Review: ‘Shameless’ – ‘A Night to Remem… Wait, What?’: The hangover

alan-sepinwall
Senior Television Writer
02.01.15 13 Comments

Showtime

A few thoughts on tonight's “Shameless” coming up just as soon as I write the music for a video game called Ham Scramble…

This was the last of the episodes Showtime sent out in advance of the season, and may be the last episode I do a post on for a few weeks (as I've said before, “Shameless” is a show I tend to enjoy more when I'm not covering every episode).

A large chunk of the episode is taken up with a Frank Gallagher version of “The Hangover,” which has its moments (Frank fighting a little girl amputee over her artificial leg) but is more prolonged comedy than I think the character can sustain. (The “Shameless” writers have always found Frank much funnier than I do; he tends to work the best for me as a malevolent force dragging down the kids.) Fortunately, there's plenty of interesting stuff happening with the younger Gallaghers to compensate.

Fiona impulsively marrying Gus Pfender is played somewhat for laughs, but the whole thing has this unsettling undercurrent. It's not just that we're assuming Fiona is going to have a fling with Sean, or get mixed up with JimmySteveJack and his pretty friend, but that this is exactly the kind of chaos addict behavior Sean was warning her about a few weeks ago, and that we've seen her display before. It's probably not an actual manic streak like the one Ian is in the middle of, to Mickey's dismay, but it's not nearly as madcap and zany as Fiona is acting like it is.

I enjoyed Lip's Miami introduction being shot like the opening credits to “Miami Vice,” and obviously trouble is coming with Amanda, given that one of her primary reasons for dating Lip is to anger the father who's now taking a shine to him. Carl's stint as a corner boy hired to make white drug customers feel more comfortable was amusing, albeit interrupted by Frank's search for his missing cash, but I can see that going bad in a hurry. (The show doesn't use Carl for serious storylines very often, but they're incredibly effective when it happens.) And Debbie's raging hormones have her not only seeking to go on the pill, but learning boxing at the gym frequented by the boy who stood up to her against her nasty ex-friends; I see very little good coming of that for anyone.

We're at the first quarter mark of the season; how's everybody feeling about “Shameless” at the moment?

Author Profile Picture
Alan Sepinwall has been writing about television since the mid-'90s. He's the author of "The Revolution Was Televised," about the rise of TV's new golden age, and co-author of "TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time."

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