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Shameless

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 - ???

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Episode 11 - Just Like the Pilgrims Intended

24 August 2016

Synopsis: Monica’s depression leaves her unable to get out of bed. Frank drags her out to see his brother but her continuing issues force him to take her home. Marco and Estefania reunite for a marathon session of sex and arguing. Marco is furious to learn that Estefania slept with Steve. Steve hands his identity over to Marco and he and Lip flee the hotel. Lip stays with Mandy who wants him to be her boyfriend. Lip records a video for his child and encourages Karen to pick the best parents from those who will pay. Karen gives her blessing to Jody and Sheila. Carl comes across a gun and shoots a bald eagle. Fiona plans to serve it for Thanksgiving but Steve, now Jimmy, insists on buying a Turkey. At the family Thanksgiving Monica slits her wrists and everyone rushes to the hospital. Monica is saved and upstairs Karen gives birth to an Asian baby with down syndrome. Karen is uninterested, Lip is devastated and Sheila steals it.

The Good: This season is beyond saving but parts of this worked ok.

The portrayal of Monica’s bi-polar depression was solid. Chloe Webb continues to do an excellent job at playing the damaged matriarch and her desire to literally crawl into a hole was believable and sad. I thought Frank’s reaction to it all was good too. In general he didn’t let her behaviour get in the way of his desires, be it money or an orgasm. However when he saw she was suffering he did have the sense to take her home and try to find medicine for her. Finally when things got too real he backed out. Again I liked that a lot. He is a coward who won’t take responsibility for anything in his life. So he disappears to drown the pain.

Lip had more good moments too. His excitement at seeing his baby was sweet and the video he made was suitably understated. His determination not to disappear (as his own father did) had clearly swept up a lot of emotion inside him so that he was hugely excited to meet him and deeply disappointed when the baby turned out not to be his. Surrounding this story he continues to cling to his independence but has no way to ensure it yet.

Ian also searched for a release from the family problems at the gay bar. I wonder if that avenue will present an alternative life to the army.

The Bad: The tonal inconsistencies continue to ruin the big moments. Monica’s suicide attempt was too big a tragedy to share screen time with Karen giving birth. Or at least the Gallagher family shouldn’t have been asked to react to both events simultaneously.

Even with their estranged relationship the sight of their mother on the kitchen floor should have been too much for Debbie and Carl. As a piece of storytelling it seemed wrong to have them cheering and whooping at the birth a couple of scenes later. Of course there is also no way that ten people would be allowed in the delivery room like that. It was pushing it to have Lip, Jody and Sheila in there and it became increasingly ridiculous as the whole clan entered the room.

Karen remains one of the most bizarre characters on TV. Her hateful attitude towards her child and dismissive attitude toward Lip make her seem inhuman. I don’t know what the writers expect our reaction to her to be. If we are meant to hate her then it kind of works but she is such an exaggeration that it feels like needless manipulation to have her be so unlikeable.

The baby being Asian was fine (we know she slept around) but for it to have down syndrome felt like shock value TV. It’s not hard to suggest that in an episode with suicide, armed robbery, a man with a cork screw in his leg and a gratuitous shot of a birthing vagina. Again the real issue is what does this baby do for the story? Sheila kidnapping it means nothing. Sheila has gone from a character we were invested in to a joke. First she kills dying people and now she steals babies. That’s TV code for nonsense that we shouldn’t care about.

The Unknown: The Marco-Estefania crap is finally over thank goodness. Steve has been pretty unhelpful to Fiona but I suppose he wins points for reacting with competence to Monica’s blood loss.

I don’t think the Lip-Mandy story can go in a good direction. Like Sheila it’s impossible to take her seriously after she laughed off being raped by her Dad (last episode). Now that Lip is leading her on he may end up at the end of a Milkovich gun soon.

Best Moment: As usual Lip gets the best lines. “Way to go Sheila” he nonchalantly says when he hears that she slept with Jody. He then wants to talk to Karen who asks if he slept with Sheila too. “Yeah paybacks a bitch” comes the retort.

The Bottom Line: The piling on of ridiculous twists and turns continues. If you want to make a comedy drama that no one takes seriously, fine. But you can’t have suicide and drug abuse played in serious tones and then throw silliness in the same scenes and expect any of it to work.

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  • I absolutely adore this show, both American and British. However, in this episode; though it is called Shameless and that it may be; I found the killing of the bald eagle in poor taste. I think Paul Abbott could've done better here.
    May as well have dined on the American flag as a table cloth.
    God bless America
    Proud Veteran

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Shameless fanatic, 21/08/2016 7:44pm (3 years ago)

  • I just watched the episode and thought it was absolutely brilliant. The theme was Thanksgiving, family and what you're grateful for. The whole episode pays tribute to that. Steve's portuguese wife is grateful for Marco's return, only to be angry when he accuses her of being a whore, the family is happy that Monica is there at the dinner table, only to be devastated when she attempts suicide, Lip is overjoyed at the idea of his son coming into the world, only to be told it isn't his. It was like the show wanted to show the Gallagher family that "see this is what normal people hope and dream, and this is what you're left with: an illusion."

    Viewer score: 90 / 100

    Posted by Kendra, 06/06/2013 10:19pm (6 years ago)

  • I thought this was a very good episode. Much stronger and more focused than much of the season. The only part that was bad (and boy was it bad) was the family rejoicing and celebrating immediately after the shocking and terrifying suicide attempt by Monica. It rang false. Sure, they would want to be there for Lip. And they would definitely congratulate him...but the elation and joy and smiles and jumping up and down...it just seemed too much in that moment.

    Viewer score: 58 / 100

    Posted by Brando, 09/04/2012 7:44pm (8 years ago)

  • It's called "SHAMELESS". I think there is a license for the writers to be shameless as well. It's a tonal thing. Maybe unnecessary but in keeping with the theme.
    Besides, I've known a few families very similar to the Gallaghers. The various actions and reactions within their scenes are entirely believable, to me anyway.
    I think the twists as described are not ridiculous in the least. To me the twists are the bases for the whole show. It's the unpredictable nature of it that is not only enjoyable but inspiring. I hope they NEVER begin the formulaic plots which leave most shows plodding along well past their welcome. No needless psycho-babble or 'deep' symbolism needed. Pure, lifelike brilliance all the time. I just hope it ends in a couple more seasons to keep the quality from disintegrating.

    Viewer score: 90 / 100

    Posted by rome_g, 02/04/2012 4:07am (8 years ago)

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