The Professor is the sixteenth episode of Season 1 of My Name Is Earl. Earl is nervous about returning a laptop computer he stole from a college professor, mostly because he is uncomfortable around smart people. When the professor turns out to be a beautiful woman, he feels even more ill at ease. Meanwhile, Randy experiences fraternity life.
- You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things then wonders why his life sucks? Well, that was me. Every time something good happened to me something bad was always waiting around the corner. Karma. That's when I realised I had to change. So I made a list of everything bad I've ever done and, one by one, I'm going to make up for all my mistakes. I'm just trying to be a better person; my name is Earl.
Catalina brings Earl and Randy some of the items left after a man died in one of the Motel rooms and he had no next of kin. Whilst searching through the box of stuff Randy found a laptop, which Catalina said the Motel's manager had called dibs on. That reminded Earl of a laptop they stole, #37. After finding it out, they set off to take it back to it's owner. In the El Camino, Randy tried to search for a name, but was distracted by a screensaver of fish. Earl looked at the screen, and crashed into a bus stop whilst he had his eyes off the road. He added it to his List #263, just as Randy found the name. A college professor at Frostburg College by the name of Alex Meyers owned the laptop. Earl was unhappy about having to go to a college as he did not get on well with smart people, but he and Randy made it there.
Whilst looking for Dunkle Hall, the psycology building where professor Meyers worked, Randy was given a flyer about a fraternity party and ran off to go to it. Earl discovered where he went and set off after him. In the party, Randy is excited to see how much more fun it is than he expected, and Earl agreed to let him stay until he had dropped off the laptop. He found Alex Meyers' office, but was shocked to find out the professor was a woman.
He tried to confront her, but she was worried that he was going to try to rape her, and attacked him. When Earl showed her the laptop, she realised what was happening and softened. Taking Earl back to her office, she apologized and inquired about Earl and his new karma-led life. He explained that karma had "tossed [him] around a little". She asked if Earl would speak at her class, wanting to show her class his thoughts about his situation and share them with others. He agreed to do so, despite promising a woman who was at the bus stop he knocked over that he would fix it the next day, which is when Alex asked him to speak at her class.
Earl went to see Randy, who was still enjoying himself in the fraternity. He told Randy about Alex, and when he told him that they were staying for another day so he could speak at the class, Randy was overjoyed. The next day in the class Earl began to give his talk, but was freaked out when the students typed everything he said. They stopping doing so after Alex asked them just to listen, and Earl began to describe how he had been bad in the past, how he learnt about karma and how he made his List. After the class Alex congratulated Earl on giving a wonderful speech, and they walked and talked for hours. Alex asked Earl if he wanted to go to a lunch she had to attend the next day, and Earl agreed.
Earl went back to the fraternity and explained what was happening to Randy. He was pleased to be able to stay another night so he could 'pledge' with the frat. Randy said he was glad that Earl wasn't going back to fix the bus stop, which reminded him of the promise he made to the lady there that he had broken. Alex came in to give Earl his shirt back she had borrowed, and kissed him on the cheek. Earl decided to stay with Alex, allowing karma to do whatever it wanted to try to get him back. Straight afterwards a dart was thrown into Earl's arm, but he said it was still worth staying for.
The next day at the cocktail party, Earl dressed up in a frat brother's suit to look nice for Alex. Soon after meeting with her, Earl was hit in the eye with the cork of a bottle of champagne that was popped, but he decided Alex was still worth staying for, whatever karma did to him. However, as the party progressed Earl was constantly attacked by bees and so decided to leave to cross something off the List. He was unable to do so, and told karma that he would cross things off his List when he wanted to, not when karma did. He went back to find Alex, who had been stung by bees herself all over her face. Earl realised that karma was going after Alex because it could not get to him. Earl said that maybe he and Alex should not see each other anymore because he needed to focus on the List. After one first and last kiss, Earl left.
