By Shaunna Murphy
Updated January 09, 2012 at 08:29 PM EST
Credit: Cliff Lipson/Showtime

On last night’s second season premiere of Shameless, Frank (William H. Macy) realized the error of his ways and quit drinking, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) began her stint as an undergrad at the University of Illinois, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) maintained a monogamous relationship with Karen (Laura Wiggins), and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) didn’t hit anyone. Just kidding! But they did sell brews and joints to 14-year-olds, from an ice cream truck.

Thankfully, the Gallagher clan is still as boozy and brassy as they were when we left them last spring, the only major difference I could see was a significant shift in the weather. Where last season was a wild romp through a frigid South Side Chicago winter, this season finds the family struggling to make ends meet during a sweltering hot summer — and with the kids out of school, fierce matriarch Fiona has a little help in the money-making (er, scamming) department. Debbie (the wonderful Emma Kenney) is single-handedly running a spectacularly trashy day care out of the family’s home while Fiona sleeps upstairs. TV all day, Twinkies for lunch, and time-out in a dog cage? Oh, childhood! Fiona is waitressing at a nightclub while sleeping with a Steve (Justin Chatwin) look-a-like, and Lip and Ian (Cameron Monaghan) are running a fight club (when they’re not manning the aforementioned ice cream truck.)

Unfortunately, the family’s hard-earned cash took a major hit last night when Frank decided to bet a giant bouncer-type dude $10,000 that he couldn’t take two jolts from a Taser without messing his pants. He did, and Frank spent the rest of the episode going to disgusting, appalling lengths to come up with the dough. Doesn’t he look so clean-cut and friendly in that photo up there? Don’t worry, he’s just soliciting bar patrons so he can turn a few tricks in the bathroom stall. Yep, this actually happened. But Frank’s lowest point actually came when he offered up baby Liam to the thug as collateral; stealing him from Debbie under the guise of “a trip to the zoo.” Luckily, Kevin (Steve Howey) and Veronica (Shanola Hampton) had a few spare marijuana plants to get rid of, and the cash garnered from the cannabis would more than cover Frank’s ridiculous debts. God, I love this show.

Elsewhere, the outside-phobic Sheila (Joan Cusack) inched closer and closer to Kevin’s bar, where she will soon inevitably learn the dark, disgusting secrets that Frank has somehow kept hidden. Frank has been freeloading off of Sheila for the better part of a year and has already slept with her daughter (leading to the yet-to-be-discovered suicide of her husband), so I would safely bet on a rapidly approaching explosion there. The mysterious and probably bisexual adulteress Jasmine (Amy Smart) is still in the picture, much to Veronica’s chagrin, and so is that wacky cult survivor Ethel (Madison Davenport). Ethel has been tending to Kevin’s marijuana plants while the morally upright (yet creepy) Officer Tony (Tyler Jacob Moore) remodels the house next door. And speaking of the morally upright: Kash (Paj Vahdat) left his wife and children for a man in a burka, leaving Ian to run the shop alone. Does this mean he’ll get a raise?

Phew. That was a mouthful. Viewers — what did you think of last night’s filthy, fun premiere? Which of the many plot lines are you most excited to explore? Are you excited for the inevitable return of Steve? And, finally — are the Gallaghers even raunchier in the summertime? You’ll find your answer in the ice cream truck!

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