Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Comedy To The Rescue


Although the storyline was out of hand in this episode, there were simply hilarious one-liners that left me laughing, well after the scene ended. V’s mother had a few good ones, especially when she gets all liquored up to muster the courage to have sex with Kevin (see post below for more details). The awkwardness of that scene really needed comedy to break the ice and that’s exactly what happened. The comedic relief was not only necessary but the chemistry between Kevin, who really does not want to have sex with his girlfriend’s mother, and V’s mother, who was knocked up on the sauce, got really funny. 
  
Before V’s mother enters the room, Kevin asks V: “How is [your mother] still ovulating? What is she part bovine?” Which was a good start. But then, when Kevin tries to seal the deal, V’s mom says, “Not there,” to which Kevin apologizes, and then she says, “You got a shoe horn or something?” I mean who writes this… Kevin just keeps saying "Can you stop talking? Just stop talking."

Like Mother Like Daughter


The fact that Shameless is well known for their immoral plot antics still doesn’t make up for this storyline. I know I feel like I’m writing post after post about how ridiculous this show can be, but this episode easily topped all of them. Easily.
I mean I love Kevin and V, and think they are the most rational and sane characters on the whole show. But, c’mon. I love that they are trying everything possible to have a child of their own, and fine I’ll accept using your own mother as a surrogate. But after trying to impregnate her using a turkey baster last episode, you make your boyfriend and your mother make babies the old fashioned way. C’mon.
 And when your boyfriend’s little soldier is having trouble standing at attention, and you join in to keep him aroused – let me put it more clearly, when you have a threesome with your boyfriend and your own mother – that’s just shock value. 
Honestly, I lost a little respect for Shameless tonight. 

Nobody Got Time For That...


The scene where Mickey’s dad walks in on his son and Ian having sex with each other, and then beats the living hell out of both of them with a pistol was heinous enough. But for his dad to then call a Russian hooker over to have sex with Mickey, at gun-point, instructing her to “fuck the gay out of him,” well, that was just ridiculous.
I mean the whole scene was over the top. To make matters even more awkward, Mickey’s dad made Ian watch his boyfriend have sex with a woman, right in front of him. Not to mention, they are both beaten and bloodied. I mean. Just weird.
If the writers were trying to go for profundity in this scene, they failed miserably. The scene smacked off disgust. It was just off-putting at best. 

No Fear in Foster Care?


Something doesn’t feel right about the Gallagher family breaking up and heading to foster care. I know that they’ve all been in homes before, but would they all really be this nonchalant? I didn’t really believe that Debby wouldn’t be more shocked, and certainly scared, to find out she would be placed alone.  Or that the devious Carl wouldn’t be a little rattled when he is paired with baby Liam and is charged with taking care of the little one.
I suppose they also know that Fiona has their backs, and it will only be a matter of a few days apart. But, still. Sure, we have to suspend a lot of our own reality while watching Shameless – like watching half the neighborhood trying to dig a dead body out of the backyard last episode – but I’m having trouble believing this.
OK… I did like the scene where Fiona came home to an empty house. Her attempt at crying was a bit on the average side, but this is what makes me keep watching Shameless. With all the craziness, there is a lot of good drama.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Grab a Shovel and Start Digging"


GRADE: B+

Shameless faithful are all too familiar watching Frank make one poor life decision after another. For the most part, the storyline gets tidily patched back up by the end of the episode – usually with Frank passed out on the front yard – and we’re all free to sit back and watch his next bright idea brilliantly explode.
But in “The Sins of My Caretaker,” Frank’s antics finally catch up with him, and it’s nice to see that son-of-a-bitch actually have to help clean up the mess he left behind. To make a long story short, Frank buried his dead aunt in his backyard so that he could cash her social security checks, and with the city digging up the pipes in a few days, Frank literally digs skeletons out of his backyard. When Frank is weary to start digging, Fiona memorably tells him: “This isn’t a DUI, Frank. You buried a body...” This time it’s jail time. 


