“Shameless” Recap: “It’s Only Homophobia If They’re Afraid of You”

The episode begins with Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) contemplating a cockroach on his toothbrush.

It all kind of goes downhill from there.

Fiona (Emmy Rossum) asks Jimmy for advice on her outfit, and he asks if she’s going in for an office job or a coke orgy. What, there’s a difference? She clearly isn’t temping at AfterElton! [rimshot]

Meanwhile, Frank (William H. Macy) is settling in nicely at the home of Christopher Dahmer, the John Wayne Bates of the Greater Chicagoland area. Christopher is the kind of guy who laughs out loud at Garfield: “He’s always so hungry!” He’s also the kind of guy who has a taxidermied dog in his breakfast nook, serves an alcoholic a Bloody Mary at breakfast, and is probably keeping about a dozen tween corpses in his crawlspace. Just sayin’.

Still, when Frank goes off on how they are basically living as a same-sex couple, Chris Bundy is savvy enough to point out that “They get offended if you call them queers, Frank,” and dotes on the Lady Gallagher when Frank mentions that he thinks he might have gout, “The King’s Disease”. (Is he talking about Elvis?)

Back at the homestead, we learn that Lip (Jeremy Allen White) hates Facebook, and that Mandy (Emma Greenwell) thinks that he should unfriend Karen for being a skank.

Down the block, V (Shanola Hampton) and Kev (Steve Howey) are embroiled in a discussion of whether or not they should get their imaginary, nonexistent child – who is of nonexistent, undetermined gender – circumcised. Fiona asks if men get PMS and V says, “We get weepy, they get angry.” Kevin says it’s because of all the cheese, or something, and Fiona suggests that they get their imaginary kid snipped if they want him to “get his share of head.” The girl has a point. But did they really just bring up cheese in a conversation about circumcision?

Meanwhile, Debs (Emma Kenney) brings Wee Liam over to Sheila’s – she’s apparently supposed to babysit him. But Sheila (Joan Cusack) is bombed out on the plastic-wrapped sofa, no doubt still smarting from the return of the misery bomb that is her daughter, Karen, who engineered the Wongs’ removal of Baby Himey. Sure enough, Hurricane “Whore” Tattoo sweeps through on the way to school and Debs offer to make Sheila breakfast. I offer to make Sheila hot, wet tears, and she takes me up on the offer.

At the Coffee Meanery, Jimmy gets crap from a douchebag customer and starts to think that maybe working for a living kind of sucks. WELCOME TO THE RAT RACE, CANDY ASS.

At school, Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins) passes Mandy and Lip and Mandy hisses, “Walk the f*ck away.” She also mentions offhand to Ian (Cameron Monaghan) that Mickey is getting married to some girl he got pregnant. What the WHAT?!

At her temp assignment, a slightly hobbitish but very friendly lady named Connie shows Fiona the ropes, which include free donuts. (Holla!) Fiona is telemarketing and the only thing she needs to do is stick to a script… which is of course the only thing that Fiona can NOT do.

At some rather officious looking office, Frank throws a fit about the fact that he’s not covered under Christopher’s medical plan because their non-relationship is not acknowledged by the state: “My partner’s been killing dogs for this city for a decade!” Okay, you know what? This sh*t’s real. I’m fortunate enough to have an employer who DOES grant medical benefits for same-sex spouses, and even then I get taxed out the nose on those benefits.

V and Kev are doing “gimp porn” and V tells Fiona to check out www.dontcutitoff.org (I have yet to actually try to visit this URL, because I am afraid to) as evidence of why circumcision is a bad thing. Fiona, being a complete idiot outside of her own home when the script requires, actually visits this site at work.

This does not go over well at the office.

While waiting for the bus, Frank interrupts a press conference for a mayoral candidate. He rails about the fact that he is not treated equally in the eyes of the law despite the fact that he is being cooked meals by a sociopathic Winnie-the-Pooh, and demands equal rights.

Back at Casa Jackson, Debs is painting Sheila’s nails to cheer her up, noting that in her crazy mom’s words, this kind of therapy is “taking it from the outside in.” Sheila realizes that she’s keeping Debs out of school, and Debs says that everyone at school wants to copy her tests and then nobody will sit with her at lunch. “Everybody’s mean.”

Sheila confesses that her own daughter was a mean girl, and she can’t figure out how she got that way. Debs wisely points out that if everyone took after their mother she would be TOTALLY screwed, and I start to lose it a little because THESE TWO WOMEN ARE GOLDEN TOGETHER.

At school, Karen and Lip ball in the bathroom stall. It’s nauseating. She tells him to break up with Mandy mid-hump, which is even more nauseating. 

Let’s catch up with Fiona! Turns out her bitchy gay cubicle-neighbor ratted her out for browsing photos of deformed dongs at work, but now that he knows that she is Internet sensation Frank Gallagher’s daughter, he feels a bit bad about it. Fiona is equal parts terrified and impressed to see that her father is the latest viral video sensation.

Fiona gets called to the sub-boss’s office, and hold on – is that f*cking Evan Chambers from Greek!?!? Yes, it is (Jake McDorman) – and he’s clearly turned on by Fiona and pretty smart. After a charmingly awkward exchange he lets her off with a warning and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him. Oh – and soon enough Fiona is invited back to the office due to her plucky, no-holds-barred approach to telemarketing, or something.

Jimmy gets his first paycheck and is shocked at how small it is. Welcome to the family. He also gives back a car he stole from some yuppie – not sure why – and they throw Liam’s car set onto the sidewalk. And minutes later Jimmy is mugged at an ATM – wait, who goes to an ATM on the frigging sidewalk in this day and age?! – and flips out yet again. They’re really giving the little rich boy the business these days, aren’t they?

Lip, meanwhile, gets ambushed by a recruiter for MIT – turns out Mandy has been submitting college aps for him to all the big schools. Atta girl! Although in this case she cribbed his entrance essay from Nelson Mandela. Hey – better him that Taylor Swift. The recruiter almost bolts but Lip intrigues him enough to stick around, although after the guy outlines Lip’s current situation Lip does challenge him with, “Why don’t you go ahead and call me white trash?” Nice.

Meanwhile, Christopher is furious with Frank for outing him (is he even gay?) to the world – and more specifically, his mother. “You told the world we’re gay!” Frank, meanwhile, returns to the Alibi and finds that he is the butt of every 20-year-old gay joke in the book. It’s kind of awesome in a horrible way. He calls them homophobes, but bartendress Kate (who has emerged as the show’s Obi Wan) notes, “It’s only homophobia if they’re afraid of you – I’m pretty sure they just don’t like you.”

The MIT due likes Lip’s essay, and Lip says he wants to see C3PO in his lifetime, adding, “That dude is badass.” Later, he thanks Mandy (with his penis) for sending in the app, and she tearfully says that she hopes he goes to college because he’s too good for this place – even if he doesn’t take her with him.

Frank gets called “faggot” while walking by a bar – but it’s a gay bar and a gay guy yelled it, so it’s okay, right? Wrong.

Inside, Frank sings “We Are Family” at karaoke and gets what looks to be a very satisfying bathroom hummer from a drag queen. Apparently the queen was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Frank’s corned beef and cabbage.

Meanwhile, Ian confronts Mickey (Noel Fisher). In a bizzarely chop-cut scene, Mickey beats up Ian for talking to him. Or something. It’s actually the worst scene of an otherwise really awesome episode.

Lip, meanwhile, dumps Karen for being A TOTAL BITCH. He points out that Mandy is good for him, and Karen ain’t.

Unhappy to hear this, Karen kicks over Liam’s watercolors and Debs asks Sheila what’s wrong with her. Sheila tells her that she doesn’t understand why Karen’ so mean. Debs tells Sheila that she isn’t crazy. Sheila tells Debs that it’s not her fault that Monica left them, and they hug.  I LOSE MY SH*T.

Back at home, there’s a bunch of presents there for Frank, Internet gay rights firebrand. V and Kev are debating whether to keep the foreskin of their nonexistent trans baby to make into a vagina because hey – “the gays brought the gift baskets.” Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) asks, “Is Frank really gay?” and Fiona tells him it’s all a scam.

Upstairs, Ian cries alone into his pillow. Awwwwww!

Meanwhile, Jimmy is missing – and we catch up with him following an ambulance to the emergency room.

Meanwhile, Sheila tells Karen that she’s sorry for being crazy. Oh, honey, stop. Karen almost seems to be in the moment for the first time this century, but then she gets a text from Lip telling her to meet him in the park, and she IS OUTTA THERE. Uh-oh. I don’t think this is gonna –


Did you hear that? That was the sound of a 38-year-old man releasing his eggs.

Christopher’s mom throws Frank’s stuff out the window.

Jimmy’s friend in the ER takes in KAREN F*CKING JACKSON as a hit-and-run.

Mandy cleans blood and hair out of her car’s grill.

And Frank wakes up in a backyard under the care of Bradley Whitford, playing some kind of gay rights PR Svengali, who purrs, “You are the face of the gay rights movement.”



Another week, another Waldorf salad of hilarious, jaw-dropping, hearbreaking wrongness. The gay rights subplot is inspired (in what has already been an extremely gay season), the baby steps towards “respectability” for Fiona, and the gradual building up of Mandy’s character as an unsung hero only to then have her turn around and pull one of the most loathsome (though, gotta admit, kind of deserved) moves imaginable was masterful. Joan Cusack now holds the title and deed to my soul, and I can’t wait for Jake McDornan to take his clothes off. (That’s totally gonna happen, right?)

The ONLY thing keeping this from being a ten-outta-ten episode was the half-hearted handling of the Ian and Mickey scene – it should have been a gut-wrencher, but it felt rushed and awkward. Still, another killer episode in a great season:

I cannot WAIT to see what goes down next week.

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