers me.  But, you know, we, one fun thing that we’re doing for a little while is we go into this alternate universe a little bit which we’ve never done on our show and it’s actually an opportunity to actually show a version of our show in a four-camera sitcom world, which will be – that’ll be in that first episode and we’ve been having a lot of fun with that.
And what else can I say story wise?  I mean, we pick up where we left off with Earl laying in the road, having been hit by a car and Alyssa Milano being hit by the car.  And Earl is in some jeopardy and his friends are going to do everything they can to save him.  Now that’s lame.  That doesn’t even sound good, does it?

Jason Lee:  You know what?  Every Oscar winner of the last decade and great director is going to be on the show.  It’s going to be the most star-studded event of the last 100 years, I think.

TakeFiveGal: That is something to look forward to.

Jason Lee:    Yeah.

TakeFiveGal: What do you guys – what do you watch when you get some down time?  What other shows do you watch on T.V.?

Jason Lee:  I don’t watch much T.V. but I do watch “Dexter.”  I’ve seen every episode and I’m just waiting for the new season.  Other than that, yeah.  I mean, of course I watch, “My Name is Earl”.  It’s on NBC on Thursdays.  Yeah, I like “Dexter.”  I’m a big fan.

Greg Garcia: I think I watch a lot more T.V. than Jason does, because that’s all I’ve ever done.  I watch a ton of T.V.  I don’t watch a ton of comedies.  I mean, I watch some.  I watch “30 Rock…” and The Office and I’m not just being a company man.  I do watch those and I watch “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Reno 911” are comedies that I enjoy.

Jason Lee: I’ve heard “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is good.

Greg Garcia: It’s very funny.  It’s very funny.  And then, but then I watch a ton of dramas because if you just do comedy all day long, it’s like, you know, you’re working in a donut factory.  And donuts are great, but if you come home, you probably don’t want to eat donuts.

So, you know, I watch a lot of dramas.  I watch anything on HBO.  I’m saddened that “The Wire” is now over.  That was probably my favorite show on T.V.

Jason Lee:  Wow.  I didn’t know that.

Greg Garcia: Oh, it’s fantastic.  It’s fantastic.  And I’m with Jason, too, you know, I watch “Dexter”.  I watch – but then I watch reality too.  I’ve never watched – missed an episode of “Survivor” and…

Jason Lee:  Wow.

Greg Garcia:  Yeah, I watch.  But my problem is, is I get home at night and I have to wake up at like 4:30 in the morning the next day to go to work so I take an – I have to drug myself with an Ambien, which gives you amnesia.  So I watch a show – I watch the same show every night for a week and like – and my wife keeps coming in the room telling me, “You watched that last night,” but I don’t have any memory of it.

TakeFiveGal: Do readers and fans impact what happens on the show?  Do you read, you know, message boards or anything to get an idea of what’s working and what’s not?

Greg Garcia:  Yeah.  I go on to TelevisionWithoutPity.  We’ve done some stuff where we’ve like planted fake people on TelevisonWithoutPity and then have them be characters on our show and blow everybody’s mind on the blog.  But I go on there because it’s like instant feedback.  It’s hard not to. Sometimes I’m like, I’m not even going to look and see what they thought of the episode last night.  But then it’s like, you know, it’s just right there.  You know it’s there and you do this to get people to, you know, entertain people, so you want to know how they liked it.

But I try not to let anything they say influence directions in where we’re going or anything.  And usually, we’re so – story wise, we’re pretty far ahead of things, so it’s – even if they have like a comment of what they’d like to see happen, we usually already have a direction we’re going anyway.

But I can remember one – I can’t remember the exact specific, but I do remember one time reading something on there and thinking, “Oh, man.  That’s a good idea.”  And then, like in the room I was really hesitant to do it, because I was like – I felt like I was cheating.  Like it was this small little thing, but it was just some small little thing someone mentioned.  I felt like I was cheating and then I was like, screw it.  It’s not cheating.  It’s funny.  So I think we ended up doing it, but I don’t remember the specifics.

What was it like to get back to work?  Can you address getting back to work after the break?

Greg Garcia: It was very hectic for us.  The writer’s strike ended on a Wednesday and the following Tuesday we had a table read.  So we basically hit the ground running when we got back and we kind of had some ideas of what we wanted to do but we had to really put it in overdrive and get the scripts ready and in order to do nine episodes coming back, we’ve had to continue, kind of keep up that pace.  And hopefully the quality of the show doesn’t suffer.  So far I’m real happy with the things we’ve been doing.

Jason Lee: Wondering when I’d be back to work because, you know, there’s a lot of speculation when there’s something like a strike happening.  Some people say a couple months and it’ll pass.  Some people say a year, you know.  So there was a lot up in the air.

And yeah.  I mean, I was happy to get back to work.  I enjoyed the break.  It was a nice little break but then I was told that we were going to do nine episodes and possibly consecutively, which would have been nerve-racking because the most we’ve ever done consecutively was seven.  So it was – we ended up doing three with a week off and now we’re doing six in a row.  So we’ve crammed a lot in to finish season three for the audience.

What was the atmosphere on the set that first day back?

Jason Lee:  It was literally just like a weekend had passed and we were all back to work.  I think we benefit from having a very loose, fun, high-energy, friendly set and it was just very familiar.  And I think everybody was relieved to have jobs again.

What was it like working with Alyssa Milano and Paris Hilton?

Greg Garcia: Paris just came in for one day and did a quick little thing with us and really had a great sense of humor about herself and played herself.  And I’m looking forward to the audience, you know, seeing her quick little cameo.

And Alyssa, well Alyssa , you know, we’ve worked with now so much that she’s kind of just – feels like one of the gang.  It’s – we don’t even introduce her at table reads anymore as a guest actor because she’s here – she’s here a lot and we actually found some really fun things to do with her this – these nine coming back after the strike.

Jason Lee: Well, having had a huge, huge childhood crush on Alyssa Milano, it was very surreal meeting her and getting to work with her.  I was pretty fascinated with how kind of short she is.  She said she’s 5’3” on a good day and, you know, I thought she was very cute.  And she kind of definitely fulfilled those sort of – the vision I had as a kid of, you know, what it would be like to one day meet.

Greg Garcia: And I actually had a childhood crush on Paris Hilton.  So I’m trying to arrange a double date with the four of us to go out but Paris, I think, is not interested and my wife’s not interested and…

My Name is Earl Returns Thursday, April 3rd at 8:00PM EST With All New Episodes