We covered one exceptional country murder in “Does He Love You?”, and now it’s time for another absolutely iconic one: “Goodbye Earl,” in which Jake Krakowski and Lauren Holly decide that Dennis Franz has to die. The Chicks apparently met Dennis backstage at a talk show and offered him the role of the cop, but he wanted to be Earl, so they handed a cop part to Adrian Pasdar — whom Natalie Maines met earlier that year at Emily’s wedding to Charlie Robison, and of course married the next year, and we know how THAT ended.
I hadn’t watched this in a while, and forgot what a gleeful romp it is, in spite of its extremely dark themes:
It was of course transgressive at the time for women to be portrayed as feisty and fighting back, rising up and getting revenge against their abusers — even in a darkly comedic way. In fact, to acknowledge abusers at ALL made people uncomfortable. If it’s a struggle to get people to talk about domestic violence now, imagine how it was 21 years ago; a lot of radio stations initially objected to playing it, though many ended up putting hotline numbers around it when they did.
I do LOVE this video. It must have been so fun to film, with the Chicks in there like a sassy Greek chorus egging everyone along. You know Lauren Holly is the Edgy one because she has purplish lipstick. And Zombie Earl at the end is a delight. It’s a shame Natalie Maines is stuck in that bandanna top and cargo pants, but whatever — we can’t pretend 1999 never happened, after all, and at least she was all-in on her lipstick. Mostly, it reminds me how ghastly it was that The Chicks were later essentially silenced for getting political, because what brave voices they have, and I’m glad they’re back using them together again.