Ah, Shameless. It is so good to have you back in all your politically incorrect, awesomely wrong, deliriously filthy glory. This weekend Fiona got an unexpected (and stunningly handsome) new love interest, V learned that it’s hard to balance work and family, and somebody’s house got blowed up. And it wasn’t even Carl’s fault!! Let’s dig in.
The rub-and-tug gets raided – again. Mickey (Noel Fisher) marvels at the quantity of “boob juice” that V (Shanola Hampton) has been bottling for her girls – she tells him that she’s not letting Kev let Svetlana feed the babies her “hooker AIDS milk” anymore, adding, “no offense”. I doubt he’s familiar with the word. Frank (William H. Macy) comes in, noting, “Looks like a handwhore fire sale out there!” Frank thinks that the raids are all part of the plan to gentrify the neighborhood – making it look safer for the coming hipster horde. He gives them all a taste of his Milk of the Gods and it knocks one guy out flat. V says there’s no way she’d serve it at the bar because the customers would all go into comas before spending any money. A guy who has a POW convention the following week orders six cases from Frank. Oh boy.
At Patsy’s Pies, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) and her coworker chat. Sean is off with his kids, but Fiona’s big tipper lady (we know she’s in cahoots with Jimmy/Steve) is back, and she’s been asking around if Fiona is dating anyone. Fiona goes to the table and the girl asks her out to dinner. Fiona says no, adding that her last relationship ended badly. (Which one was that again? Mike? Jimmy? Robbie? They do tend to run together.) The lady leaves without her pie, giving Fiona $100 and saying that she’ll be back tomorrow to ask her out again.
Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) passes a neighbor down the block getting kicked out of his house – the bank foreclosed on him and his family is now homeless. He tells Deb (Emma Kenney) about it in the kitchen and they talk about sex some more, which I’d rather not get into. The important thing is that Debs decides to have an “adult party” that night and Carl is going to try to get some action at the pool. Also, he is absolutely disgusting. And apparently can walk again.
Mickey comes home to find Ian (Cameron Monaghan) throwing out a ton of Mikey’s stuff. Ian is cleaning like mad and has also been learning Russian from Svetlana. They discuss how they’re going to make money now that the rub-and-tug is closed. Mandy (Emma Greenwell) argues with her boyfriend about moving to Indiana, where he got her a job cleaning port-a-potties. Way to sell it! The boys try to talk her out of going but she’s resigned to it, even though she doesn’t want to. They plan to do something to stop her from leaving.
Sheila (Joan Cusack) bothers Frank with brochures for their fantasy road trip, including a theme park dedicated to jam and a house of horrors where you can get frozen yogurt from a cyborg or something. He shuts her up – he has to speed up his beer brewing process to fulfill his order. She says the lesbians won’t wait forever and she has her eye on a cute RV. He says that when the good looking gays start buying up all their houses, they’re doomed. She says she wants to see the world, and he says, “I’ve seen it – it’s a piece of shit.” HA! Debs comes by and Sheila says that she looks like a young Reba McEntire. Sheila gives Debs a case of Frank’s beer and calls after Debs, “Drink responsibly – have fun!” Famous last words.
Fiona, who is keeping a running list of things she’s done wrong lately as a part of her rehab, gets chatted up by the lead singer of that awful band (Davis? David? Eh.), who tells her that he has a fetish for “girls with stories.” He asks her out on a date to see a jazz group, which sounds totally up Fiona’s alley – right past the dive bar she’d rather be dancing on the tables in.
At the pool, Carl hits on Holly again as Debs passes out invites to her party. Holly’s pissed that she wasn’t invited. All going according to plan, Debs! Frank finds Carl and tells him that he has to help get rid of the lesbians – Frank wants Carl to terrorize them out of wanting to take over the neighborhood. Debs ambushes Matty (James Allen McCune) at the pizza joint and invites him to the party. He likes her new hair. She asks him to bring older friends to the party and he says he will.
