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'Shameless' recap: '#AbortionRules'

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Cliff Lipson/Showtime

Shameless

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-MA
seasons:
6
run date:
01/09/11
performer:
William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum
broadcaster:
Showtime
genre:
Comedy, Drama

“I was here last week. Where the f— were you?” Here’s what you missed: Debs is still pregnant. It’s a nightmare. Kevin and V have neighbor drama, and the Alibi is overrun by overpaying hipsters. Fiona is now the assistant manager of the diner. Ian is not doing so well. Lip beat up Helene’s son because he thought he was her lover. Carl is exactly as you might expect Carl to be following his juvie stint. Frank and Sean are also on the show. Let’s catch up with everyone separately for this week, shall we?

Debbie

Debbie remains hellbent on keeping her baby, and is convinced that Derek’s parents are the ones who shipped him off to Florida. Fiona is naturally skeptical about this fantasy, and, of course, still wants Debbie to get an abortion, telling Debbie to “be realistic”: How is she going to go to school and have a baby? Well, Fiona, I bet you felt preeeettty stupid when Debs countered with her foolproof plan: Cart a bag of flour around school as if it’s a baby and dress it like a girl in order to prove to Fiona that she can handle the responsibility. Nailed it.

Later, she forgets the bag of flour on the train. This, after learning from Derek’s family that he went to Florida voluntarily, obviously. He wants to be a pilot and, for some reason, sorting out babysitting plans for his high-school graduation did not factor into his life and career goals.

Undeterred, Debs packs her bags, intent on making her way to Florida. She’s caught in the act by Fiona, who barges into her room to tell her that they’re both going to the clinic, right now, because …

Fiona, and by extension, Sean

… Let’s get right to it: Fiona is also pregnant! The Gallaghers are responsible for overpopulation. And don’t worry, it gets worse: She learns of the news shortly after the father of her bundle of joy tells her that he relapsed, having shot up heroin the night before — while they were together. To Sean’s credit, he’s straightforward and honest with Fiona about what he’s done, and that he’ll always be an addict. He’s taken control by going to several meetings over the course of the day — leaving Fiona in the weeds as she tends to the diner — but it’s not yet clear whether he’s really going to meetings, or whether he’s taking off to use up some more of Otis’ stash.

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Fiona is also not dealing well with being an assistant manager, unused to being The Man in the face of deliberately obstinate employees who keep wanting to cook customers’ hash browns with Kleenex. (That’s not something I heard of while I was waiting tables throughout university, but I guess the times, they are a-changin’.)

NEXT: Ian makes me sad, Lip is the Gallagher family’s only prayer, and Carl … is definitely Carl. 

[pagebreak]

Ian

Ian is chafing under Fiona’s affectionately totalitarian rule. As ever, Fiona just wants the best for her sibling-children, but the utterly disastrous way she leads her own life makes it difficult for them to take her seriously when upset with their own lot and looking for someone to blame. Ian and Debs have bonded in that way. Ian doesn’t appreciate Fiona constantly asking after his meds, nor does he like the way she treats him at the diner, where he makes an admittedly terrible busboy. They get into it, and he gets himself fired. It was probably a relief for him. He’s been spending the bulk of his time becoming one with his bed, and being jobless is one more thing he can blame on Fiona instead of coming to terms with the very real lack of control he has over his brain and the difficult steps he should be taking in an attempt to deal with it. God. I’m sad. I hate this.

Lip

Lip is my only hope. He’s still sleeping with Helene, who doesn’t seem too bothered by the fact that he beat the crap out of her son. She also jokes (???) about Lip killing her husband (???), you know, like lovers do. She’s such an intellectual, mercurial maniac that it’s difficult to tell whether she’s serious or not, whether she’s trying to plant a seed. Lip, please don’t kill Theo.

