Before “My Name Is Earl,” Jaime Pressly had been in a string of comedies, including “Poor White Trash,” “Tomcats,” “Joe Dirt,” and the underrated parody “Not Another Teen Movie.” Although these films were not all critical favorites, she was often considered one of the highlights of every film, with critic Scott Weinberg writing that, “Basically, if we were giving out an award for ‘the consistently best thing in a series of generally atrocious comedies,’ Jaime would be walking home with that prize, no sweat” (DVD Talk).
She was also a cast member of 1999 WB drama “Jack and Jill,” playing Broadway actress and dancer Audrey, but the show ended after 32 episodes.
Pressly said later that she had doubts over whether she wanted to continue her career before being cast as Joy in 2005, and credited the “Earl” role with making her want to act again: “[The series] came at a time when I was questioning whether this was the path I wanted to continue following. I was tired of living out of my suitcase, coming and going all the time. I wanted a little normalcy in my life” (Bella).