At V and Kev’s, Carol (Vanessa Bell Calloway) chats with Kev (Steve Howie) about the babies’ “smile poops”. V comes home and Carl and Kev criticize her for not squeezing out more milk. She tells him she’s not a “dairy cow” and then lets him know about the raid on the upstairs rub-and-tug. When Carol mentions that you can buy breast milk online now, V gets the idea of turning the upstairs into what Kev calls “a breast milk sweatshop”. Again with the sweatshops, Shameless? At least this time there are no foster kids involved.
Frank offers a junkyard owner a pack of beer for a big metal tank, but he’s Muslim and doesn’t drink. Frank tries to barter but the only thing the guy wants is to get laid, because his wife just died. Frank offers Sammi, talking up her… um… attributes. Yikes. Elsewhere, Carl hangs up a sign saying that the neighborhood is being terrorized by a “Cereal Rapist” and sees the lesbians approach the house down the street. He goes home and asks Fiona to help him scare off the lesbians but Fiona thinks it would be great if the neighborhood improved, and the kids’ quality of life along with it. Debs breezes in, looking put together. She tells Fiona that she’s having a party there tonight and they argue about whether Debs needs a chaperone or not. Fiona gives in and tells Debs to “be smart”. I sadly think that ship has already sailed.
Frank visits Sammi (Emily Bergl), who is wearing a terrifying red-white-and-blue outfit. She’s working at a fireworks store and is miserable. She yells at Chuckie to go to bed and cries to Frank about how lonely she is – everyone hates her and there are no good men left. Frank suggests setting her up with his “friend” but she says she needs “a penis break”. He gives her the hard sell and she caves, thanking him for thinking of her. I absolutely love that the television behind them has some sort of shark feeding frenzy playing on it.
Ian finds Lip (Jeremy Allen White) and Carl tearing down a street sign – part of “Operation Dykes Be Gone”. Ian tells Lip that Mandy’s getting dragged away by her sometimes abusive boyfriend and Lip says he’ll do something about it. Debs welcomes girls to her party, which has tealights, “non-alcoholic sparkling punch” (which no one touches) and Frank’s beer. She cautions them to go slow. This is NOT going to end well. Fiona meets Davis at the bar and he is surprised that she came. The other guys in the band compliment her outfit and she calls herself a “fixer-upper”. Then out of nowhere a girl sidles up to Davis – turns out she’s his live-in girlfriend and he was not expecting her to be there. Busted!
Fiona is stunned but recovers by telling the girl – Juji – that she and Gus – the handsome beardo in the band who I am just now recognizing as Broadway hottie Steve Kazee – were just discussing moving in together. She plants one on him, because she is only human. Juji excuses herself and Davis tells Fiona, “Fair play.” Gus scoots off awkwardly. PLEASE tell me they are actually going to go somewhere with this.
Sheila marks up a map as a manicured woman takes measurements in the other room. Frank hauls the big metal tank home and tells Sheila they aren’t selling the house. She is upset that he didn’t notice her new outfit, hair or makeup, and when he asks where the cardboard box full of mason jars is, she tells him she gave it to Debs for a party. Uh-oh. The woman gives Sheila a check – “earnest money” – and adds that she’d love to hear about any other neighbors struggling to make ends meet, because they’d like to buy as many houses as possible. She leaves to go do lesbian things, I guess. Frank, realizing that this is a desperate situation, pretends to have actual feelings and launches into a speech about how this house and this neighborhood are the only things that have ever meant anything to him, and begs Sheila not to take that away from him. Sheila replies that she thought that she mattered to him, and goes upstairs. Ouch.
Lip finds Mandy and they go back to her place to have beers, which is code for “have sweaty sex”. Lip holds Mandy’s head in his hands and tell her how gorgeous and sweet and funny and smart she is. She is not good at taking compliments. He tells her she’s a good person and she thanks him. Then she panics, asking him exactly what is going on between them. She asks him about Amanda and he doesn’t have much to say. They have sex and she tells him that she loves him. It almost looks like he is going to respond, but he just gets back to business. Before he leaves, he tells Mandy that she’s too good for her boyfriend and doesn’t need him, and asks her to have breakfast with him in the morning. She agrees.
