“Shameless” 5.01 Recap: Milk of the Gods

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Hello, fellow Shameless lovers! Meaning that we love Showtime’s gleefully tasteless, consistently amazing dramedy, of course – not that we, as lovers, have no shame. Anyway.

The Gallaghers are back and I can’t believe how much I missed them. What does the summer-set new season have in store for Chicago’s scrappiest clan? Let’s dig in!

The episode starts with some aerial shots of Chicago in the summertime. Kind of nifty, really. We land on Frank (William H. Macy) and Sheila (Joan Cusack) in bed, which is slightly less nifty. Turns out Chuckie is also in bed with them, and he’s… um… poking Frank in the back. Feeling uncomfortable, right on schedule. Thanks, show! Sheila bosses a reluctant (and surprisingly healthy-looking) Frank into “meds and vitals”.

Debs (Emma Kenny) and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) watch a building get torn down, and she refuses to give him a lift on her bike even though he has a broken ankle from a skateboarding accident and is on crutches. Cold, Debs.

Back at home, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) puts together the above-ground pool with wee Liam (who is considerably less wee this season) and her boss Sean, now played by Dermot Mulroney, who demonstrates that he can still rock a wet tank top when they get into a hose fight. Happy to have you, sir! Fiona is clearly smitten.

At school, a naked guy runs through the dorm halls as Amanda and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) talk about summer plans while his roommate and his new girlfriend make out at the computer. Lip is filling out an RA application so that he can get free housing next fall – Amanda offers to let him stay at her place for free, but he balks at the idea of living together.

The Milkovich house is as close to domestic bliss as it’s ever going to get, with Svetlana (Isidora Goreshtor), Mickey (Noel Fisher) and Ian (Cameron Monaghan) taking care of the baby and getting Mickey ready for work (he’s wearing a tie!) as a topless prostitute folds clothes in the dining room. It’s like a Norman Rockwell come to life! Svetlana – who is now a professional surrogate, which is beyond terrifying – tells Mickey that Patel from the dry cleaners hit one of the girls and left without paying, and his brothers break open the gun cabinet. He talks them down, and Ian gives him a kiss on the cheek before he leaves. Awwwwwww…

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Frank takes his meds as Chuckles pees for about 10 straight minutes. Frank lies when he records his weight, and Chuckles keeps peeing.

V (Shanola Hampton) and her mom (the ever-amazing Vanessa Bell Calloway) breast feed their babies, and Carol actually grabs V’s boob and tries to squeeze out the milk. Oh sweet Lord. Kev (Steve Howey) comes down in a towel and V complains that both babies are biting her nipples, and she wants to change to formula. She gives him both babies and storms out, and outside she runs into Fiona and complains about being constantly covered in shit and vomit and wanting her boobs back. Fiona tells her she needs to get laid and V reluctantly agrees to go bang her husband.

Amanda gives Lip a watch and asks if he’s going to date other people over the summer. They both don’t really know how to leave things and he puts her in her black car to the airport.

Debs takes note of an abandoned propane tank. Huh?

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Sheila babies Frank, asking him how his depression is, and he says he needs bacon for his project. She asks what this secret project is, but he won’t tell. Sammi (Emily Bergl, now a series regular) comes in and asks if she can help Frank with anything, and Sheila chides her for bringing some random guy home and kicking her own kid out of the trailer. The guy shows up – his name’s Renaldo and he’s filthy, and knows Frank, but that doesn’t stop Sammi from giving him Sheila’s food and mounting Renaldo on the couch. Sheila tries to put Sammi in her place and convince her that she’s acting out her daddy issues, but Sammi tells her she’s not her mother, and Chuckles breaks one of Sheila’s Hummel figurines. So Sammi goes down on the guy as Sheila tries to shield Chuckles from it while rushing him up the stairs. Just another day at the Jacksons’!

