Sunday, November 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'Shameless' - Debbie Takes Over the Family While Tami Gives Birth in 'We Few, We Lucky Few, We Band of Gallaghers!'

Showtime's Shameless - Episode 10.01 "We Few, We Lucky Few, We Band of Gallaghers!"

Frank milks his injury for all its worth. Now the self-elected leader of the Gallagher family, Debbie cooks up a scam of her own. Lip and Tami get a surprise. Carl returns home from military school. Liam faces an identity crisis.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Showtime's Shameless.

"We Few, We Lucky Few, We Band of Gallaghers!" was written by John Wells and directed by John Wells

The very first action of the new season calls attention to what has been lost. The camera zooms in on Fiona calling one of her siblings and no one answering. It's not until the end of this premiere that someone actually answers that call and has a conversation with her. She is still places unknown as well. There isn't any clarity about where she has ended up even though it has been months since she left. Tami is ready to give birth while Carl is graduating from military school. Those are the most significant changes. Frank's leg has healed as well but he is still trying to scam the health care system into giving him drugs. It doesn't work but that's to be expected for Frank at this point in time. The focus can't simply be on what's missing though. In fact, it does feel like the show returns without skipping a beat at all. These characters have all led their own stories in the past. The narrative simply doesn't have one more character to keep busy with a plot. Of course, Fiona was always the most important and necessary character in the narrative. When things were consistently strong in her story, then the show was solid overall. When things got too bland or confusing with her, then the entire show suffered. Right now, the show seems to be suggesting that Debbie is going to step up to fill that void. That is a very pointed action. She has literally replaced Fiona as the head of the household mostly because she views herself as doing so and expecting the appreciation. She is the one managing the money and complaining about what the rest of the family does. It's annoying and she vents her frustrations out at work. But she is just as dysfunctional and reckless as the rest of them. None of them know how to properly handle money. Fiona gave the family some financial security when she left. Debbie has the finances all mapped out so that everything can be taken care of for awhile. But it's mostly evidence of an elaborate system she has concocted in order to seem like she's in control even though it's all destined to unravel at some point. That is blatantly obvious immediately. She has spent a ton of money on name brand clothing in order to present as someone new in the world. Of course, it's insane if the show is trying to suggest she is now 21. She no longer has to be from the Gallagher family just scrapping by. Yes, she keeps the tags intact and the receipts carefully organized. It mostly just presents as her trying to embrace a new world after coming from a place that contributed to her becoming a teenage mother. It's not shocking to see her be so irresponsible. But that may be the only way to ensure drama is present in the narrative because both Debbie and Lip have stability with their jobs. Meanwhile, the show has long been able to explain that Carl is off in military school. The action hasn't actually spent any significant time with him in that environment though. His exploits have been more necessary when he was in the city with the rest of his family. It's a big deal that he has offended his superior officer who will ensure he never gets to serve his country. There is no explanation for that. There is just a lame joke about Carl not knowing what being transgender means. He is an awful person. But again, that's to be expected in this family. They have a certain standard of living which leaves them oblivious to so much that is happening in the world around them. They have to hang onto certain opportunities because they may be the only ones they have in the world. But more responsibilities are apparent for them the older they get. They can no longer be as carefree as they were in their youth. The show is way too blunt in that regard when it comes to Kev's story. That is just too ridiculous while showing how a body can physically change while aging. It's more meaningful when it's Lip in the hospital needing to keep everyone informed about Tami and the baby. It's uncertain for him as well. The audience shouldn't be too worried about Tami's fate because Kate Miner is a series regular this season. It will probably be more interesting to see a couple raising a child together instead of the typical demand of the Gallagher family needing to rally together to keep a baby alive for as long as possible. That story has been told already. At this point in the show's life, it needs to continue challenging itself. This premiere is fine because it relaxes the audience back into the rhythms of the show. But it's also familiar in a way that can grow boring and tedious rather quickly as well. Frank robbing an old lady for her drugs is simply the latest awful behavior he has done. And now, he'll continue to enjoy these exploits with Mikey. They are kindred spirits no matter how existential their questions get during their latest drug trip.