Fiona watches David making out with Juji and also the jazz band, in which Gus is the bassist. Later, Fiona complains to Gus about David and apologizes for grabbing him like that. He asks her out for a coffee and she says she has to get home – he fake-whines about feeling used. She agrees to coffee the next day. Yay!
Debs’s party is lame – a wonderfully droll girl tells her that the only good thing about it is the “Carlilingus” booth that Carl has set up under the steps. Oh my dear God. Thankfully Matty arrives with a few friends – Debs gives them beers and turns up the music. Later, Matty gets blackout drunk and Debs takes him up to her room to lay down. There’s a couple inside and she picks up a condom from the bed and throws it out. Eeew! Debs, that’s how germs are spread. Matty passes out and Debs curls up next to him, eying the pack of condoms on the table. Don’t do it, Debs! Later we see Debs lying next to Matty, smiling. She looks over at the condom wrapper, which is empty. Oh my God – did she just roofie him?! The next morning Debs gets up and Matty finds the condom wrapper. He looks understandably concerned.
Ian finds Lip and tells him that Mandy left an hour ago. Lip says he tried, and Ian says he’s sure he did. Awww! The lesbians run outside to find that their car is being towed because there is now a No Parking sign next to it. The blonde who was at Sheila’s house runs across the street to find the hole from where the sign is supposed to be. This is going to get ugly. She visits Carl and introduces her self as Lisa, adding that her wife is also named Lisa. Amazing. She tells him that all the street signs somehow moved across the street and asks if his car was towed. He deadpans, “We don’t have a car, so… no.” She marvels that the neighborhood seemed to go to shit overnight and wonders how that could have happened. Before leaving, she hisses, “We do not. Scare. Easily.” Upstairs, Debs comes back to her room to find Matty gone and a note asking her to text him on her mirror. She looks happy and goes outside to chug orange juice and scream “I AM A WOMAAAAAAAAAN!!!!” Well… good luck with that.
Fiona meets Gus at a coffee shop but it has been closed by the health department, so he asks her back to his place for breakfast. She likes his gumbo. Join the club, lady. He’s from a family of musicians and he is floored when she says she doesn’t listen to music because she doesn’t have time. He says that’s tragic and she asks, “Is it?” He says he’d die without music so she asks him to play her something worth dying over. He sings her a sad song and she’s so floored that she puts down the gumbo, takes the guitar away, and sits on his lap, whispering, “Holy shit.” They kiss. Okay now – if she really was so impressed, wouldn’t she have wanted to hear the whole song? Maybe later?
Sammi has dinner with the salvage yard guy and is impressed that he can spot a good deal like an early bird special. He skirts the issue of how he knows Frank – they have a “business arrangement” – and she tells him that she thinks his jacket is classy. Oh dear.
At work, Lip is tired and upset that they don’t get paid for the holiday. He tells Tommy that he thinks he might have hurt his back and Tommy tells him that the “comp” in “workman’s comp” stands for “competition from the Mexicans who want your job”. Ouch. Lip gets a text from Amanda saying that her invite to Miami is still open.
Debs meets Matty in a playground – perfect! – and he works up the nerve to ask what happened. Debs is surprised that he doesn’t remember, but he reminds her that he was plastered. She didn’t realize that an erection “is biology, not consent”. He tells her that she date-raped him and she’s happy to hear that he considered it a date. Oh, Debs… He tells her that she statutory raped herself, and that friends don’t rape friends. She apologizes and he says not to call her.
V is busy at the breast milk sweatshop, where a bunch of unhappy-looking ladies are strapped to breast pumps. V yells at one of them for shooting up, throwing out her milk. Quality control! Kev comes by looking for her and she says business is booming, but he’s pissed that she’s feeding everybody else’s babies except for her own.