Fiona jogs with Ian, who does so while pushing a double-wide baby stroller. She asks if he went to see a doctor yet and he hasn’t because he feels good now. He says that his depressive episode was just a one-time thing probably caused by all the drugs he was doing at the club. Ian says that if any of the kids is going to inherit bipoloar disorder from their mom, it will probably be Carl. Yeah, I unfortunately think that’s not the case, Ian.

Debs avoids some people in suits handing out fliers on the sidewalk and brings Frank the propane tank; he gives her $10. Frank asks Debs if she has any bacon but won’t tell her what he’s up to. On the way out Frank passes Sammi banging Renaldo on the couch. She yells, “Daddy, you caught me – am I in trouble?!” He doesn’t even stop to answer. Ha! You’re gonna have to up your game considerably to get a rise out of Frank, Sammi.

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V tries to seduce Kev, but he’s busy in a mommy chat room where someone suggests that V rub her nipples with a loofah for 20 minutes a day to toughen them up. She goes down on him but he can’t get it up – she’s furious that he’d rather be on a baby website than get freaky with her. She goes to the Alibi to do his job and tells him to stay there and take care of the babies for a change. This should be fun…

Carl steals an electric wheelchair from a man on the street, and Lip travels home by subway with his garbage bag full of his belongings. There’s a lengthy scene of him looking at other people while he is commuting. What was that all about?

Mickey is the foreman of a moving company that is packing up the house of a rich lady who is very protective about her piano. I’m sure that there’s nothing fishy going on here.

At home, a kid named Stumpy with alarming facial piercings (he looks like Vivien from The Young Ones) and a few other local boys chat with Lip as Debs stabs a doll in the face, for some reason. Lip tells the guys that he stole his fancy watch and graciously turns down their offer of weed laced with angel dust.

Sheila comes home to an empty house and sniffs the couch that Sammi got busy on. It reeks, she freaks. Turns out Sammi also raided Sheila’s sex toy collection and used some of them as well. I’m pretty sure that’s how germs are spread. She dumps a bucketful of dildos into the tub and runs down to tell Frank that Sammi is acting like a crazy person. Sheila says that if Frank won’t do anything about it, she doesn’t want Sammi and “that Chuckie thing” in her house any more. Frank says he could care less.

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Ian gets cruised at the dollar store by another dude pushing a stroller. He runs into Kev and they talk baby stuff. Kev asks if Ian is cool with the guy cruising him and Ian says it’s fine. Gotta love Kev! And Ian and the guy jack each other off behind the store, with their strollers facing the other way. Well, they’re still slightly better parents than Sammi, in that regard.

Mickey sells the contents of the moving truck by auction for $5300, pulling the Royal Treatment Movers sign off the truck on the way out. Sounds about right!

At the Alibi, Lip talks to the guy who’s always at the bar and tells him that he wants that job he promised in demolition. After some back-and-forth, the guy agrees to give Lip the job. And Sammi’s there rubbing up against some other grody guy at the pool table.

On her shift at the diner, Fiona chats with a lady named Angela whom I think is the chick that we saw in the car with Jimmy/Steve at the end of the finale, unless I’m mistaken. One of the other waitresses tells Fiona that Angela has been asking about her. She flirts with her boss and Angela leaves her a $100 tip, which apparently has happened before. She stops by a table of guys who are in some band, and her boss seems jealous. Later, Fiona flirts with the band guys at the table and one of them gives her his number. Not bad! His name’s Davis and he has an accent. Sean tells her that you can’t be too careful with musicians.

Frank meets Debs at the playground and has get gather wood chips in a garbage bag. They run off to Lip’s celebratory dinner for finishing his first year of school.

Sheila gets her locks changed and walks Chuckles home to the trailer and makes him lock himself in.

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The family eats at the diner and Frank pulls out a beer, saying that his system can tolerate one beer a day. They are all furious that he even showed up. Debs says Holly and Ellie at school aren’t talking to her any more and doesn’t know why, which I guess explains the doll-stabbing earlier. Sean comes by and introduces himself to Lip. The busboy who calls Fi “Miss Fiona” makes eyes with Ian, who rushes off to meet him in the bathroom, where they do it in the stall. Oh, Ian… I hope that the busboy indeed washes his hands before returning to work.