Without careening forward through all the storylines, this episode felt slower and more relaxed, which allowed for a lot of subtle character development. For example, Lip and Fiona are both struggling with commitment issues, which is not surprising considering the relationships they’ve endured with their parents. Lip fears his clingy girlfriend, Mandy, is getting overly attached, but he’s still too emotionally beat-up from a nasty break-up with his sex-addicted ex-girlfriend, Karen, who left town last season (nobody really liked her, anyway). But at the end of the episode, Lip breaks down and apologizes to Mandy after realizing that he doesn’t want Karen’s ghost still haunting him. He leaves a message on Karen’s machine thanking her for leaving him, screaming, almost in tears that: “we all owe you a huge fucking favor.”
Watching Lip’s tough fa├žade chip and then crack was a gratifying moment in the episode, not to mention, we’re getting fonder and fonder of Mandy who actually is starting to grow on me as she falls for Lip. Who knows? They might make a good couple after all.
Fiona is in a similar situation trying to connect with her significant other Jimmy who’s in the midst of an emotional break down after learning his father was gay. But with everything else going on in the episode – namely digging up a dead body in the back yard – Fiona didn’t have the energy to console Jimmy, who finally blows up at her asking her why she can care for so many people, but not for him. Unlike Lip and Mandy, Fiona’s story doesn’t have a happy ending: she calls him before she goes to bed to find out where he is, and the scene cuts to Jimmy on a couch with the beautiful Brazilian, Estefania, naked on his lap. Not surprising for Shameless, but not good, Jimmy... not good.



Loose thoughts:
o   At least, Carl doesn’t think he has cancer anymore – I really didn’t like where that was going. I know Shameless seriously has no shame when it comes to content – like the little boy in this episode who thinks she’s a girl – but, let’s be honest, chronic disease in children is really not funny. 
o   Debbie kicked some girl ass at the pool, after a pep talk from Fiona, and you can really see Debbie taking after her big sister. Like Fiona said, “Nobody fucks with the Gallaghers.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

To Catch a Predator





GRADE: B

The third episode in season 3 called, "May I Trim Your Hedges?" has all the prerequisite sex that fans have come to know and unwillingly fall in love with about Shameless, but this time there's a whole lot of creepiness thrown in the mix.
Firstly, Fiona's little sister, Debbie, who has been put through enough emotional trauma in past seasons to do serious psychological damage, catches a pervert masturbating to her at the back of the bus. Even though, Fiona throws a can of soup through his face as the criminal runs off, the experience leaves little Debbie rattled enough to take up self defense. Then, we have the feisty Fiona who enlists her friend V to help her bribe a male grocery-store manager with allegations of sexual misconduct, after he offered Fiona a job in exchange for another sort of job - handling his "deli meat."
After thinking about what kinds of people actually come up with this stuff, I started thinking about how to explain it without sounding like a deviant myself. But, the truth of the matter is that all of the events that take place in this episode come from real life, and the saddest part isn't that these things actually exist in our society, but the ones that they are perpetrated on are often the unwitting and the innocent.
With that sentiment in mind, after hearing about Debbie's episode on the bus, her brother Lip decides to serve up a bit of vigilante justice to every pedophile in the neighbor and is shocked to see just how many red dots actually pop up on the pervert map. But when he and a formative "perv posse" go to the house of a Blake Collins, they find that Blake is actually a nerdy-librarian-type middle-school teacher, played by Amy Adams, who fell in rapturous love with her eighth-grade student. While the posse disperses, Lip vows to seduce her in an attempt to prove that beautiful, blonde women can be pedophiles too.
But that subplot rings hollow at times when Lip tries every cliche in the 'How To Seduce a Pedophile' handbook. But, what's worse is that Ms. Collins actually falls for it and after finding new uses for peanut butter, actually uses the hair-removal product, Nair, to make Lip look like a little boy again.  
The most emotional moment was again provided by our competent heroine, Fiona, who overcomes her fear of trusting others, and tells her boyfriend Jimmy so, which "means more to me than love." This would seem like an emotional breakthrough for the couple, but of course, nothing is simple on Shameless: earlier in the evening, Jimmy's ex-girlfriend used his hand as a sex toy. I know it's complicated.
I might be amiss not to mention the patriarch Frank, if only as an aside, but his antics have ceased to impress me and I've become less and less shocked at his pitiful ploys to better his situation. In this episode, he convinces his young son, Carl, that he has cancer in an attempt to make a profit off a Make-a-Wish like foundation. Good luck, Frank.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Season 2 Finale All About New Beginnings