He fixed the bus stop he had broken, realising that maybe he was not ready to have a girlfriend, and declared that when karma thought he was ready, it would send him a girl he was worthy of being with.
- The dead man's hat from room 203, that Randy is surprised to see, is the same hat he previously wore while trying to sell cleaning supplies to Joy on Monkeys in Space, 2 episodes earlier.
- Although credited, Jaime Pressly and Eddie Steeples do not appear in this episode.
- Randy complains about needing a password to see what was on the computer, even though it immediately jumped to a regular Windows screen before.
- Earl's address as shown on the postcard:
- "Earl Hickey
- The Palms Hotel Room #231
- 9005 Lincoln Blvd.
- Camden, USA"
- At the cocktail party, a bird craps on the corner of Earl's shoulder. When he wipes it off, the spot is nearer to the lapel. In subsequent scenes the spot is on the corner again.
- At the end of the episode, Earl talks about one day recieving a girl that karma thought he was worthy of having. In Season 3, Earl meets up with Billie Cunningham who he sees as this reward.
- In a deleted scene, the last scene with Alex and Earl is shown again, but Alex's bee stings are substantially worse.
- A flashbacks shows the Motel's manager calling dibs on the laptop before Officer Bob Smiley can do so.
- Earl and Randy try to locate a screensaver on the laptop they stole.
- One flashback shows a six year old Earl competing in a spelling bee.
- Another shows a twelve year old Earl in a spelling bee.
- A flashback shows the woman talking to Earl after he knocks over the bus stop (this appeared in the episode's narrative, but a section was repeated as a flashback).
- Introduced and crossed off in this episode
- - #37 Stole a laptop.
- Newly added and crossed off in this episode
- "Louie, Louie" by The Kingsmen
- "Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
- "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult
- "Hooch" by Everything
- Earl Hickey: Didn't we used to have an Uncle Duncle?
- Randy Hickey: These guys are so smart, Earl, they figured out how to put booze in food. 'Cept you can't eat too many or you pass out and they write "balls" on you forehead in permanent marker.
- Earl Hickey: (voiceover) An amazing thing happened after class. We just kept walking and talking and we never ran out of stuff to say. It was like one of those movies where a guy meets a girl and they talk and laugh at each other's stories. I usually don't watch movies like that but I was starting to understand why people do.
- Earl Hickey: Randy, I think she likes me; she asked me to go to a party. And we talked and we joked around; she even touched my arm.
- Randy Hickey: Really, how'd she do that? (Earl strokes Randy's forearm) It feels like she likes you.
- Earl Hickey: That's what I'm saying.
- Randy Hickey: Does this mean we're going to stay another night? (Earl strokes Randy's forearm again)
- Earl Hickey: Would you walk away from that?
- Randy: No way. I even like when you do it.
- Waiter: Shrimp Kebab?
- Earl Hickey: Yeah, how much for two?
- Waiter: They're free.
- Earl Hickey: Free shrimp, huh? College.
- Christine Taylor as Alex Meyers
- Samm Levine as Tom
- Kasan Butcher as Frat Guy
- Kevin Michael Walsh as Greg
- Eric Larkin as Motel Manager
- Michael Taylor Gray as Waiter
|My Name is Earl Season 1||Season 2 >|
|#00 Bad Karma|
|#01||Pilot||#07||Stole Beer from a Golfer||#13||Stole P's HD Cart||#19||Y2K|
|#02||Quit Smoking||#08||Joy's Wedding||#14||Monkeys in Space||#20||Boogeyman|
|#03||Randy's Touchdown||#09||Cost Dad the Election||#15||Something to Live For||#21||The Bounty Hunter|
|#04||Faked My Own Death||#10||White Lie Christmas||#16||The Professor||#22||Stole a Badge|
|#05||Teacher Earl||#11||Barn Burner||#17||Didn't Pay Taxes||#23||BB|
|#06||Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine||#12||O Karma, Where Art Thou?||#18||Dad's Car||#24||Number One|