My Name Is Earl has done it again. Previously, we have seen several Spanish-language jokes that break the fourth wall, and now they're expanding their efforts to Japanese.
In this week's episode, The Frank Factor, we see the origins of the various characters before they all end up together. As Catalina has freshly landed in the United States, she is walking along the side of the road just as Darnell (a.k.a. Crab Man, f.k.a Harry Monroe) is dropped off by FBI agents. She walks up to him and starts speaking Spanish to him in a concerned tone. She says:
¿Disculpe, disculpe — señor? Mira, yo sé que ésto no tiene sentido con este programa porque como hemos visto yo vine después de "Y2K", pero en realidad quién quién pone atención a esos tipos de cosas?
The viewer is left to believe that the new arrival is concerned about finding a place to live, to eat, or may just be concerned with what to do now that she has finally reached the United States. What Catalina has actually said is this:
Excuse me, excuse me — sir? Look, I know that this doesn't make any sense with this show because we have seen that I came after [in the episode] "Y2K", but in reality who — who pays attention to those types of things?
Catalina is talking about the fact that in the Y2K episode, she is seen starting her journey to the United States while Earl and the gang are meeting Darnell at the Crab Shack for the first time. In this episode, the timeline/canon is broken because Darnell has just been dropped off by the FBI van and certainly has not started working yet, however Catalina has already arrived in Camden County. The writers have skewed the show's timeline to have the origin stories line up better for this episode, and they wanted us to know that they are aware that we viewers notice these sorts of things. My wife also translated the phrase as "I2K", and I have to assume this is a mispronunciation of the Y2K flashback episode. Another blog has also verified this mispronunciation.
The episode also has two Japanese lines spoken by Patty's Japanese "client". He speaks only Japanese in the scene, and none of the characters are aware of what he is saying. Randy keeps cracking up about him speaking "gibberish".
Update: I was finally able to get a partial translation of the Japanese. After Patty introduces Yoshi to Earl and Randy, the Yoshi character says a phrase in Japanese, and right before they exit the scene, he speaks again. Here are the two lines in Japanese:
tenkeiteki na nihonjin no yaru ga kirai da. demo agent ga kore wa yaru no hou ga ii to itta
kare wa dokyun ga kare wa zenbu nandemo shite wo wakan nai no. ikou!
Though this seems to be poor grammar according to the people translating, the two lines are roughly translated as:
I really hate doing Japanese stereotypes, but my agent said I should do it.
He's a dumba**. He has no idea what he's doing. I'm going!
I'll keep posting updates as I get them.
The blog Spanengrish Ramblings posted the following translation, which varies a bit from what I got:
I really hate doing Japanese stereotypes, but my agent said I should probably do it.
Where is he? He's always doing this to me. Let's go.
Let's hope that My Name Is Earl keeps up the great work and inside jokes to multilingual viewers!