Shameless recap: Pimp's Paradise
Fiona's throne in the Gallagher home is usurped by Queenie
It’s no secret that Fiona Gallagher thrives on chaos. It’s an accusation that many an ex has lobbed her way, and one she can’t exactly deny. Working on a Gallagher-specific sliding scale, Sunday’s episode of Shameless, “Pimp’s Paradise,” was relatively chaos-free for most of the family, and for Fiona and Ian in particular — basically a vacation, really, compared to the crap they’ve each put up with this season. However, Lip and Carl — who each started the season on a high, the latter often literally — aren’t doing so hot. But let’s check in with Frank first, for once.
Frank, Queenie, and Chuckie
If you’ll recall, Queenie is the woman who was impregnated with a forgotten Gallagher by Frank so long ago. Sammi’s mother and Chuckie’s grandmother is in town, and she and Frank are all over each other. It’s horrifying. Not that Sherilyn Fenn and William H. Macy don’t seem like perfectly lovely people, but, well, Frank. It always feels a bit unfair when he gets to feel uncomplicated happiness, doesn’t it? Remember when the show dragged the Bianca thing from one season to the next, and then dropped the story line entirely? Couldn’t Frank have discovered something within himself that had well and truly changed him? But if a litter of children and a new kidney weren’t going to do that, I guess nothing will. But I digress.
Queenie is a green-juice-drinking, placenta-eating eco-hippie. She’s also all about free love, meaning that Frank’s newfound infatuation won’t keep her around. Or so she tells him.
Chuckie gets suspended from school for submitting a book report on Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and hasn’t Chuckie been free from juvie for long enough now for someone to have looked him in his eyes and told him, “Hey, cool it with the Nazi stuff”? Sure, he’s not bright, but he can listen to a direct instruction from an adult. He’s not a bad kid, just a dumb one who’s been brainwashed by teenage skinheads.
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Anyway, Frank gets him unsuspended, crying free speech, and plays caring family man in front of Queenie. Of course, he only cared to get Chuckie back in school because Queenie was toying with the idea of homeschooling her grandson, and Frank didn’t want that to threaten the sexcapades.
Over the course of the episode, Frank manages to convince her to stay. With Fiona over at Sean’s, that makes her the de facto matriarch of the Gallagher clan. Queenie seems like a nice enough woman — if a little eccentric — but a Gallagher household even half-led by Frank is just a disaster in the making.
NEXT: Debs considers going downtown for her dream home
Now that Erica is in remission, Debs is no longer needed by the Wexlers. Debs still thinks she can make it work with Erica, though, and suggests that they spend some time together once the kids are off at school.
Debs makes a clumsy move and is about to go down on Erica — after receiving tips from Carl and the Internet — but she receives a text from Frank just in the nick of time. The text tells her to come home because they’ve got the house back. She scurries off, telling Erica that she’s only 15 and she likes boys.
So … no one saw fit to tell Debbie about the house until that moment? The house was in hand while Debs was asking Carl for oral sex tips. Whatever. Anyway, while Fiona told Debs that she wouldn’t be welcome in the house should she keep the baby, the house was paid for by Carl. Fiona tries to assert her authority over Carl and the house in a number of ways during “Pimp’s Paradise,” but she never questions Debs’ place there. Was that heavy conversation between Fiona and Debs forgotten, or just shelved for another time?
Also, now that Frank doesn’t need to pimp out his daughter for a place to sleep, I wonder whether they’ll maintain the closeness they’d been cultivating over the past few weeks. Frank may feel the need to fake it, at least, given that Queenie has taken a shine to Debs.
First of all, correction time! Last week, I mistakenly read Carl’s awful handwriting — I thought he had written “Girls’ Crib” on the front of what I did not even recognize as the front of the Gallagher home. Y’all, I even went back to watch “Ghost Your Baby,” where we saw a ton of the house, to see if it was the same. It didn’t look like it! I thought that Carl had bought a little something for Debs and her bun in the oven. What can I say, even recappers are fallible — sorry about that! Alas, I had too much faith in Carl. In the show. In my ability to read details on low-res press screeners. RIP me.