Meanwhile, Theo is less quick to forget that Lip tenderized his son’s face: He tells Lip that he’s only sleeping with Helene because Theo allows it, and not to forget it. Who knew that Theo wasn’t just a spineless patsy after all? It’s an interesting new side to the relationship dynamic, but honestly, I think it’s too late to be seeing it. It’s difficult to care about this relationship anymore. As with every Gallagher exploit, I’m just waiting, anxiously, for the other shoe to drop. How will his relationship with Helene irreversibly mess up his otherwise promising future? I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

Until then, he’s been offered an internship on a geothermal research team thanks to Prof Youens. He accepts. Lip, please. Save everyone. 

Carl

Carl is selling guns from the handicapped stall. What else is there to say? Oh, Fiona, you tried so hard. You really did.

NEXT: In which Shameless misses the point, and Frank … is definitely Frank

[pagebreak]

Kevin, V, and Svetlana (and Yanis)

The Alibi was voted the “Best S—tiest Bar on the South Side,” which explains the hipster infestation. Svetlana, savvy businesswoman that she is, has a new service available for the hipsters every time we see her. Karaoke, espresso, and $30 shaves are now all available at the Alibi, with the “skankiest and meanest Russian bartender” on the South Side ready to insult you for your pleasure.

The hipster jokes are about to get real old, real soon, but I can’t help but be delighted every time Svetlana tells a man he’s a worthless idiot as they hand over their cash. It just warms my heart.

Kevin and V’s neighbor, Yanis, continues to make an unbearable amount of noise in the neighborhood. His dogs get taken away by animal control after the Lisas complain about the barking, and Kevin acts as peacemaker once more, promising to help Yanis get his dog back, reminding the Lisas: “Just remember … we were doing just fine in this neighborhood before you two moved in.” Were they, though? Having been rooting for these people for six years, you might find yourself automatically siding against the Lisas, but ending incessant dog-barking and motorcycle-revving is not exactly tyrannical, though it’s understandable that people in the neighborhood are made uncomfortable when the very civil servants they spend their days trying to avoid are suddenly knocking on their doors. That said, Shameless has an opportunity, here, to shine a light on the negative effects of gentrification, on what happens when upper-middle DINKs move into fixer-uppers and the prices of food and shelter skyrocket beyond what the people who used to live there can afford. But, I dunno, let the viciously homophobic Yanis keep his rabid dogs, I guess? Is that the lesson?

Anyway, Kevin — and V, and the twins — wake to Yanis’ motorcycle in the middle of the night, and he heads outside to cut the bike’s throttle cable. Except he didn’t, as they all learned in the morning when they heard the revving again: Kevin had cut the brake cable, leading Yanis to get hit by a car. Will this fall on the Lisas, who so clearly had it out for Yanis? Or is V — so unwilling to parent her children in the first place — about to become a single mother?

Frank

Frank tries to get over Bianca by burning her stuff at the hospital, where Bianca’s friend and co-worker tell him that the only reason she was with Frank was because she was about to die. Duh! Duh. This leads Frank to his Next Big Scheme: latching onto stage fours and draining them of money and life until they die from their cancer. When he introduces his first victim to smoking crack, she dies immediately. Great! Perfect. Just another day in the life of Frank Gallagher.

Stray thoughts, plots, and nitpicks:

  • William H. Macy deserves so much more than this.
  • At the top of the episode, Fiona was stressed about Debbie — and the prospect of raising yet another child — and Sean sought to calm her down via the most uncomfortable-to-watch orgasm ever. “You gotta shut up for a few minutes,” he told her. “You need the stress reliever, and I only have three minutes before my meeting.” What kinda seduction technique? And what kinda sex drive does Fiona have that that worked? Later, the roles were reversed, as the camera lingered on Sean’s track marks. I love to be sad — thanks, Shameless.
  • Fiona doesn’t understand how hashtags work. The episode’s title is derived from the text messages she’d send Debbie throughout the day, reminding her that most teen moms never graduate high school and other fun facts, adding, “#AbortionRules.” Whatever, I don’t think Fiona has time for Twitter.
  • The season premiere gave me some hope about the direction of this season, but now I’m not so sure. But I’ll be here until the bitter end, regardless, as I naïvely hope for good things to happen to this family. 
  • Finally, when can Mickey come back?

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