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Shameless is a comic drama about the impoverished Gallagher family living in suburban Chicago. Alcoholic-absentee father Frank is nominally patriarch of the family but the real work is done by daughter Fiona. Then Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl and Liam make up the rest of the family. Showtime 2011 - ???


Episode 12 - Fiona Interrupted

6 April 2012

Synopsis: Frank recruits Debbie to break Monica out of the mental institute. Jimmy tells Fiona that he loves her and won’t leave. She asks if she can meet his family. At dinner Ian realises that the man he slept with at the club was Jimmy’s Dad. Karen calls the police on Sheila and Jody for keeping her baby. The police can do nothing though and Karen asks Sheila to choose between her and the baby. Lip tells Karen she will regret leaving her child and finally returns home.

The Good: There was lots to enjoy about the finale but the overall season arcs didn’t impress me.

The opening thirteen minutes was as serious as any drama gets and I don’t see how anyone can claim that the show isn’t meant to be taken seriously. I think the producers want to have things be dramatic and funny at the same time and that doesn’t work. The performances were very strong though with Frank, Fiona and Debbie all torn up by Monica’s suicide attempt. The clean up and the subsequent intimacy between Jimmy and Fiona was all strong.

Fiona demanding to meet Jimmy’s family was a nice idea. She knows she’s taking a risk letting him back into her life and so this felt like a defensive reflex – demanding that he give her something in return.

Lip had good moments too. He never called Karen out for being a horrible person although he and Jody did get to agree on what a nightmare she is. I can’t tell if he still loves Karen or if his affection towards her was entirely related to the baby. Certainly Lip looked good for standing strong and continuing to advocate for the baby’s right not to be abandoned.

The Bad: It’s only a small thing but did Sheila really need to do the “What baby?” routine for the police? Karen knew where the baby was so what could her stalling have possibly achieved?

The Unknown: The Frank-Monica story was interesting but I didn’t like the blend of serious and silly. Monica clearly needs help and so as Frank geared up to rescue her I wasn’t in the mood for his adventures. Instead I was thinking about how she needed to be left alone to recover. The fact that he found her fooling around with another women felt like needless comedy but it did then lead to her running away so I do see why Jill was there.

The fact that Monica ran away again and didn’t get help underlined something that this episode made clear. Shameless is a soap opera, it’s not really a continuity driven cable drama. It’s a bit like Dexter which slowly revealed itself to just be another police procedural.

So Monica runs away because next season she might be back. Jimmy’s Dad turning out to be gay isn’t actually a story. It isn’t going to affect Jimmy in any real way. It’s just that Ian needed something to do and so this is it. Estefania returning is just another obstacle to keep Fiona and Jimmy from being completely happy together. Lip dropping out of school doesn’t really count because he’s so smart he can pop back in just for the exam and pass it easily.

Best Moment: I liked all the sadness over what Monica did. It was needed to show how something like that would actually affect people.

The Bottom Line: I didn’t feel any closure with this conclusion. Lip returning felt flat. Of course he was going to return. Of course Jimmy and Fiona will have arguments next season. It’s clear to me now that I can’t review Shameless episode by episode.

It may be much better than True Blood but in essence it’s the same show. It’s just a juggling act of various issues. There’s no actual momentum being built within these character’s lives. They are just set to spin their dysfunctional wheels until the show gets cancelled. I will continue to watch as I love my TV but this is the last of the episode by episodes.



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  • I didn't write anything but I did watch it. I too enjoyed it more than S3, but in part because I was not writing about it. Frank's antics were fun and having Jimmy marched off to death was different. But I still think its a soap more than a drama so not sure I have much to add.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 15/07/2013 5:17pm (7 years ago)

  • Did you ever watch/review Season 3? I ran a search to see if you just did a blog review for the whole season but didn't find anything there either.

    I'm just starting to catch up with a lot of shows I'm behind on (Shameless, Spartacus, Breaking Bad, HIMYM, TBBT, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, etc.).

    I'm three episodes into season three of Shameless and I am, for the most part, very much enjoying it. Some of the story lines are far more interesting than much of what took place in Season 2.

    Posted by Brando, 15/07/2013 4:11pm (7 years ago)

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