Season One, Episode One
So everyone has been telling me about this Showtime series that I “really have to check out because it’s awesome.” (No, not all of my friends are stoners) So with a bunch of shows on some kind of hiatus and my constant cough and cold keeping me in bed most nights these days, I decided to check out Shameless. To recap: I know Shameless is about to start its third season, but I’m going to talk about it now because it’s the first time I’m watching it.
The Pilot episode was very good, presenting us with the Gallaghers, a large and dysfunctional family raised by the oldest sister, Fiona. Their dad, Frank, is an alcoholic who drinks all day and passes out somewhere on the floor every night. Lip and Ian are the second and third oldest, share a room and have a best friend kind of relationship with each other. Then there are Debbie, Carl, and Liam who are the youngest of the family and frankly don’t have much impact on the show (so far at least). And to round out the main cast there are Veronica and Kevin, the couple next door who always lend a hand with the Gallaghers, and then there’s Steve, much wealthier than them and has a thing for Fiona.
The Pilot has a lot of energy and really lies down how the characters are and how they interact with each other on a day-to-day basis. Fiona is the glue that holds everything together, but she also loves to have fun and party when she has the chance. Lip is concerned for his brother Ian when he finds out that he’s gay and while he can’t understand it, he accepts it. Meanwhile Steve tries to impress Fiona by buying her and the family a new washing machine.
From the Pilot, the strength of the show relies heavily on Emmy Rossum’s shoulders as Fiona. She has the tough personality that is needed to keep everyone on track such as juggling the children’s food, homework, laundry, ect. Everyone respects her and rightfully so because she is a saint for doing what she does and not running out on them like her mom did. Rossum caries her role with dignity and courage.
Season One, Episode Two
In the second episode, “Frank the Plank,” Frank is much more conscious and we see more of his character than from the pilot. While Steve has eased his way into the Gallaghers’ routine, he witnesses the first family fight as Frank headbutts Ian (as retaliation for getting headbutt from Karen’s father). Steve stands up to Frank but Fiona orders him to leave.
This is where the show is going to become interesting real quick. The Steve-Fiona dynamic is definitely going to be a roller-coaster of a ride. Even from the first time they go out, Fiona doesn’t exactly trust Steve and whenever he buys her or her family something, it’s going to come off as charity. To be fair, Steve isn’t the most loquacious guy in the world and can’t talk his way out of a jam like a character from Dawson’s Creek, so he’s going to buy things to say he’s sorry. You can see the vicious cycle.
Anyway, Steve tries to make things better for the Gallaghers by practically making Frank disappear (after Frank gets drunk, he drives him to Canada and drops him off in a park). This obviously isn’t the way to sort out a family problem and Fiona quickly teaches Steve that with a nice right hook. Steve ends up retrieving Frank from Canada by sneaking him back. He tries to apologize to Fiona by giving her a van so she could drive her family around in. The washing machine and now a van. She furiously gives Steve money as a down payment for the washing machine because he’s making her feel like a charity case. Of course that’s now Steve’s motivation, but you can tell that Fiona doesn’t feel like she needs anyone to “save” her.
Unfortunately, half of the episode concentrated on Frank. After he returned, he sparked something up with Karen’s mom, Sheila. Their scenes weren’t funny and instead were just awkward. It wasn’t even so-terrible-but-I-can’t-stop-watching good. It was just bad.
So while I enjoyed the pacing and the energy of the Pilot episode, the following episode was lacking anything to make the hour worth watching. But there is definitely potential with the series and hopefully it continues to drive the jokes and allow Emmy Rossum to be the center of the series. Oh, and I hope this Frank/Sheila story doesn’t last too long, or else I’m going to have to grow a sense of humor for old people doing weird sex shit. Yeah, that’s not happening.