“Shameless” 2.08 Recap: “The Dirtiest White Boy in America”

Justin Chatwin and Emmy Rossum

After taking a week off to let the Oscars do all the hard partying, the Gallagher clan was back last night with an epside that felt like another step in its continued return to form after a somewhat lackluster first half of the second season. Let’s jump in and see who was the most Shameless this week!

We start off with Frank (William H. Macy) drinking Old Styles (still got it!) on Sheila’s (Joan Cusack) floor. Wait – didn’t she kick him to the curb? Anyway, apparently he’s upset that his mom has cancer (Sheila asks, “the bad kind?” as if there were any other) and after initiatlly trying to show Frank the silver lining (and convince him that the sun will come out tomorrow), Sheila eventually admits, “Well, if anyone deserves cancer, it’s your mother.”

This Hallmark moment brought to you by beer, bitterness, and several decades sleeping within reaching distance of the L train’s third rail.

Stephanie Fantauzzi

Apparently Gram (Louise Fletcher) has been moved to Sheila’s because after she set the Gallagher Compound on fire, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) isn’t keen on letting her back in. Things are business as usual there, with Carl (Ethan Cutosky) yammering on about how his football coach was arrested for exposing himself to kids, leading him to a rare moment of clarity: “Half the world has penises; why are people so upset about seeing them?” From the mouths of babes, truly. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) refuses to take the gig, because he is clearly too busy trying to avoid being involved in any of the storylines that actually get air time. Steve (Justin Chatwin), who has never been camera shy, shows up with coffee, donuts, and Estefania, whose conversations in Portuguese can now magically be heard through the wonder of subtitles. This leads to one of the funnier moments in the episode, when she tells the mystery person on the other end of the line that she is in some kind of filthy halfway house and is “holding a crack baby” that happens to be wee Liam.

Naturally, Steve/Jimmy takes the coaching gig when he hears that Fiona will show up at the games.

Noel Fisher, Cameron Monaghan, and a well-placed BJ

Frank hits the Kash & Grab, but when he finds it locked, he has to sneak in the back door. When he reaches into the cooler for some booze, he very nearly gets a handful of tight teen pooper instead, and is treated to the sight of Ian’s ripe trousermelons pumping away in the walk-in. When he sees that the recipient of said pumping is Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher), he isn’t the least bit fazed – in fact, he makes a not-terrible pun about having to “come in the back” and then robs the joint. Mickey doesn’t look terribly pleased – indeed, he thinks they should kill Frank before he blabs about it. Ian says he’ll talk to him.

Fiona wakes Lip (Jeremy Allen White) and tries to make him go to school. He’s dropping out, blah blah. But they do make a deal – if she finishes high school, so will he.

Frank is mixing Jack Daniels and orange juice on Sheila’s porch. Ian comes to talk to him, but Frank wanders off before he has the chance. Sheila, meanwhile, is sending Jody (Zack McGowan) – who is still living in a tent under the L tracks – messages via kazoo when Karen is gone and the coast is clear for him to come inside. Hmm. Is it just me or is Sheila a bit too invested in Jody’s well-being?

Mickey and his similarly filthy brothers suit up to kill Frank. They are truly terrifying, as evidenced by the fact that instead of a pantry in their kitchen, they have a supplies closet from Hostel.

Karen (Laura Wiggins) tells Lip that she wants to give the baby up for adoption after “vadging it out”. She’s also not terribly concerned with abstaining from drugs in the meantime, pointing out that Frank and Monica were on all kinds of crap while Lip was in utero, and he came out a genius. After Karen skates, a guidance counselor who is apparently watching Lip’s back tells him that he’s not getting away with just taking tech classes and is going to excel and get a full scholarship to an Ivy League school.

William H. Macy

At the Alibi Room, Frank toasts a Bloody Mary to no one in particular. Kev (Steve Howey) ever the dear, wonders if Frank is drinking that particular bevvie because he lacks vitamins. Frank then launches into a charming tale of the abuse he suffered at his mother’s hand as a child. Another regular chimes in with “I wish I could punch my kid in the face!” and Kev reminds him that other people can hear what he says when he speaks out loud. Frank heads for the head (with his Bloody Mary, which is kinda gross) just as Mickey comes in looking for him – Kev is smart enough to cover for him.

