If this is the show finding its legs, that's very thrilling. What we saw here was more confident, funnier and frankly more sophisticated than the first two episodes. Which were fine, just sometimes hinky and fish/fowly and all over the place. This one felt like it's a lot closer to jelling, and maybe it's just the director or the writer for this one episode, but I don't think so: I think this episode is what this show is like. Which is great news.
So what happened? The Social Security people come to investigate Frank's Aunt Ginger, whose checks he's been cashing -- and in whose house they all live -- since she keeled over during a coke-fueled bender twelve years ago (and was subsequently buried in the backyard). He dresses up an insane, homeless ex-bus driver in drag, but that's too creepy even for the Gallaghers, so they kidnap an old lady from Veronica's old lady home. Debbie grows very attached to her over the two days they spend together, and it ends up awfully touching for being such a macabre sort of story.
Frank's still living at Sheila's, learning about all her weird OCD rituals and agoraphobic stuff, and it's fairly sad and pretty humanizing to see him deal with that. First, of course, by trying to take advantage of it, and then when he's being educated by Karen, who pretty obviously carries her mom, and then finally when it's just the two of them and Sheila cries because she can't even believe how fucked up and sick she is.
But the evening really belongs to Mandy Milkovich, this totally gross girl who, typically for this show, turn out to be kinda awesome. Due to some real gross stuff at school, she has developed a crush on wonderful Ian, and is not taking no for answer. So when she finally goes for it and he flips out, she runs off howling rape. Her three giant brothers come looking for Ian, and even though they're thuggy friends of Lip's, they eventually beat him as a sort of warning, about which he is pretty hilarious. Finally, Ian comes out to the girl, and she suggests they date each other anyway. To which he agrees, even though the night before he was pretty harsh with Kash about the exact same thing.
Meanwhile, Fiona has taken up Hot Cop Tony on his lifelong infatuation in order to get back at Steve for kidnapping her father last week. What she doesn't know is that he's a virgin -- or was, until she banged him in his cop car outside the Christian Youth sports banquet. And Steve won't leave her alone. Finally, even though Tony gives her the perfect out from her shame stuff with Steve, she cannot deny her feelings and ends up screwing over Tony again so she can run back to Steve. I foresee grave consequences, what with Steve being a car thief and Tony being a cop, but who knows.
Next week: Debbie steals a baby and dresses it in drag. Probably my favorite episode of the Brit version, personally, so hopes are high.
Well, looks like in the wake of Frank's kidnapping to our neighbors to the north last week Fiona's decided to give Tony a whirl. He won his Coach of the Year award after all, and rawdogging in his cop car outside the church is his reward. The whole time she's fucking him, he's all, "This is great! Sex is so fun!" and won't shut up. Which I mean, on the one hand how flattering, but on the other hand shut up.
They open the church doors and all the kids flow out and up to the steamed-up car, begging for Tony to turn on the sirens and do all the tricks cops have to do so that the children won't grow up hating them, and Fiona's just about having a naked blast at his discomfort, playing with the trophy and grinning at the kids and their eventual parents, jaws dropping. Fiona does know how to have fun. The only thing hotter than Hot Cop Tony is doing him in a cop car; the hilarity ensuing afterward is just the cherry on top.
There's a neat sort of transition thing where we follow stupid Kev down the road for awhile, and he looks up the skirt of a girl getting off the El, which is gross because it's Kev and gross because the girl is a child; we switch to her and follow her inside the Kash & Grab, where she grabs the ass of Ian Gallagher with the poise and grace of a girl on an ass-grabbing mission.
Of course, Ian thinks the grabbing hand belongs to his boss, and starts giggling, but then when he realizes it's this girl -- Mandy Milkovich, of the Chicago Milkoviches, which get ready for their nonstop bullshit -- he just about faceplants off his ladder. Seems earlier in the day, their totally nasty History teacher was dragging his totally nasty History dick across Mandy's textbook and Ian tripped him onto his ass in recompense, because Ian is the finest example besides Lip, and so now she's there to pay him back.
It's intimidating because of his gayness, and because she's sort of a thrilling amalgam of all the ways TV tells us tweens are getting gross, with their color-coded SillyBandz and rainbow parties and constant fingerbanging, but also and most of all because the Milkoviches (UK: Maguires) are like the most important thug family in the show. They are the reason I stopped watching the UK version, because although I love them individually, they're as big a family as the disgusting Gallaghers and they come with twice the baggage and it's just so tedious to have to pretend their lives matter. They make the Gallaghers look classy, which you would think is like impossible, but you'd be wrong.
"I think you might be my knight in shining armor," Mandy giggles, and Ian's like um ok lol and when she asks when he gets off, Ian throws some wild-eyed fear Kash's way and says he can't leave until way late. She slinks by him and says she'll see him tomorrow, and Ian knows the fear of a Taylor Lautner caught in the crosshairs of an American teenager's insatiable hungers.
Over at Sheila's they're watching a documentary on this very subject, as a crocodile snaps chicken out of a handler's hands -- "These amazing creatures may look cute and cuddly, but caution should be taken..." -- when the doorbell rings and Sheila's mentals kick in, and Frank has to get off his filthy ass and answer the door. It's Lip, which is awkward for everybody due to how Frank lives at Sheila's now because he beat up Ian, which is unacceptable.