While some writers mused about taking minimum-wage gigs to help them make ends meet or alleviate their boredom during the strike, My Name is Earl creator Greg Garcia actually followed through on the idea, hoping to reconnect with the people a sitcom showrunner tends not to encounter while locked in a writers room with a dozen former Harvard Lampoon writers for 14 hours a day. According to THR, Garcia quietly took a month-long job at an undisclosed fast food joint, careful not to reveal to his new coworkers that he was actually a millionaire TV producer patiently waiting around for some kind of deep-fryer mishap he could possibly work into a future Earl. Not unexpectedly, Garcia experienced some amusing plot complications during his high-concept adventure, which ended with the kind of feel-good, hugging-and-learning resolution we all expect from our Hollywood-produced comedies:
"This wound up a really positive thing," Garcia said.
"It didn't turn me off from fast food. In fact, it was really the opposite. The place was unbelievably clean. The people whom I worked with were great. And the work itself was fun. Really. I worked hard — cashiering, cleaning the bathrooms. A few days in, they liked me so much they asked me to join their management team."
And on his way out the door, besides coming clean, Garcia gifted one co-worker whom he had befriended with a cashier's check for $10,000, which left the employee "confused, then excited. It was just something I felt I wanted to do."
But how did the people in charge of the restaurant react when they got wind of who Garcia really was?
"They were concerned at first because they were worried I might be doing some sort of expose," he said. "After we spoke, they felt good about the whole thing. And so did I."
We suppose it remains to be seen whether or not Garcia will actually adapt his fast food experiences for an Earl episode or be content leave it as a fun and heartwarming story he decided to share only with some friends, colleagues and several thousand trade-paper subscribers. In any case, getting off the set long enough to reconnect with one's creative inspiration is an idea virtually any artist toiling in the sheltered world of sitcoms should seriously consider; we look forward to one day hearing a moving story about the lucky exotic-dancing beneficiary of Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen's largesse, and how she was able to make a down payment on a new house following the 30-day stint as a Spearmint Rhino DJ the actor used to revive his flagging enthusiasm for a character he's been playing for five seasons.