- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2005


HAGERSTOWN, Md. - His name is Earl, and he lives in a place that resembles Western Maryland, the palm trees notwithstanding.

Credit Gregory T. Garcia, creator and writer of “My Name Is Earl,” with putting a lot of mountain Maryland into the NBC sitcom. Mr. Garcia, a 1992 graduate of Frostburg State University, recently had his lovably scruffy characters consider taking a bus to Hagerstown and catching up with someone near Cumberland, two of the biggest cities in the state’s Appalachian panhandle.

Frostburg State alumni may recognize the Crab Shack, where Earl’s ex-wife’s new husband, Darnell, works, as a replica of the Diamond Lounge, a basement pub in downtown Frostburg, right down to the red-and-black felt wallpaper. Frostburg State also will be featured when the characters visit the school in an upcoming episode, Mr. Garcia told the Cumberland Times-News.

The show is obviously shot in California, but fans have surmised that it is set in Maryland. Mr. Garcia won’t say which state is home to the show’s fictional Camden County, named for one of his two sons with Kim Ludke, another Frostburg State grad.

Mr. Garcia, a native of Arlington, says he also injects some of his own experiences into the show, which revolves around Earl’s quest to change his karma by righting a long list of wrongs. Those wrongs include shooting a girl in the neck with a BB gun, something Mr. Garcia says he did in high school.

“We’re definitely a show that does some edgier stuff, but we try to mix it with an emotional undertone,” Mr. Garcia says. “Without beating people over the heads, if someone walks away with a little more understanding, that’s good. If they just watch it and laugh, that’s fine, too.”

Mr. Garcia says he enrolled in Frostburg State’s speech communication program to pursue a radio career. He found his calling after taking a Writing for Television class and winning a Warner Bros. script contest.

He moved to Los Angeles and began writing for sitcoms, including ABC’s long-running “Family Matters” and the network’s “On Our Own.” After creating the short-lived “Built to Last” in 1997 and co-producing the animated series “Family Guy,” Mr. Garcia created “Yes, Dear,” a CBS sitcom that also features references to Maryland and Frostburg State.

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