marla pachter debuts for Pop-Break…
Last season Shameless gave us a lot of things. A meth-making grandma incapable of censoring her very unladylike thoughts. A pregnant sex addict marrying a boring ex-sex addict who ended up having a surprisingly Asian baby with Down Syndrome. A foster child from a polygamist compound who was still brainwashingly devoted to her very old, slightly rapey husband. And that’s just a small piece of Season Two. So… I don’t know what I was expecting from this Season Premiere. What I do know is that it felt pretty tame.
Now, one might think that was a bad thing. But in all honestly, it was not only a little bit refreshing, but it allowed me to really understand what makes this show so good. Tame does not equal boring, and I was certainly enthralled in the more mundane activities of the lives of our favorite Gallaghers and friends. Well… mundane is probably a strong word. But due to all those crazy things that happened last season, really nothing in this episode phased me at all. Often with Shameless, it can seem like the characters’ lives are spinning out of control. This year we resume life with the Gallaghers when things are for the most part together.
Okay. So Frank (William H. Macy) is stuck in Mexico. But it’s pretty normal for Frank to be on a bender that lands him in some ridiculous situation. And that’s actually what allowed the other characters to have such a sense of normalcy. Their crazy parents weren’t around to fuck with their lives! JimmySteve (Justin Chatwin) and Fiona (Emmy Rossum) are happily living together, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is considering working towards college, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is… well, having good sex with Harry Hamlin on a regular basis, Deb (Emma Kenney) is desperately hoping for Frank to come home (but she always has something weird to obsess over), and V (Shanola Hampton) and Kevin (Steve Howey) are starting a new “historical” web show where he is the white man and she is his slave.
Uhhh. Let’s pause and examine some of those things. First, I want to say that Harry Hamlin looks smoking hot as the silver fox closeted gay man sexing it up with Ian. However, he still creeps me out a lot from his stint as, oh yeah, the abusive father and MURDERER celebrity Aaron Eckolls from Veronica Mars. That Season One finale where you learn he did it… chills just thinking about it. Second, lets talk about this historical web show. V and Kevin are trying to have a baby so they decided that V should not do her web show where she irons naked anymore in case one day their future child is surfing the web for porn and stumbles upon his mom’s ta-tas. Naturally instead they made it possible for their future child to find videos of both his or her parents doing it. Sure. That makes sense. Though admittedly their amateur historical slave porn was very entertaining.
Back on point though, what I realized during this season premiere is how rich these characters are. I think it’s very rare to find characters of similar class level and background who aren’t complete caricatures, especially in comedies. Shameless is very funny, but the comedy of the show doesn’t take cheap shots at their poor living situations and low education levels. Instead it lets their backgrounds mold them into unique, and completely real human beings. Yes, the show does often put them into crazy situations, but you know what? Life is crazy sometimes. And because of how human these characters are and the way they deal with things, those crazy situations feel real.
That being said, I’m not sure where the show is heading or what this season has in store. The only real indication of what’s to come is the relationship drama between Fiona and JimmySteve (if I don’t say both names I get confused). JimmySteve is married to a drug lord’s (?) daughter to give her American citizenship. But other than that, like I said. Pretty calm episode. I just know that whatever is in store, I love these characters and especially after this episode I have a lot of faith that it’s going to be a journey I’ll enjoy taking.
Shameless, where you lead, I will follow. Oops. That’s the theme song to Gilmore Girls. Very different show.