The Frank Factor is the 4th episode of Season 3 of My Name Is Earl, and the 51st episode overall. Earl reunites with an old friend and now fellow inmate Frank, who is in prison for robbery. Earl, Randy, Frank and Paco planned a heist on an Indian casino, that went unexpectedly wrong. Earl missed the robbery at the last minute because he got drunk and married Joy the night before, while Randy plain forgot about it while watching television. We also see how Catalina and Darnell came to Camden County. Darnell entering the witness protection program and Catalina illegally immigrating to the U.S.
Feeling guilty, Joy visits Earl in prison, bearing gifts. Earl and Joy are delighted to spot their old pal Frank, whom they haven't seen in seven years, about the same time Earl and Randy got kicked out of their parents' house. They take up residence on a couch someone threw on the sidewalk, as a girl they haven't met yet - Joy - deals with her own problems. Impregnated by a one night stand who didn't leave his number, Joy's parents kick her out when her baby bump starts to show.
Joy takes up residence at the Palms Motel, which smells so bad, she resolves to find a sugar daddy and fast. When Earl and Randy's couch is taken away on big trash pick-up day, they are once again homeless. Earl spots Frank's flyer offering a room for rent. The room in question is the kitchen of his one bedroom apartment. Muscled Paco, who likes to dance and sing in his underwear has the parlor. Overjoyed that they'll be able to pee in a half bath (the kitchen sink), Earl and Randy move in.
Frank tells the boys that Paco is overcome with grief, having had to leave his woman, Catalina behind. She's convinced that Paco will return to take her to America. Earl and Randy love living with Frank, who drives a cool El Camino, and has a great job at the Crab Shack. The job will eventually become Darnell's, but at this time, he is still in the witness protection program.
Earl and Randy need to get some money for the rent by the end of the week. At the Crab Shack, hooker Patty introduces her wealthy john, Yoshimitsu, who wears a giant diamond watch. Earl and Randy break into Yoshimitsu's motel room to steal the watch, delighted to find that Frank and Paco are thieves, too. Randy punches them both out, but all is forgiven - it's just the price of doing business.
Meanwhile, Joy latches on to Tim Stack, who wants to sample the milk before buying the cow. She's fine with that, even if her milk hasn't come in yet. Tim comes out of the bathroom dressed as a baby in diapers, and Joy knows it's not going to work out. Meanwhile, Catalina begins her journey to the U.S.
The guys split the watch money four ways. Frank and Paco are going to invest their money in big guns to aid in their plan to rob an Indian casino, the same evening that Howie Mandel is scheduled to perform. Then Paco can send for Catalina and they'll be rich. Randy and Earl want to invest in their future too, so Frank cuts them in on the job, thinking that if there's four of them, his chances of getting killed will lessen.
On the day of the big job, Paco and Frank leave to steal a van, so Randy and Earl chill at the Crab Shack, where they meet Joy for the first time. After his twelfth margarita, Earl decides to blow off the robbery for a quickie wedding in Vegas. Randy takes in an H.R. Pufnstuf marathon and forgets to go to the casino. Frank never comes back from the robbery, so Earl and Joy move into his bedroom and start driving his car, figuring he's on a beach somewhere.
Frank admits that although the robbery went off without a hitch, things didn't go the way he planned. Catching a glimpse of Catalina, Paco crashes into an FBI van that has just dropped Darnell on the side of the road to start his new life. Their hostage, Howie Mandel escapes, and the jig is up. Realizing that if she hadn't taken Earl to Vegas he'd be doing 20 years, Joy finally feels guilt free.
- In the season two episode "Mailbox", Catalina said: "I need to feel good about something before I kill someone again".
When Earl asked what she meant, she quickly changed the subject. In this episode, in a flashback, Catalina and her mother have a choice: one of them can go to America in a crate and the other one has to die. In the next scene, Catalina is the one who gets into the crate, having supposedly won the fight. This might be the explanation for the quote above.
- When Catalina approaches Darnell just after he climbs out of the FBI van, the Spanish sentences she tells him are "Look, this doesn't make any sense in this series, since we all know I got here after Y2K, but who notices that kind of thing?". It's actually a running joke of the show to have non-English lines contain fourth wall-breaking jokes.
- In this episode she and Darnell arrive in Camden at the same time, whereas in the episode "Y2K", Catalina was put in the crate and sent to the USA after Darnell got his job at the Crab Shack and met Earl, Randy and Joy.
- Juliette Lewis makes a cameo as Jessie as she walks out of the Crab Shack before Earl meets Joy for the first time, after she gave him the Metallica tickets to the concert that they were planning to go to (See episode 21 of season 1).
- "Wheel In The Sky" by Journey
- "Gin & Juice" (original by Snoop Dogg) performed by The Gourds
- Joy: Why are you touching me? Where's that female guard who looks like the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers?
- Randy: She's sick today so they said I get to frisk all the women, 'cause if someone sues, I got the least stuff to lose.
[slowly moves to chest, then squeezes breasts]
- Joy: Randy!
- Earl: Hey, by the way, what's your last name?
- Joy: Well, it was Darvell, but I guess it's whatever your last name is now.
- Earl: Oh, yeah! Well, nice to met you Mrs Hickey.
- Joy: Mrs Hickey, that's funny. Seriously, what's your last name.
- Joy: Earl, I'm serious, tell me your real last name?
- Earl: I told you it's Hickey. Joy, this is my brother Randy.
- Randy: Hey.
- Joy: You ain't staying here. And, I'm not going to be called Ms Hickey. It took me all of fifth grade to lose that nickname and I'm sure as hell not going back to it now.
- Joy: C'mon Tim, hurry up and lets do this. The sun's almost up and my morning sickness is about to set in. You do not want to be under me when that happens.
- Earl: Frank?
- Frank: Earl?
- Earl: What are you doing here?
- Frank: I'm here to steal Yoshi's watch?
- Earl: You're kidding me, I'm here to steal Yoshi's watch.
- Frank: Get outta here, you steal?
- Earl: Hell yeah I steal! Look, I'm wearing your pants! Took them right out of the dryer!
- Jason Lee as Earl Hickey
- Ethan Suplee as Randy Hickey
- Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner
- Nadine Velazquez as Catalina
- Eddie Steeples as Darnell Turner
- Howie Mandel as Himself
- Ken Takemoto as Yoshimitsu
- Julia Vera as Catalina's Mother
- Alejandro Patino as Coyote
- Charles Howerton as FBI Instructor
- Duane Shepard Sr. as Exterminator