Review: ‘Shameless’ – ‘The American Dream’

01.20.13 5 years ago 18 Comments

A quick review of tonight’s “Shameless” coming up just as soon as I have a pillowcase full of bars of soap…

“It doesn’t work like that, sis. Because when you’re poor, only way to make money is to steal it or scam it.” -Lip

Is Frank Gallagher intended as the comic relief of “Shameless,” or simply the dark force the Gallaghers have to strive against? I think he works brilliantly as the latter, and much more problematically as the former – if, indeed, he’s even meant as comedy at this point, rather than as some kind of running contest among the “Shameless” writing staff to see just how despicable they can make him. On paper, it’ll be hard for them to ever top (bottom?) the murder of Butterface, but when he starts slipping Valium to baby Jaime to shut him up, or when he calls social services on his own kids in a fit of pique over being kicked out of the house (again) for being an asshole (again), it’s possible to feel even more hate for the guy – and particularly for the way that he finally is able to make even daddy’s girl Debbie turn on him in such a brutal, justified manner. (Great, great scene for Emma Kenney.)

Yet what’s most interesting about “The American Dream” is that Frank isn’t the most destructive force within or without the Gallagher family this week. Instead, Fiona and Lip – who’ve had to play mom and dad to the younger kids for years – have turned on each other after Fiona decided to borrow from the squirrel fund to set up her ill-fated club night. It’s not the disaster I feared it would be when she started kiting checks to the mob, in that all she loses is a hundred bucks, but that’s only because of Lip’s efforts in sending the rich kids there with the bogus Wilco tip. Lip saves the day, but his disgust over Fiona’s move seems like a fundamental shift in the ground the kids stand on. Throughout everything Frank’s put them through, the siblings have had each other to lean on. But if it’s really every man for himself – or even if it’s just some of them believing that’s what’s happening – then they could be in big, big trouble.

And that’s not even factoring in Jimmy’s problems with his pinkie-breaking Brazilian minder, Ian hooking back up with Mickey Milkovich, Mandy going behind Lip’s back to try to get him into college, or Kev’s wife showing up out of the blue. So many problems to deal with, and everyone’s moving in a different direction, it seems.

What did everybody else think?

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