Kev explains sports to the babies, who sit quietly. This is adorable. The suits from earlier come by and offer to buy the house, saying that their neighborhood is up-and-coming. Kev is thoroughly uninterested. V calls and Kev tells her that he learned from his chatroom that he has a Madonna/whore complex and the ensuing “Who’s on First” routine as V talks to both him and her mom about it is absolutely priceless. Then the baby finally poops. Like, A LOT. Kevin dances and sings “Poop there it is!” until realizing that he’s covered in baby shit.

Fiona chats with her coworker in the changing room and Sean interrupts. He points out that Fiona didn’t charge her family for the pie, and he demands the money. She tries to flirt her way out of it but he doesn’t budge, telling her not to take advantage of him. Ouch!

Sammi broke the new locks off the door, and she and Sheila argue about whose house it is. Frank couldn’t care less. He reveals his project to Fred from the bar – he’s brewing “the strongest beer ever made.” It looks… horrifying. He adds bacon and the playground wood chips (and a stray pacifier) into the brew. Ugh. Turns out since he can only have one beer a day, he invented 130-proof beer. I don’t think it works that way, Frank.

Fiona and Lip visit Mickey and ask if he can get Ian to go to the doctor.He takes them with him on an errand, which turns out to be beating up the dry cleaner and ratting him out to his wife. Mickey thinks Ian’s just bummed about living in the slums and the compulsive sexual behavior is par for the course for any 17-year-old gay kid.

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V comes home to find Kev and the babies asleep in bed. Her boobs are sore, so she puts frozen peas in her shirt and drinks a beer.

Lip’s old friends try to entice him to come outside, but he ignores them and texts Amanda instead.

Ian watches Mickey sleep (and smokes in bed) and wakes him up to have sex. Ian gets rough and Mickey is all about it.

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Fiona gets a text from David, asking if he can come over. Fiona ignores it and decides that they’re going to have a pool party instead. It’s the middle of the night, isn’t it? Sean comes to the pool party, as does Ian. Everyone splashes around and someone yells for them to shut up, but Fiona yells back, “It’s summer!”

Frank takes a sip of his “milk of the gods” and it almost knocks him over. He chugs the entire mason jar and falls over. Fred tries one sip and spits it out. Frank wakes up nude on a picnic table in the park, where an art class is drawing him. Gushes one student, “your body is so beautiful – you’re perfect!” Oh sweet lord…

SCENE

Notably Absent: Jimmy, Mandy, whatever Debs’s boyfriend’s name is.

Notably Dead: Nobody yet – but it’s early!

Welcome back, show. While the tone is already considerably lighter than last year’s (which, while great, was emotionally exhausting), it’s still the same old Shameless we know and love. The deranged nuclear family that Frank, Sheila and Sammi have become is bananas (what if Karen comes home in the middle of all this?!), Ian’s behavior is headed nowhere good (and fast), and I’m sure his and Mickey’s relatively stable situation won’t last long. Fiona is literally beating off potential suitors (okay, not literally – she can leave that to Ian) and I’m curious to see which one she will pick just in time for Jimmy to swoop in and take a crap all over everything. (And he is clearly behind the good tipper, right?) Kev and V continue to be one of the greatest married couples on TV (and Carol continues to own), and those babies are craaaaazy cute. I know that one of the overarching themes of the episode is going to be the gentrification of the neighborhood, which we’ve seen hints of with the realtors and the building getting pulled down, and I can’t wait to see what the Gallaghers throw at the hipster horde at their doorstep.

All in all, I’d give it a solid eight out of ten Old Styles:

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What’d you folks think? Was the return a welcome one? What are you most looking forward to this season? Sound off in the comments!

Writer-filmmaker Brian Juergens launched CampBlood.org, the world's first website devoted to horror films from a gay perspective, in 2003.