Although the season 2 finale featured plenty of action like a rooftop police chase, a breakout from a psychiatric ward, and Frank's wife leaving him for a lesbian – the episode focused greater attention on the blooming relationships between characters, especially Fiona and Jimmy. There wasn’t a cliffhanger ending, but there might not need to be when the trailer for season 3 starts off with Frank waking up from a drunken stupor in Mexico.

Instead, the finale stirred that very human desire to find some semblance of family in what's left of the Gallagher household. It's them against the world, and by the end of every episode, after battling the poverty-stricken streets, after fighting and screaming and leaving, they somehow, just somehow, managed to make it back home. We craved reconciliation, more than over-the-top cinematics, and we were not disappointed.

At the beginning of the episode, Fiona and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Jimmy, picked up where the previous episode left off, cleaning up Monica's (Fiona's mother's) blood from the kitchen floor where they found her bleeding and unconscious on Thanksgiving after attempting suicide. The music is soft and folksy and Fiona is crying and the moment really works to bring the two back together. There is such gravity in their task that the rest well... just becomes water under the bridge.

To say their relationship has been rocky and unconventional would be to say the least. In previous episodes, Jimmy was actually known by everyone, including Fiona, as Steve, an alias he used to protect his identity as a seasoned car thief. After coming clean to her about leading two lives, Jimmy/Steve finally realizes that he needs her, but of course, the complications are already looming… 

Jimmy's beautiful ex-wife ran away from her husband and shows up in the middle of the night hysterically screaming. The real significance is that her new husband, an intimidating and powerful head of some nefarious cartel, is hot on her 3-inch stiletto heels.

That same need for the Gallagher's to be part of something more than themselves is where we find the greatest joys in the episode. After Fiona passes her GED, she begs her brother Lip – who has moved out of the house and into an apartment with his bad-mannered girlfriend – to go back to school. She reminds him that they made a deal: if she gets past high school, Lip, who despite his South-side upbringing has a 4.6 GPA, has to go to college. Lip just walks away, while his girlfriend pushes Fiona to the door, sauntering around in only her T-shirt and panties.  

But the point is that Fiona cares and somewhere under his grievances and his Luke-Perry-like indifference for his future, Lip does too. So he shows up for his Physics final exam, unannounced, to the befuddlement of his professor, who only drops him a knowing nod and an empty Scan-tron booklet. Later that night, when he goes back home, Fiona is the first to run into his arms.

The best part of the ending, thoughk is that after Frank sneaks into an insane asylum to break out his wife who has 60 more days after attempting her life; and, even after he finds her in her room, and she’s in bed with another woman; and, even after he breaks both of them out, she still leaves him for that woman. Even after all that, Frank still comes back home.

But this time, after a physical fight with his teenage son, Ian, the clan gang up on him, knock him unconscious with a frying pan, and help each other drag him out to the front yard. The last scene pans over fresh snow falling down on the Gallagher home, and feelings of new beginnings, when the forgotten Frank sits up from the snow, dusts himself off, and scurries away. Finally, after two seasons of not even being able to stomach him, Frank finally ends up where he deserves: out by the trash covered with snow.