Shameless

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Loser Goes to Gitmo

Steve offers to take her for a "long, deep, leisurely lunch," which he helpfully explains is a euphemism, but no: There's Liam, and a babysitter costs "at least fifty bucks" -- Which: What? Are you planning on fucking until tomorrow? Is your babysitter the Supernanny? Do we fly her in from foggy London? -- and of course Steve ponies up right away, because what is money to a thief? "You're not paying me to fuck you," Fiona snorts, and he grins winsomely. "No, I couldn't pay you enough." Romance. It is not dead after all.

There's a thumping and a bumping upstairs and Fiona knows it's not Liam because he's too lazy to get out of his crib and usually just yells, so she grabs the Killing Bat and Steve takes the Killing Bat away and hands her the baby, because of sexism, and they head upstairs.

Where Debbie is acting super fucking sketch. So she tells this drawn-out story about the birthday party Frank was going to invite himself to, for three-year-old Katie Crasden, and how she saw Papa Crasden laughing and playing with his kids and all of a sudden she just could not handle life so she tempted Katie's baby brother out onto the sidewalk with a Snickers, popped him in the stroller, jammed it back to the HQ and then... Dressed him up like a little girl, because that's what she was looking to kidnap.

Of course this all comes clear in a complicated fashion, because you've got a scene where Debbie's telling the story in a sort of elliptical way, and Fiona and Steve immediately assume that she was molested and wait with bated breath to hear the horrible truth, except that's not actually how the scene works out at all, because the dialogue is wonky and she's not actually at any point even possibly indicating that she was molested. There's no way to interpret her words as meaning that.

So it's a failure, and not really for any good reason, but the idea is there -- and probably by the time the audience figures out why Fiona and Steve are gawping at her the whole thing is done and, like Frank Gallagher's speeches, funnier in hindsight once it's over: Oh, now I see that they thought she was molested the whole time she was talking. That is so droll. So shameless!

Over at the Casdens' they're getting their shit organized to find the little kid, and Dreamboat Tony is there with his partner, that little gay Cardassian you see everywhere, I can't think of his name right now but he always plays the neurotic mole-man half of every gay couple on sitcoms, he's adorable and old now. Frank shows up for some speechifying about nothing really, watch the show if you're into things like that, white men saying dumb racist shit that's only a little funny, but then they start talking about how Casey Casden was wearing a Superman suit when he disappeared. I love Superman more than anything in this entire world excepting unicorns, but boy did I start to hate the sound of that word by the middle of this episode.

Finally Debbie explains the basic obvious psychology behind the abduction: "I miss Ginger. You gave her to me and you took her away, so now I need a transvestite baby. This isn't even that complicated." (Well I mean, the complicated part is that Frank head-butted Ian and Fiona chased him out of the house, but let's just say "Ginger.") Steve is hilariously confused by the fact that previous to this kidnapping they "borrowed" an old lady from Veronica's job, but Fiona as usual doesn't have the time or inclination, because Debbie has washed and then dryer-shrunk -- "That's what you do after you wash something!" -- the little boy's clothes. Steve assumes they can just use some of Liam's stuff, but Fiona points out the very yucky but I guess true fact that that would make them look like molesters.

Child molestation is this week's Milkoviches: It is everywhere! It knows when you are sleeping! It is at the Gallaghers' house! It is Karen's new mission in life! Meanwhile, Tony and Mike, the partner's name is Mike, are fussy about the loudspeaker and whatever, cops bitching at each other. Ian and Lip, same deal, bitching at each other while they wait for the pothead grandson of the dead lady to sell them a new water heater. For such a short episode there sure are a lot of filler scenes.

Fiona takes Casey over to Veronica's for a minute, and V's in the bathroom so she assumes it's Liam she's watching, and Fiona doesn't explain so you get a funny second where V stares at the baby and is like, "Who the fuck are you?" Even more awkward: Running into Tony with Steve in play. It's sad. Tony gets very intense, though, about Casey -- maybe trying to impress her -- all, "Choppers, SWAT, couple dozen extra units, Amber Alerts, we're gonna catch the bastard that took little Casey, and chop his pedophile nuts off." Fiona and Steve and their collective nuts go running.

Frank starts bitching about how Obamacare and Chinese ladies and trustafarians are to blame for kidnapping or some such, and Sheila shuts him up in absolutely the most awesome way possible: "Frank! Guess what! I made muffins using a Bundt cake batter! I didn't even need to add another egg!" That is so awesome. I wish every time he opened his stupid mouth she would start screaming shit like that. Karen comes in talking about how much she enjoyed her recent meal of penii, and Frank is like guh and Sheila's like, I don't know. Doing a little dance or something. She seems to be getting more unhinged -- "less hinged," I guess -- which I wasn't expecting. I kinda thought she'd hit the ceiling on that. Meanwhile, Karen comes home, calls Eddie "shithead," and wiggles her whaletail for Frank for awhile. Guh-ross.

Then comes the very busy very long part of the episode -- complete with screen titles and freeze-frames and every other heist-related movie move that Guy Ritchie wore out ten years ago -- that is the centerpiece of the episode. And you know, it kind of bums me out because the show is so stylish when it's talking like itself. Like the end of the episode is just so gorgeously shot, with Fiona standing on the street flipping out. And so the fact that the body of the episode is this sort of silly, parts-moving-too-fast-to-notice-nothing's-actually-happening thing, it is sort of a bummer.

So the sketch of it all is that each Gallagher -- including Veronica and Kev -- will be playing a part in engineering Deb's return of Casey to his family, in such a way that nobody will be implicated. Fiona and Steve ran into Tony, so they can't be seen having anything to do with it, and they both need alibis -- which doesn't explain why they just bought three Superman suits in different sizes. Lip and Ian were off getting the water heater, so they're only involved because Lip is amazing and obviously made the whole plan up. When he asks why Debbie stole a baby, the answer is clear: "It's Debbie?"

So he, Carl and Ian will run the water heater home and help spread disinformation about the whereabouts of Casey all over town, keeping the cops tied up while Fiona and Steve smuggle the baby out of the house and trade it with Liam and then head to Sheila's for Fiona's alibi. Kev will go to work early to spread more stories, which is actually pretty cute and sets up his storyline for this week and next. Deb's the star of the show, because she's gotta memorize this whole lie about how it all went down that is essentially how it went down, minus the fact that she is a nutsack.

I mean, it all makes sense, we're not having trouble following any of it, but there's so much with the cutesy onscreen graphics and "experimental" editing and everything and it's just... I don't know how to write about it without being excruciatingly detailed, plus getting pissed about how lazy the whole thing is. Lazy even for 2004. Which it is not, currently. If you enjoy this sort of thing, this would be the sort of thing you would enjoy. If you honestly think there's a single difference between Layer Cake and Lock Stock and Snatch -- besides the slightly higher quality of the first, and the Brad-Pitt-ext

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Shameless

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