Louise Fletcher and Zack McGowan

Back at Sheila’s, Jody and Sheila bond while Gram puts out her ciggie in a delicious-looking stack of waffles behind them. I thought I hated this woman before, but defacing scrumptuous breakfast foods is truly beyond the pale. She asks for help going upstairs, but then falls and apparently poos herself. I still maintain that the waffle atrocity is more upsetting. Jody, ever the gentleman, helps her and offers to get her drugs for the pain. Jody, did you not see what she did to those Belgian beauties?!?!

Back at the Compound, Veronica (Shenola Hampton) pops by and Fiona fills her in on everything, including the GED that she’s going to try to get. V says that “Kev turned down a blow job today,” so apparently anything is possible. (Kev is all about the procreation lately, remember.) Mickey comes looking for Frank – wrong tree, buddy! – and V remarks, “That is the dirtiest white boy in America.”

Karen and Lip visit a Catholic adoption charity but bolt when they realize that they won’t get any cash for the kid. Later, they visit a general adoption agency and realize they won’t get any money there, either, until the employee – Stacy – hands Karen a card for a family attorney after she basically threatens to shoot heroin directly into her womb in front of her.

Frank and a bum huff … something? … at Carl’s football practice, and Frank accidentally bird-dogs Steve, thinking that he’s a chick with a pixie cut and a great ass.

Ian quizzes Fiona on American history. It’s just as thrilling as it sounds.

Sheila tells Frank he’s a good son, and by the way Jody dropped off a buttload of drugs for Gram. Frank wastes no time JACKING THE MORPHINE DRIP FROM HER ARM and plugging it into himself. Way to keep it classy, cracky!

Back at home, Carl tests his new helmet by asking Debs (Emma Kenney) to whack him upside the head with a baseball bat, which she gladly does. Debs, America thanks you.

Cameron Monaghan and Bill Macy

Ian ambushes Frank, who is high as a kite on Gram’s morphine. When he brings up the walk-in sex, Frank rambles on about how “Men have always had men”, citing Michelangelo and “that guy from Hogan’s Heroes.” Ian tells Frank that Mickey wants to kill him, and he doesn’t want him to go back to juvie for it. Awww … so he’s protecting his fella! And they say romance is dead…

Kev and Lip put away the ice cream truck for the season and talk about procreating or something.

Joan Cusack and Louis Fletcher

Jody goes on another drug run when he realizes Frank cleaned them out – Sheila comments, “He’s like a superhero.” For scoring drugs, yes. I don’t know that Marvel has anyone filling that particular niche, so maybe he’s got something there. And is it just me or is she totally crushing on him? Anyway, Gram apologizes for pointing a gun at her and Sheila apologizes for telling her that her coochie smells like sulfur. This leads to a bonding moment straight out of the world’s filthiest Summer’s Eve commercial.

Meanwhile, Mickey confronts Ian about Frank’s whereabouts. Ian tries to tell Mickey that Frank has walked in on his siblings with their partners tons of times and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Mickey says that Ian’s “nothin’ but a warm mouth to me” – ouch! – and that “done is done” – they’re over. Romantic schemer!

Laura Wiggins and Jeremy Allen White

The family lawyer hands Karen a pile of letters from rich people looking for an “all-white baby” who would be willing to basically shower her in cash until she gives birth. Jackpot! On the bus ride home she evaluates the candidates (“I’m not letting my kid get molested by a guy in a Tommy Bahama shirt. Maybe Prada…” and Lip asks her how she can be so flippant about giving away their baby. She says she’d have one a year if people would keep paying her for them. Hey, at least the girl has a business model.

At the club, Fiona picks up her last check (aww – summer really is over, isn’t it?) and the manager tries to keep her on as an assistant manager – which Fiona won’t accept because of her child care duties. Aww – do it, Fi!

