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‘Earl's’ Joy is a true Southern wonder

Jaime Pressly says her character is a dozen women in one
/ Source: The Associated Press

Jaime Pressly says Joy, her breakout character on NBC’s “My Name Is Earl,” is more than a dozen characters from the South rolled into one.

Specifically, Pressly says she modeled the way Joy talks from three states: a nasally tone she’s heard from women in Virginia, the way she’s seen some Arkansas women talk out of the side of their mouths, and her own fast-talking North Carolina accent.

Pressly’s feisty character, Earl’s ex-wife, has become a hero for women who approach Pressly and say Joy says exactly what they would like to say.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing her from the day I set foot on that set,” the 28-year-old actress said Sunday.

The range she’s shown with Joy — a gutsy woman who sometimes shows her insecurities — has enabled her to break down stereotypes about her as an actress, she said.

“They’ve never looked at me as someone who could play a vulnerable role,” she said.