Shameless, Season 3, Episode 1: Review

The Gallaghers are back and television feels all dirty again.

And the Gallaghers are back! May God help moral majority media watchdogs, everywhere. 

In great TV fashion, not too much has changed since the last time we checked in on the South Side. As in the last finale, Jimmy has come clean and is living in the Gallagher home as the second half of the double-headed Fimmy (Fiona/Jimmy) monster. Despite having a GED, Fiona is struggling with finding a steady income to support her and five siblings. Brilliant Lip is barely keeping his contempt for authority in check as he stays in high school by the skin of his teeth. Also, Kev and Veronica are still making Internet porn, but now they are getting artsy (more on that later). The only question is, where’s Frank?

When we last saw the brood, the first fall of Chicago snow had been dumped on the family’s head. Yet, when the new season begins, it is warm and balmy outside. Debs is adorably leaving signs all over the front yard asking for the whereabouts of the missing patriarch. He’s like their lost pet…except not nearly as lovable. Fi promises Debs that the stray father will find his way home. He’s like herpes; once you got him, he’s there until the day you die.

We then move onto an even sunnier and balmier street that looks faintly foreign. Frank is lying in a pool of his own filth as the camera focuses in on a dog licking his face. His eyes slowly open.  Still alive, Frank? Damn. The drunkard climbs to his feet like a man who hasn’t been able to walk a straight line since last St. Paddy’s Day. He eventually notices a very Catholic parade of Romans harassing a bearded fellow with a cross. After figuring out he’s in Juarez, Mexico, he asks a local, “Did I miss Christmas?”  The bemused man stares at our hero in disbelief. “Christmas? You almost missed Easter!” And so begins the many trials and tribulations of the Gallagher for this Season Premiere! He must suffer for our entertainment.

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Back in Chicago, we learn that Sheila and Jody are still taking care of Karen’s baby. After some arguing, Jody goes to soothe the baby back to sleep…with bongo drums. Between Jody and Frank, Sheila really knows how to pick ‘em. As she tries to sleep through her baby drama, Kev and Veronica are having their own across town. The couple has gone full-tilt baby crazy since last we saw them. They are convinced that V will have a little Kev Jr. and are already making the proper accommodations for him. Afraid that the unborn child may see his mother doing ironing fetish videos in the years to come, they have decided to start reenacting famous scenes throughout history for the online pervs. Ergo, the voluptuous V is Sally Hemings and Kev is a very scruffy Thomas Jefferson as they perform “old plantation life” for thousands of voyeurs. Fiona also drops by to complain about how boring Jimmy has gotten because all he does is live at home and help her raise the kids. Something tells me that won’t be a problem for long.

Jimmy’s afternoon viewing of educational schlock with baby Liam is interrupted when he notices a black SUV parked outside the house. Thirty seconds later, he has been kidnapped by . . . who’s that guy again? Oh right, it’s the father of Jimmy’s wife, cartel princess Estefania. Despite marrying his spoiled daughter off to Jimmy to get her out of the country and away from his business (and his reach because he’s on the no-fly list), he somehow has found out that Estefania is back with her Brazilian drug dealing lover boy, Marco. Papa Nando is none too happy about this. He takes Jimmy to the kids’ old spacious apartment where we see that Estefania and Marco have made up after their falling out last season. And hey, there’s Marco greeting Nando and Jimmy when the door opens! Then there’s Nando pulling out…a gun? Say bye-bye to Marco. After putting about half-a-dozen bullets into his daughter’s Romeo, Nando forces Jimmy to help chop up the body.


Similar to last year, Lip begins this season in a fight club. Fortunately, it is now with awesome fighting robots instead of his face. Unfortunately, it involves him and Ian stealing a high-tech laser from the University of Chicago. After a quick chase with Campus Police, Lip takes the fall so West Point-bound Ian can get away. Because Lip is a minor with professorial connections, he gets off with community service and an easy resume builder for the summer. He also somehow kept his laser, which allowed him to dominate the snotty private school kids in the Geek arena.

During all this craziness, Frank has been having a really bad day. He cannot cross the border because he doesn’t have his passport and the snooty lawman tells him, “I’m not letting you into this country so you can add to Texas’s homeless population.” He then tries to tag along with some illegal immigrants but gets run off by border patrol. Finally, he only gets to fake his needed paperwork when he agrees to be a drug mule for a cartel. It turns out his rectum is so cavernous that he immediately earns the nickname, El Gran Canon. At last, the biggest ass on television gets to have the literal one too.


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Fiona is having pains in her own ass, as well. Her GED from last season hasn’t helped much because the only job she can get is as someone who cleans toxic waste and shit out of condemned houses. Then after a long day of literally wading in crap, she is given her walking papers because her boss has a nephew coming out of college who can’t find a job.  To add insult to injury, when she asks for the Assistant Manager position she was offered last season at a local club, she is told to come up with $1,000 to simply pay for an audition. She decides to spend her last check from toxic waste removal on the gig instead of paying down a tax bill. Something tells me that will come back to haunt her later. 

In the final scene of the episode, the family sits down for dinner at a table that still has a spot open for Frank. Sure enough, as Lip is telling a deathly-distracted Jimmy about battle robots, Frank walks through the door. Debs lovingly runs to hug her long-lost dad. Everyone else turns back to their food and a discussion about robotic lasers. 

Overall, Season 3 of Shameless is off to a solid start.  There is nothing as flashy as last year’s opener where Frank trades Baby Liam in for a $10,000 bet to a drug dealer whom Fi has to barter back at gunpoint. Rather, the show humorously introduces us to what will likely be the central conflicts for the year. The first half of the episode pulls a fast one on us by letting us know that Fiona and Jimmy’s love life has gotten a little boring. But that all changes when Jimmy helps dispose of a dead body. As they watch bags of Marco sinking to the bottom of Lake Michigan, Nando gives Jimmy an ultimatum. He can return to his loveless marriage with Estefania or join Marco. The father-in-law even twists the knife, “You can fuck [Fiona] all you want for fun, but she stays what she is: a ghetto whore.” Jimmy’s idyllic life with Fi is unraveling but she is too busy to even notice he’s burning his bloody clothes in the backyard (a little Justin Chatwin nudity for all you lady geeks out there!). Clearly, this shotgun re-marriage will become critical this season. Also, Ian’s love life between Mickey and Jimmy’s dad looks to be turning into a love triangle when he says Mickey is getting out of prison next week. It seems even Lip and Mandy Milkovich are getting serious as she is staying over every night now in the Gallagher house. With all this drama, it is a wonder what role Frank will play in the evolving household. If the last scene is any indication, it’s something he should definitely be worrying about.

Most Shameless Quotes of the Week:

“Do you want to keep the head for polo back home?”—Nando’s henchman as they clean up what’s left of Marco.

“He’s majoring in beer pong and date rape from what I hear.”—Fiona’s boss’s thoughts on her graduating nephew.

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“[You need a passport] since al-Qaeda decided Americans needed killing.”—Border officer to a dumbstruck Frank.

“Kev Jr. is going to be surfing the net one day looking for porn and see momma’s big titties and get hungry.”—Kev’s descriptive fear for his unborn son.

El Gran Canon, you’re already a legend…you have more coke up your ass than any drug mule in cartel history!”—Frank’s cartel contact on the other side of the border.

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