Back at Sheila’s, Jody plays “Time After Time” on the bongos (you really have to hear it for the full effect) until Gram breaks up the party by pulling three bricks of cash out of Sheila’s plastic-covered chair cushion (girl works fast!), which she plans on sending to her three sons who are NOT Frank. She is still mad at HIM for steailing her drugs. Atta girl! Later she and Jody have a heart-to-heart on the sidewalk until she has him mail her cash wads while she wheels herself into traffic – almost getting smacked by a city bus. But she doesn’t.

At school, Lip gives “f*ck you” as an answer in AP Physics (I’m guessing maybe it was wrong?) and then throws a chair through a window – which actuall COULD have been an answer to a physics question if you couched it right, yes?

Mr. H. (the guidance counselor) stops by the Compound to tell Fiona that Lip was expelled, but that he made some calls to other schools and McKinley will take him – BUT ONLY IF HE JOINS GLEE CLUB.

At Carl’s football scrimmage, Carl clearly breaks some poor little kid’s neck. Like, seriously – the kid is probably paralyzed. Sh*t.

Meanwhile, Mickey and his bros go for Frank (he’s told them that Frank is a rapist, and they’re probably afraid that he’ll nose in on their territory), but at the last minute Mickey can’t go through with killing him – so he ditches his gun in a trash can and gets himself arrested instead by punching a cop. As they’re cuffing him, Mickey yells, “Does this violate my probation?” Yeah – better to be in prison than having to deal with people possibly talking about the fact that you’re gay. Good riddance, Pig Pen.

Gram gets down to brass tacks and asks Sheila to kill her – first by suffocation in a plastic bag (which doesn’t work), then by plugging her nose (which also doesn’t work). She eventually convinces Sheila to smother her with a pillow. Sheila does – and when Gram fights back, Sheila is surprisingly committed to the task, going so far as to SIT ON THE PILLOW and scream at Gram to “GO INTO THE LIGHT!” It is, in a word, AMAZEBALLS. Frank enters to find Sheila sitting on his dead mother’s face. When Sheila tells him that she’s dead, he gives a TOUCHDOWN! gesture but his face is a wreck.

Back at home, Fiona confronts Lip – he says he’s not going to go to college just so he can support the rest of them forever. She tells him that his job is to go to school – and if he quits, he’s out. It’s actually a very good scene, but it ends with Lip packing his crap and leaving. Carl runs after him, but Lip doesn’t look back.

And then – THEN! – we see Frank knock on a door and Monica (Chloe Webb) open it. He cries, “Mom’s dead!” and she embraces him, sobbing. OMG. THE BITCH IS BACK.


Great episode. I loved that Gram is out of the picture, and the way that they followed the side-splittingly awesome scene of Sheila (of all people!) taking her out with the excellent confrontation between Fiona and Lip (which has been too long coming, let’s face it) was a great rollercoaster ride. I like that The Littlest Psycho, Carl, is likely going to see some kind of consequence of his craziness, that Ian can finally move on from Pig Pen Milkovich, and that Monica is back, because SHE IS AWESOME. My only real complaint is that there wasn’t enough of America’s Sweethearts, Kev and Veronica.

But enough about me – what’d you guys think?


In 2003, Brian launched the world's first website devoted to horror film from a gay perspective (CampBlood.org), mining an untapped (and occasionally unintentional) source of entertainment and bringing together a huge and colorful population of gay horror fans and filmmakers. When he's not pulling skeletons out of closets, Brian writes reviews for horror megasite Bloody-Disgusting.com, general film site Freezedriedmovies.com, and can be found on the ever-informative RottenTomatoes.com. Brian is also a filmmaker, having produced, written, and directed two shorts (the dark romantic comedy An Apple a Day and the eerie suspense piece Two Story House) that have played at film festivals worldwide and left audiences generally uneasy. A born-and-bred Midwesterner, Brian studied Mass Media and Film at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (I know – crazy, right?) before fleeing the district for the warm and occasionally stinky shores of NYC. Brian is a proud member of the Online Film Critics Society, loving husband to illustrator Andy Swist, and benevolent overlord of their two cats.