TV Recap: Shameless, Season 4 Premiere

Written by Laura Dengrove

It never felt so good to feel so shameless, and this time is no exception.

Shameless returned with a loud roar Sunday, premiering with one of its funniest episodes to date since the amazing first season aired back in 2011. The show is currently in its fourth season, and while the third season dragged a bit, it hasn’t lost any of its hilarious thunder.

Shameless is a series (adapted from the UK series of the same name) that gives us an inside look into Gallagher family as they try to live their lives below the poverty line and deal with their absentee alcoholic father Frank, played by the very funny and talented William H. Macy. The head of the family Fiona, shows great leadership and courage throughout the series as she struggles to take care of her younger brother and sisters. The always-perfect Emmy Rossum (who’s in a much less glamorous role) plays Fiona. Throughout the series, Rossum provides great comedic timing and has great family chemistry with all of her younger cast mates.

This season picks up a couple weeks after the conclusion of Season Three and the Gallagher family appears to be doing a lot better recently. With Fiona’s new job at an office, the family now has a solid income to live off of. Also helping around the house now is the OCD poster child Shelia, played by the supremely gifted Joan Cusack who has been nominated for her role for all three seasons.

All the kids appear to be growing up, as eldest brother Lib (Jeremy Allen White) is in college, Ian (Cameron Monaghan), is in the army, and the two youngest siblings Debbie and Carl (Emma Kenney and Ethan Cutkosky), are finding their own identities in the wonderful world of becoming teenagers. The younger cast members are extremely talented and very convincing, especially up against acting veterans such as Cusack and Macy. They hold their own in every scene and manage to steal the show.

This season doesn’t feel stale like the third season felt, and the jokes may even be better as the show marches on to its fourth season.

The characters all appear to be moving on with their lives, even if some of the characters aren’t present for it. Frank is still missing as seen in the season three finale, and the character Jimmy, played by Justin Chatwin, is still M.I.A since the finale as well. Jimmy was a great character while he lasted, but the growth that Fiona can gain from this has immense potential.

The character of Fiona appears to be brought back to life. In the past seasons, she appears to be the parent of the mini clan, but this season she is starting to have a little more fun, and boy does it make the show so much more interesting. She still acts as the main matriarch of the family, but with a little more help around the house offered by Shelia, she is allowed to show her wild side a little more and act like the young woman she was meant to be. Her new relationship with her boss also allows her to experience a healthy relationship, but with that Gallagher blood coursing through her veins, it is doubtful the healthy part of that relationship will last.

The writing for the episode is superb, with each joke perfectly timed and smartly executed. The best storyline this episode by far is the Debbie storyline. Too see the angel of the family succumb to the darkness that is young, hormonal lust is an interesting and very realistic move for the writers to place young Debbie in.

Not only was the writing nearly perfect, the camera work was stunning as well.

One shot in particular was presented at the end of the episode. It shows Lip living his life at college and after a few mishaps with his grades, he decides to sit in the park as all the other college kids surround him on their phones, laptops, or simply just talking with others. As Lip decides to get up and leave, everyone freezes around him. This shot was mesmerizing to watch, just as it was for the character Lip as he looks around at his surroundings. Shots like these have never before been shown in the show, so for a shot as creative as this to show up in this rare gem of a comedy, is impressive to say the least.

As the show goes on, it doesn’t appear to be losing any momentum. This season the writing, acting, and camera work is better and brings this show back from the brim of death.

The show only has room to grow and hopefully won’t take a dull turn back to snoresville and will keep up with all of the new, exciting, and shameless things that could possibly be in the foreseeable future for this show and the characters.

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My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.