‘Shameless’ Season 4 Premiere "Simple Pleasures"

Congratulations, you survived 280 days of a Shameless free hell. Oh sure, we had the occasional spoiler here and there, but for the most part the well of Shameless goodness has been dry for quite awhile. I am choosing to believe that the lack of on-set photos means that the cast and crew were so busy preparing for a new season of awesomeness that they couldn’t dare post anything that might inadvertently ruin our fun. It was barely a week ago that I put the finishing touches on the last Spotlight and here I am preparing to embark on a 12 week recap spree.
I feel I must set a few things straight before I begin talking about the Season 4 premiere episode. The first, and perhaps most important of them all, is that I choose to believe that Shameless exist in its own universe where such things as time and change bend to the will of the writer. By this I mean that I don’t care if it has been a week or months in-between seasons. I don’t care if it has become increasingly obvious to everyone but the Gallaghers that it would be quite impossible for Liam to belong to either Frank or Monica. The twins who play him are adorable so I say “fuck it” if they don’t care, I don’t care.

The second thing is that I am writing about Shameless which means there will be cussing. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Too crass for you? Don’t read it. Simple as that. Also there will be no judgment from me on any of the characters actions.

The third thing is that if you have not seen the episode currently being discussed and do not want to be spoiled I say to you “STOP READING NOW!” This is not and will never be a spoiler-free zone. Granted I will probably not touch on every little thing that happens, but you can rest assured that I will be talking about a lot of what happens. So as I mentioned before if you don’t want to be spoiled stop reading.

The fourth thing is that I love this show. I’m obsessed with this show. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I’m stalking this show. Which means I am not the most objective person in the world when it comes to the lives and loves of the people that inhabit this world. Sorry, that is just how it is.

With all that being said it’s time to talk about “Simple Pleasures”.
It seems only fitting that the season 3 finale had a deceptively happier tone while the season 4 premiere episode had deceptively sadder tone. I say deceptively because while on the surface all seems well in the Gallagher world underneath turmoil and heartbreak is brewing. Now some of you may be wondering what in the hell am I talking about? The third season finale was filled with nothing but heartache while aside from a couple of outwardly melancholy moments the 4th premiere was nothing but happy, happy, happy.

To that I say sure it was. On the outside, but upon closer inspection one begins to see cracks in the facade. The groundwork was laid as early as the series premiere when it wasn’t until Fiona discovered just exactly how Steve earned his money did he begin to peek her interest as anything more than a cursory fuck. And here we have it  4 seasons later Fi has managed to find herself with a good job, a good man, and the makings for a stable life. Except I can’t help but wonder if during all that time she was struggling to survive if she ever stopped for a moment to think about what she truly wanted out of life. I have a feeling we will be seeing Fiona get a little rebellious this season.
Unfortunately for Fi it’s looking like Debbie might be doing exactly that. Well not so much rebelling as growing up in a world where she has no idea how to grow up. A friend of mind once said that the children of single parents often have so much responsibility that most kids their age wouldn’t dream of having that they are forced to behave and think on a level that other children don’t. The downside to this is that because they are so often having to live outside their age they never really learn how to be their age. This would be the case with Debbie and to a lesser extent, Carl.

Their older siblings were so often worrying about how the family was going to live from day to day conversations like “Debbie, you shouldn’t try to sell your virginity on the web even if it is for a million dollars.” and “Carl, wet dreams are normal; however buying an industrial size tub of vaseline is not.” are decidedly absent. Because of this both kids are left to discover how to make it through the years when one has very little control over anything.

Of course, it should also be said that considering Fi had sex with two different people while waiting in the drive-thru line as Wendy’s she could have found five minutes out of her day to warn Debbie of the dangers of seemingly innocent looking young men wearing hoodies and playing in arcades. Here’s hoping that burgeoning relationship doesn’t send Debbie too far down the rabbit hole. Carl, on the other hand, seems to be floating even more so on the outskirts of the family with only a dying Frank to guide him through the perils of puberty. If ever a kid needed an older brother like Ian around, it’s Carl.