Moving on. In “NSFW,” it appeared as if Carl had finally realized that the path he had been pursuing with Nick at his side was not going to get him anywhere but back in juvie, or worse. While he didn’t make the abrupt about-face I had been hoping for, he was still shaken by what happened to the little boy Nick murdered. He makes an attempt to get back to normal by throwing a party for his schoolmates, but he’s distracted and lost in his own head — he even keeps himself from making a disgusting comment when his crush, Dominique, passes him in the schoolyard.
Carl tries to give the family of Nick’s victim some money and drugs to pay for funeral expenses, but they turn him down and ask him to leave.
I really can’t get a read on what might happen next with Carl. Has he learned that ill-gotten money doesn’t fix everything? Will he ever undo those cornrows? Drop the affect and slang that doesn’t belong to him? I guess we’ll see. He’s a confused teen and real life isn’t as neat and tidy as life-changing epiphanies that follow devastating events. Real life isn’t linear. So maybe it’s as simple — and confusing — as that.
NEXT: Helene left Lip a changed man, but was it for the better?
Lip loses his job as an RA — not because of his affair with Helene, the administration insists, but because his wall was defaced with a mural. Seems like a pretty good reason to render a college student homeless, sure.
His luck turns around immediately, though, when he finds a job at a sorority house as a “houseboy.” Basically, doing all their cooking and cleaning. There’s a room in it for him and, it looks like, all the girls he could ever want. As Lip unpacks his stuff, sorority sisters pass his room and titter over how cute he is. It looks like the perfect arrangement.
But Lip isn’t like he was before. He promises Victoria — the girl who got him the job — that they’ll hang out in his room, but he gets drunk and goes to yell at Helene from her yard instead, begging her to talk to him. She does not.
Past Lip would have spent his first night at Gamma Delta Rho sleeping his way through the sorority house, but when he hears Victoria knocking at his door, he ignores her.
Ian and Caleb
At Caleb’s apartment, Caleb asks Ian whether he’s thought more about applying to enter the firehouse ranks. Caleb says that Ian could start as an EMT, and that he’d be happy to help him with the application. “What do you have to lose?” “Yeah, maybe,” Ian hedges. How long are we going to go back-and-forth on this? Do it or don’t, my dude.
Spur-of-the-moment-like, Caleb invites Ian to a wedding. As we soon learn, Caleb’s father is a pastor and his family is full of homophobes. Once Ian twigs to the fact that Caleb has been using Ian to freak out his family — “Am I really your date or am I just a gay prop?” — Caleb is apologetic. His family “pretends they’re too religious to notice” that Caleb is gay, but Ian has a better idea: “Let’s make it harder for them to ignore.” They start grinding on each other on the dance floor like it’s last call at a gay bar and sufficiently scandalize the assembled.
As they walk home together, Caleb tells Ian that he’s “badass” for being able to put up with his family like that. The conversation fumbles a bit when they dance around talk of labels, but Ian just goes to kiss Caleb aggressively, pressing him up against a guardrail. Caleb slows it down, and they make out a little more languidly — not usually Ian’s style — and it looks like we’ve officially entered relationship territory for these two.
After spending a few nights with Sean, Fiona decides to check in on the rest of the family. Carl, of course, has taken over — and has even installed a slide along the stairs — but Fiona finds her place among the chaos when it turns out that Liam, who had been staying with Fiona and Sean, has lice. She finds usefulness in stripping the beds in the Gallagher house, vacuuming the furniture, and so on, but Queenie is there preaching herbal remedies for Liam’s lice, and Fiona is of course a little thrown off by her sudden usurper.
She gives up, though, when during dinner — made by Queenie, despite Fiona having had plans to make spaghetti — Sean asks Fiona to properly move in with him. Fiona tries to take Liam with her, but he insists on staying with Debs at the house. She’s disturbed and a little upset, but accepts it.
So, that’s it, right? Problem solved. Fiona is free of the kids, and only has herself and Sean to worry about. Everything will be great and simple and easy for her from now on. … Right?
“Pimp’s Paradise” was a little all over the place, and it’s hard to predict what may come next for the Gallaghers. However, with a shake-up like Fiona leaving the house and Queenie taking over at Frank’s side, it’s naïve to hope for anything good.