Cost Dad the Election

List Number(s)
22 November 2005
Written by
Directed by

Cost Dad the Election

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Cost Dad the Election is the ninth episode of Season 1 of My Name Is Earl. Earl tries to cross off number four on his list, "blew dad's chance to be elected mayor". Four years earlier, Carl Hickey ran for mayor to redirect a proposed airplane traffic route over his house and away from the wealthy part of town. Earl unfortunately ruined any chance of his father winning when caught on tape assaulting a police officer. Earl must now help his father get elected and mend his relationship with his father.

Episode guideEdit

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 realized I had to change. So I made a list of all the bad things I've 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.

Earl goes to see Didi the one legged girl to make up for stealing her car (#86), however she was not pleased to see him and chased him away with the help of her no-legged boyfriend. While running away he fell over a promotion sign for a mayoral election, and realised that karma wanted him to be somewhere else; #4: Blew dad's chance to be elected mayor.


Marty Park in his campaign video

Back in the Motel room, Catalina tended to Earl's wounds from the fall. He pondered as to why the no-legged man stole his boots. Catalina questioned him on why Earl needed to convinced his father to run for mayor, and so he explained. Four years before making the List, Earl blew his father's chances of becoming mayor. Carl was angered after seeing the hopeful mayor-to-be Marty Park change a flight route over his and the neighbouring houses, so decided to run for mayor opposite Park. Meanwhile, Earl got into trouble with the police, something that was picked up by Park's campaigners, ruining Carl's chances of being elected.

Earl went to see his father, but he did not want to speak to Earl. Earl explained that he had changed, but Carl just ignored him. Earl was then shocked to see that Randy was there, and his mother Kay said that he came by every Sunday for a poker game. Earl asked why they hated him and not Randy, and she explained that while Earl was bad, Randy was simple. She pushed him out the door and Earl was left upset.


Earl dresses up for television

Earl went back to the Motel and decided to work on entering his father into the election whether he wanted it or not, as he wanted to show his father that he had changed. Randy came back, and, after discovering that Earl was not mad with him, decided to help Earl. Earl went on television to do a live debate with challenger Marty Park. He did a terrible job, and Carl went down to the television station to intervene. He said that he ran four years ago to stop the planes flying over Camden, but he did not want to run again.

After Carl mentioned the planes on television, everyone began to notice them again; from Didi and her boyfriend to Willie the One-Eyed Mailman, to Joy and Darnell. People began to vote for Carl so the planes would go away from their area, and he decided to run. Earl tried to help, but Carl told him that he did not want his help, and was only making him look worse. Soon after at the Crab Shack, Earl looked at some poll projections that suggested Carl would lose and blame Earl again for getting him into the situation.


Randy looses the sheets

Earl realized that there would be hundreds of unregistered voters that were unemployed, poor and uneducated, much like him. He became a voting registrar. He collected hundreds of forms, but while in the car Randy let them all go. This attracted the attention of a police officer, and Earl got out of the car to collect the forms. Despite the officer pleading with Earl to get back in the car, he continued to collect the forms, forcing the officer to taser Earl. This was caught on camera, and once again Marty Park used it to his advantage to win the election.

In prison, Earl was saddened for causing his father to lose the election. Carl came and bailed him out once again, but would not listen as Earl explained that he was trying to be a better person. As Carl drove away, Earl realised that his father was coming around, as he had not bailed him out of jail in over six years. He told Randy that if he kept doing good things then maybe one day his father would be proud of him.


  • Although this episode is number nine in the series, it screened as episode three in Australia.
  • When Earl's dad is handing out buttons after the live debate, at the end of the scene there is an easter egg for viewers of the show in high definition. Just as the scene is about to cut to Randy handing out cookies is a sign at the extreme left. The sign reads: "Carl Hickey Loves High Def".
  • Despite claiming to be allergic to cats in this episode, Earl copes fine with the cat in Larceny of a Kitty Cat.


  • Earl as a child is shown through flashbacks to have caused his father many problems, even into adulthood.
  • Earl and Randy's previous misdemeanours are shown through flashbacks, as is their father bails them out of prison, until he stops completely.
  • Carl Hickey's last run for mayor is shown through flashback, as well as Earl's actions that cause him to lose.


  • Introduced in this episode:
    • - #4 Blew dad's chance to be elected mayor.
  • Re-introduced in this episode:
  • Nothing is officially crossed off the List in this episode. However, by what Earl's father was saying, Earl probably crossed off "breaking a window".
  • Earl mentions that his dad is #4 on his list several times during the episode, while we can clearly see during the title sequence, that "Cost Dad an Election" is #65.

Featured musicEdit

  • "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant (Joy and Earl get tasered)
  • "Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo (Randy loses the election forms)
  • "Time Has Told Me" by Nick Drake (Earl is getting bailed out the last time)
  • "Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder
  • "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Memorable quotesEdit

  • Earl Hickey: (in the strip club) Jasmine, Savannah I'd like to talk to you ladies about another kind of poll. (shows them a voters registration form)

  • Earl Hickey: (voice over) Back when I was married to Joy she often filled the role of designated driver.... (Earl and Randy are in the back of the truck, drinking, Earl throws an empty beer can, that hits a cop car) Of course that didn’t mean we stayed out of trouble. (the cop pulls them over)
  • Joy Turner: (gets out of car and speaks to Earl) What kind of idiot throws a beer can at a cop car?




Guest starringEdit