But Debbie and Carl aren’t the only ones missing their missing-in-action brother, both Mickey and Mandy are looking kind of lost without their favorite Gallagher. Okay, sure Mandy also misses Lip and seems to be more than a little angry that he left her to go to college, but I imagine not having her best friend around isn’t helping matters. All the anger and hurt Mandy has for Lip right now makes me wonder what exactly did she think was going to happen when she applied to all those schools for him? It wasn’t like he was ever going to be able to take her with him. Where the hell was he going to stash her, in the closet? Sometimes I don’t think that girl is playing with a full deck.
Mickey, on the other hand, seems to be struggling even more without Ian in his life. Although it probably doesn’t help matters that he is trapped with a woman who may or may not be carrying his child, a father who sees no problems with pistol-whipping him, and a sibling who apparently is not the best when it comes to committing mail fraud. It only took a couple of years and Ian leaving for Mickey to realize just how much he has come to care about him. I can only hope that this is the beginning of his journey with Ian rather than the end. Well that and his jackass of a father doesn’t find exactly what he has been hiding in the bathroom.

Random thought: If Terry is so against Mickey being with Ian why does it appear that Mickey isn’t scared to ask Mandy if she knows anything about Ian in front of him? Are we just supposed to assume that in Terry’s mind that the relationship is over now that Mickey is married or did he and Mickey come to some kind of agreement? Sometimes I truly hate it when things are left unsaid.
Although I have a college education I never went away to school so I never had a chance to experience that whole “let’s screw while my roommate is 3ft away” pasttime – not that I’m complaining, far from it – it’s just that I find the whole situation to be rather awkward. Unlike Lip, who just seemed annoyed that they couldn’t get the job done.

I know last season a lot of fans seemed to think that college was the answers to all of Lip’s problems and that if he could just get there his life would be on easy street, but that isn’t the way the world works. Sometimes all a change of scenery does is bring on more problems. Except this time you don’t have the comfort of knowing your surroundings. Which is exactly what Lip is discovering. No longer is he the wunderkind of his peers. Now in order to survive and suceed he has to put in the effort all the while being surround by people he seemingly has nothing in common with. Can you just feel the good times coming his way?
Our girl V is pregnant and Stan is dead. Congrats to both. I say congrats to Stan because I thought he had died last season and somehow I had forgotten.  So knowing he got to kick it around for another month or so does a heart good.  V, on the other hand, I did not see coming. I knew her portrayer (Shanola Hampton) was pregnant in real life, but I just figured they would write around it. Never did I think they would throw another baby into the mix. Where this is going I have no idea, but damn I can’t wait to find out.

Is there anyway the Gallaghers can adopt Sheila? She needs family and she has no one. She doesn’t even have Frank. Somehow she as gone from an agrophobe with a house bustling with people to a woman who is desperate to escape the emptiness that has become her home she has taken it upon herself to clean the Gallagher house from top to bottom. If ever I were more worried about one of the characters on this show it would be her.

So there you have it, the fourth season premiere of Shameless. All in all I thought it was a terrific beginning that put just the right amount of pieces in play. While watching ‘Simple Pleasures’ I couldn’t help but feel that something wasn’t quite right. That somehow this family of misfits were more adrift than they ever had been before and then I realized what it was, Ian. Everywhere you looked his absence was felt even if it was in the smallest of ways. If you take away Mickey, Mandy, Kev, V, Sheila, and even Frank what you have left is 6 kids who are better together than they are apart and while Fiona may not be worried yet you can bet she feels his absence just as much as the rest of them do. Here’s hoping he doesn’t stay gone for long.

Shameless Moment of the Week: Frank’s alcohol enema and a close second would be when he tried to lubricate his throat enough to swallow a sip of beer. Never has it been put quite so clearly how deep his addiction goes and how far he is willing to go to keep drinking.

Shameless Character of the Week: Sheila Jackson – Never has there been a more heart breaking scene than the one of her at her dining room table surrounded by emptiness.




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