‘Shameless’ – ‘Frank the Plank’: Oh, Canada

Senior Television Writer
01.16.11 17 Comments


My review of “Shameless” episode two coming up just as soon as I smell Drakkar Noir…

“Frank the Tank” was, from what I understand, another fairly faithful adaptation of the respective episode from the British series, in which Steve dumps Frank in Calais. (Fiona even tells Steve, “What my family is has fuck all to do with you,” which is a much more common idiom in England than here.) And while I hadn’t seen the Brit ep (all I ever saw of that show was the pilot), I could kind of tell even before I looked it up, as there’s a sense of these characters going through the motions. Next week has an original story, and hopefully that’ll be the case going forward, but I’m curious how people responded to this one, whether you’ve seen the old show or not.

Beyond that, my main concern here is Frank, who spent most of the pilot episode unconscious, and who becomes a much more prominent figure in this one. I really liked the early scene where Frank head-butts Ian and acts like it’s no big deal. In that moment, it seemed like the show was going to go a little deeper than just letting Frank be a disappointing but ultimately lovable lush – that Paul Abbott and company were going to acknowledge that there are times when life in the Gallagher household is pretty horrible. But by the time Frank woke up in Canada, he was back to being harmless comic relief, and stayed that way even after he returned to the States, moved in with Joan Cusack’s character and let her have her way with him.

And as much as I usually love William H. Macy, he’s not the part of the show that really interests me. The draw here comes from Emmy Rossum and the kids (particularly the actors who play Lip and Ian) and their own problems, and so an episode where they’re almost exclusively reacting to Frank didn’t feel as strong as the pilot, or as I found next week’s episode.

But we can talk about that next week. As for “Frank the Tank,” what did everybody else think?

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