Debs comes home and complains to Lip that Matty says that she raped him and won’t talk to her anymore. Lip struggles to catch up and settles on telling her that Matty was weird anyway and she’s better off without him, adding, “there are dozens of guys who would love to be raped by you.” Straight out of a Shoebox Greeting! She screams at him to shut up already and storms upstairs. That’s our Debs!
Frank comes outside to find Sheila test-driving an RV. He tries to distract her by reminding her that he was unconscious when he married her and says that he wants to renew their vows. He wants them to build a future together there in their home. She dreams of seeing the world – but he tells her that they can take a vacation anytime they want and tells her that he loves her. She gives in.
Debs is smoking a cigarette in the backyard. Well, just holding it, thankfully – but still. Fiona throws it away and asks what’s up. Debs says she wants to talk about something but she doesn’t want to be told how to feel. Fiona agrees. Debs says she lost her virginity last night and Fiona just asks if she was careful. Debs nods and they hold hands in silence.
Sammi takes the guy back to her trailer and he tries to jump her but she says she wants to take it slow. Frustrated, he says that Frank promised that she’d bone him as soon as they got back to the trailer. Sammi is mortified. She interrupts a tender moment between Frank and Sheila in the basement to lay into Frank for whoring her out. She attacks him and he runs outside with her and Sheila attacking him from both sides. The salvage yard guy finds the beer and takes a swig. Uh-oh. Outside, Frank loses it, calling out both his daughter and his wife on all their shortcomings. It’s truly a terrifying-slash-awesome thing to watch. And right at the end of his diatribe, the house explodes behind him. Sammi’s date’s burning leg lands in front of them. Just then the RV dealer pulls up and jumps out of the beast to help. Sheila, having just been called a “wackjob” and much worse by her husband, gets in and drives away, probably never to be seen again, or at least for a few episodes.
The next morning, we see Lisa and Lisa surveying the rubble of Casa Jackson, noting that they can save on the demo costs now. They high-5. Oh my God.
Notably Absent: Svetlana, Sean, Jimmy/Steve (still)
Notably Dead: Sammi’s admirer, Deb’s V-card
You may have noticed that I love this show. And this week I’m especially in love with it because it has answered my prayers and gotten rid of one of its most autopiloted characters, Sheila. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore Joan Cusack and think she’s done as much with Sheila as she can. But there just hasn’t been much for her to work with for the past few seasons. I’m thrilled that she gets to embark on her vision quest in a stolen RV and hope that she doesn’t come back for a while (and hopefully with Karen in tow, just to mess with Lip even more). Domestic stability was really handicapping Frank’s game.
I’m also thrilled that the oft-mentioned “clean lesbians” have arrived and are not suffering fools gladly. Lisa and Lisa and their house-flipping, scam-sniffing ambitions are a great way to shake up the status quo. The Gallaghers are used to dealing with suckers, and these ladies are going to give them a run for their money. Though, with the safety backup that was Sheila’s house reduced to a pile of rubble, is anyone worried that the kids might wind up losing the house and be on the streets by the end of the year? That I am less thrilled about.
Debs’ journey to womanhood (starting at the beginning of Season 4) was at times extremely worrisome, and I’m glad that the show managed to navigate it in a way that kept her safe but didn’t lose its trademark sick sense of humor. I’m not sure what’s next for her, but I’m glad that she’s at least come to a resting place regarding her sexuality and can hopefully calm down a bit. This family needs to have at least one person with their head in the game, after all.
Speaking of, is Fiona’s attraction to Gus a good sign in regards to her personal development, or is it just that Gus is mad hot? After all, she has fallen for a “good boy” once before, and look where that led. Part of me wants to tell Gus to run the other way, but another part of me wants to see him fully test the limits of his nudity clause.
Can we also take a moment to discuss that amazing scene between Mandy and Lip? Yowza. I hope we haven’t seen the end of her, because that was like lightning in a bottle.
Overall, another fine ep in a show with a history of fine eps. Not enough Ian for my tastes, but his compulsive cleaning fit suggest that a manic episode may be uncomfortably close, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of that soon.
I’d give it eight out of ten Old Styles: