This Shameless review contains spoilers.
Like the title says, the Gallaghers have been evicted. Scattered to the wind like so much pent up sexual urges and fury, the family that still has their opening credits begin with their daily desecration of the upstairs bathroom has been forcibly removed from that facility. Perhaps forever.
With Shameless season 6 sticking to its guns about being the “we’re getting evicted year,” I actually find myself intrigued by the idea of them all going to disparate places. There is no denying that season 5 had a certain “running-in-place” quality to it, so as the characters grow older (and continue making awful decisions in the process), seeing them start to pull apart is not only natural but reinvigorates the show with some much needed new possibilities.
However, as far as tonight’s episode is concerned, those new alternatives were pretty non-existent in the immediate aftermath of the eviction. Fiona finds herself trying to live with a potential boyfriend as things get serious again, and is simultaneously pushing him away and clinging on to him in the process. Again. Oblivious as to why Sean would not want his young son around a kid who has served hard time in juvenile hall and is packing a gun, she breaks into a fight with Sean that somewhat unbelievably ends in a pillow fight between her, his son, and wee baby Ian. In fact, for an episode that features her exiting her childhood home forevermore, it ends on a surprisingly upbeat note. Also as an aside, now that Ian is old enough to run and have pillow fights, are they ever going to let him be able to speak (or was the season 4 drug tragedy just an excuse to keep him moot?)
Lip also is seemingly going in circles as his relationship with the naughty professor ended exactly how every viewer predicted when they saw him take that photograph of her asleep in the season 6 premiere. Well, almost. I have to say it was a nice surprise to see Amanda back, even if she betrayed Lip and put him in a precarious situation while ruining a woman’s career. That is pretty cold and deranged, but it also feels narratively pointless. Presumably, Shameless might entangle Lip in a professor scandal where as she has to stand before the dean and chancellor for her misbehavior, Lip will become a character witness.
However, I doubt anybody thinks that this will snowball into an academic drama when this whole subplot felt primarily about giving Lip an excuse to have sexual misadventures. Honestly, I would not be shocked if within the next two weeks he is sneaking up a new fuck buddy into his dorm room, which would make most of his season 6 scenes moot.
Ian also did not seem to react much at all to the eviction bombshell, but at least he is going in a forward direction by, quite literally, batting for his fire department team. He is a GED and a few tests away from being back on track, and the mere intimation of that possibility popping up again this week is far sexier than any rushed sequence between him and his next boy toy. Also, as a big plus of the evening, Ian revealed to all of us that Tony is gay! Granted, that makes little sense (unless he’s bi) considering he spent all of season 1 and part of season 2 pining for Fiona, but what the hell, at least we know he’s gotten a happy ending… It was also one of the few jokes that worked this week.
Another, which is from one of the few storylines that genuinely acknowledged the idea of eviction, is that of Debbie. Debs is really turning into a little Frank with how she thinks she can seduce a man three times her age in one grimly R-rated sitcom ‘mix-up’ after another. The actual scenes feel forced and grotesque since Debbie is trying to seduce the man, but it raises at least an intriguing question: is Debbie Frank’s spiritual heir?
Season 4 heavily implied that Fiona developed Frank’s addictive personality, and season 6 has seen Frank imagine that Carl is a true successor—when honestly wigger problems aside, Carl’s flourishing career in crime is far more ambitious than anything Frank could attempt. But now Shameless might be suggesting that Debbie is more like her father than any of them since she is going along with the hair-brained scheme of seducing this man and letting Frank sleep on the floor after sneaking him in through the window.
This seems contrived because even as unbalanced as Debbie’s actions have been, she has never been quite so dopily delusional as Frank is about how to survive in this world. I realize she is acting that way because of the baby, but overall the idea that she would collaborate with Frank after he broke her heart in the first season is about as believable as Carl buying a duplex.
At the very least, it did offer some comedic gems throughout the night, including Frank almost reliving his Bianca fantasy but with a former groupie that can more than match him line for cocaine line. Also, the test driving a coffin was a nice treat—even if it is still Frank being a cancer concierge redux.
In the end, it was a diverting night, but I do believe Shameless season 6 has real potential to pivot in a way that eludes most TV shows six years into their narratives. With the repercussions of this horrible lifestyle finally coming home to roost for the younger children, and the family losing the house—which despite the ridiculous narrative reasons is all too real with the current wave of gentrification going on in the neighborhood—Shameless can go to some very new places without feeling like it’s on auto-pilot or repeating itself.
Tonight though, was like sitting in the Alibi next to Frank telling dirty jokes. Some of them are funny and some are offensive. Either way, we’ve heard it before and are being distracted from the chance of trying out these new delicious tapas…
Most Shameless Quotes of the Week
““You’re not being a great wife; you’re being a great nanny. Nobody wants to fuck Mary Poppins.” – Frank
“At two, I’ll take you to my casket guy. He’ll find you one so comfy, you’ll want to stay in it forever!” – Frank