In its freshman season, viewers are introduced to Earl Hickey, a lifelong (but oddly lovable) no-account who wins the lottery, then promptly loses the ticket after being hit by a car. In an epiphany, Earl realizes its all because of bad karma.
Earl has taken one too many wrong turns on the highway of life. However, a twist of fate turns his life into a tailspin of life-renewing events.
While continuing on his karmic quest Earl is faced with the dilemma as to what bad deed he should tackle next. To quite smoking is one option, but this turns out to be a bigger challenge than Earl originally anticipates.
To cross yet another injustice off his list, Earl vows to get his brother Randy the football touchdown denied to him in high school.
While atoning for stealing from a convenience store, Earl spots Natalie (guest star Beth Riesgraf), a very needy, clingy girl whom he broke up with by faking his own death.
Earl is teaching English as a Second Language to cross "made fun of people with accents" off his list. When an old friend, Ralph (guest star Giovanni Ribisi), gets out of prison Earl convinces him to try karma, which works... for a while.
Continuing down his list, Earl must help Joy's former nemesis and her daughter win a beauty pageant in order to replace her figurine that he broke.
This time Earl decides to pick something simple from his list - stole beer from a golfer - so that he and Randy can attend the county fair like they do every year.
Earl learns that Joy has neglected to invite him to her and Darnell's wedding from Randy's invitation, which instructs him to bring "anyone but Earl."
Earl sets out to mend his relationship with his father Carl (guest star Beau Bridges) by trying to cross number four off of his list: "blew dad's chance to be elected mayor."
As the holiday season comes under way a few secrets are exposed when Earl attempts to cross number seventy-four off of his list: "always ruined Joy's Christmas."
When Joy's kids are denied enrollment into the camp for troubled youth at the Right Choice Ranch, Earl realizes his reputation for burning down the Ranch's barn when he was a youngster has had a lasting effect.
Earl and Randy try to return a stolen wallet when they find out that taking the money cost two newlyweds their honeymoon.
Earl does right when he returns a Pops' Old Fashioned Weiner hot dog cart, which he and Ralph (guest star Giovanni Ribisi) had stolen years prior.
When one of Earl's old friends is arrested he decides to make amends for number eighteen on his list - "told an inappropriate story at Hank Lange's (guest star Tim Dekay) birthday party."
Earl takes his car troubles as a sign that it is time for him to redeem himself for a long run of stealing gas out of a complete stranger's car.
On their way to return a stolen laptop, Earl and Randy knock over a bus stop sign. Earl promises an elderly woman that he'll fix the sign after returning the laptop, but he is sidetracked by the computer's owner, the beautiful college professor Alex Meyers (guest star Christine Taylor).
Earl realizes that he had been cheating the government by failing to pay his taxes in the past.
When Mother's Day rolls around, Earl remembers that he has never given his mother a good Mother's Day gift.
When Earl decides to cross number twenty-four off his list, "stole a red take-a-number machine," he finds that he has to first convince Randy it's the right thing to do.
When Earl decides to cross off "made a kid scared of the boogeyman" from his list, he discovers just what kind of lasting affect he had on the little boy.
In order to protect Joy, Earl finds himself in desperate need to take care of number forty-five on his list, "ditched Jessie (guest star Juliette Lewis, "Cape Fear") to marry Joy."
While hanging out next to a storm drain, Earl and Randy come across an object from their past--a police badge.
Earl sets out to make up for number 147 on his list, "shot Gwen Waters (guest star Miriam Shor) with a BB gun."
Season Finale - On the suggestion of Darnell, Earl decides to cross off number one from his list, "stole ten dollars from a guy at the Camden Market."