Earl and Joy's Anniversary is the 10th episode of Season 4 of My Name Is Earl, and the 79th episode overall. When Earl goes to fix a dent in the Crab Shack bar he begins to reminisce about his first wedding anniversary with Joy when Randy threw them a surprise party, and said Earl had been planning it for weeks. Unfortunetly Randy's guest list was comprised of people that Joy "dated", which included his and Earl's more successful and handsome cousin Blake. Meanwhile, killer bees have descended on Camden County trapping Darnell, Catalina, Kenny and Patty the daytime hooker in a phone booth.
Earl decides to fix another item on his list. The day he dented the bar at the Crab Shack is actually the same day as the anniversary of his marriage to Joy. The story takes him back to a few days after they got married in 1999. Joy is delighted when Earl presents her with a stolen wedding cake. She's not going to eat it, but freeze it instead, because she saw on Oprah that eating wedding cake on your first anniversary brings good luck.
Unfortunately, a few days before Joy and Earl's first wedding anniversary, their marriage isn't going very well. Disgusted when the brothers compare their belly button lint balls, Joy goes for the luck a few days early, only to find that Randy replaced her frozen wedding cake with cat turds.
Randy and Earl laugh, infuriating Joy. Earl doesn't get it, so Joy explains that the wedding cake was a symbol of Earl's care for her. Laughing at her misfortune is a symbol, too. Feeling terrible, Randy puts together a surprise anniversary party at the Crab Shack, telling Joy that Earl planned the whole thing.
When all the party guests turn out to be Joy's ex-lovers, she smells a rat and confronts the brothers. Randy admits he put together the guest list out of Joy's address book, titled "Guys I Phoned." When Earl points out that the "ph" in "phone" is really a "b," the jig is up. Earl admits that he's a terrible husband, but states Joy's no prize either. He challenges Joy to find someone better than him, pointing out that it's slim pickins in Camden.
Back then, Joy and Darnell had yet to meet, which resulted in Darnell having free time on his hand. Darnell is walking Mr. Turtle when he is attacked by a swarm of killer bees. He runs into a phone booth, urging Catalina to join him. Meanwhile, Joy is delighted when Earl and Randy's cousin Blake shows up at the Crab Shack.
Earl has resented Blake since they were kids, when Blake trumped Earl at a backpack model audition. Now Blake's a successful backpack model with his own condo, listed in Joy's little black book as "gimongo." Knowing that Blake is better than him at everything, Earl comes up with a quick plan, setting fire to the men's room garbage to break up the party. Sadly, no one can leave the bar, due to the killer bee attack.
When Blake announces that he's got everything in his backpack that he needs to protect everyone, Earl promises to protect Joy with everything he's got -- a piece of gum and a corn dog stick. When Joy returns to Blake's arms, Randy pulls out the video he made for Earl and Joy's anniversary as a bargaining chip. Sadly, the video clearly shows why Joy might think Blake is the better man.
Patty and Kenny seek shelter from the killer bees in the phone booth. Confronted with their mortality, everyone confesses their bucket lists: Catalina is a virgin; Patty has never had sex without getting paid; a hopeful Darnell's is up for a threesome; and Kenny has never kissed a man, though he really, really wants to. This makes Darnell uncomfortable.
Blake uses Earl's head to put the dent in the bar. When Earl claims that he's better at breaking things with his head than Blake, Joy puts her foot down. Earl is acting out of jealousy for his cousin, not out of love for Joy. Taking responsibility for tricking Earl into marrying her, Joy claims it's time they called it quits. Earl realizes that in an entire year of marriage, he'd never stopped to figure out whether or not he cared for his wife.
When a killer bee flies into the bar, mayhem erupts. Blake pushes Joy out of the way and hides in his tent. When Earl sees the bee making a beeline for Joy, he dives, killing it with his corn dog stick. While this moment didn't make him the perfect husband, it was the day when he first realized that he could care for someone other than Randy. Earl and Joy then shared a passionate kiss after the event.
Once the killer bee swarm heads to Texas, Darnell makes the other phone booth occupants swear never to talk about what took place therein. Back in the present, Earl fixes the bar, and Joy brings him a corn dog as an anniversary present. Out of all Earl's wives (the others being Ralph's mom and Billie), Earl and Randy agree, Joy is their favorite.
- This marks the final appearance of Donny Jones.
- Jason Priestly also worked with Dale Dickey in the 2005 movie Domino.
- Anthony DeMarco also worked with Gregg Brinkley and Dale Dickey in the 2008 movie Changeling
- Joy makes a reference to the fact that she tricked Earl into marrying her during this episode even though he didn't originally know about it until the events of "The Bounty Hunter" which takes place after this episode chronologically.
Nearly the whole episode is a flashback, although there are a few choice moments in Randy's wedding video present, including
- Earl giving Joy a Dutch oven
- Earl goes on a tirade when Joy asks him to perform a simple household chore
- Introduced and crossed off in this episode -
- Unnumbered list item 29 Put a dent in the Crab Shack bar
- "What's Your Name" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred
- "You're the Inspiration" by Chicago
- "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" by Journey
Randy: I got the idea off that show where the guy catches perverts in his kitchen every week. He should really move.
- Randy was alluding to Dateline: To Catch A Predator
- Jason Lee as Earl Hickey
- Ethan Suplee as Randy Hickey
- Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner
- Nadine Velazquez as Catalina Aruca
- Eddie Steeples as Darnell Turner
- Dale Dickey as Patty the Daytime Hooker
- Gregg Binkley as Kenny
- Trey Carlisle as Earl Jr.
- Anthony DeMarco as Young Earl
|< Season 3||My Name is Earl Season 4|
|#01||The Magic Hour||#08||Little Bad Voodoo Brother||#15||Darnell Outed (Part 1)||#22||Pinky|
|#02||Monkeys Take a Bath||#09||Sold a Guy a Lemon Car||#16||Darnell Outed (Part 2)||#23||Bullies|
|#03||Joy in a Bubble||#10||Earl and Joy's Anniversary||#17||Randy's List Item||#24||Gospel|
|#04||Stole an RV||#11||Nature's Game Show||#18||Friends With Benefits||#25||Inside Probe (Part 1)|
|#05||Sweet Johnny||#12||Reading is a Fundamental Case||#19||My Name is Alias||#26||Inside Probe (Part 2)|
|#06||We've Got Spirit||#13||Orphan Earl||#20||Chaz Dalton's Space Academy||#27||Dodge's Dad|
|#07||Quit Your Snitchin'||#14||Got the Babysitter Pregnant||#21||Witch Lady|