Sunday, November 17, 2019

REVIEW: 'Shameless' - Lip Adjusts to Fatherhood by Himself in 'Sleep Well My Prince for Tomorrow You Shall Be King'

Showtime's Shameless - Episode 10.02 "Sleep Well My Prince for Tomorrow You Shall Be King"

Feeling the pressure from Debbie, Frank sets out to make money to keep his place in the house, but Mikey has bigger plans for him. Lip is overwhelmed by the demands of a newborn. Carl learns more about his mysterious new coworker at Captain Bob's. Ian and Mickey struggle to keep the romance alive in prison.

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 next episode of Showtime's Shameless.

"Sleep Well My Prince for Tomorrow You Shall Be King" was written by Nancy M. Pimental and directed by Jennifer Arnold

Having a newborn is a transformational experience for Lip. He struggles with the responsibility of caring for Freddy. This episode shows how exhausted he is without really knowing what to do to keep his son alive. It's strange because he has helped raise babies before. He helped Fiona with his siblings. He has watched Frannie. The show makes the excuse here that he never really cared what happened to any of them because they weren't actually his kid. Of course, this hour also points out that the Gallaghers have a strong bond that they believe unites them against any other identity that threatens to take them away. That may not be true. But it certainly props up the idea that they look after each other and will pitch in when necessary. It's not radical that Debbie asks the rest of the family to contribute to the monthly bills. She expects each of them to pull their weight. It's the same arrangement Fiona had always operated with. This family has always been pulling odd jobs and scams in order to make money. That has been a fundamental quality of the show. But now, the rest of the family seems to be revolting against Debbie's leadership. That may not be a bad thing because of how dysfunctional she is at handling the money left behind by Fiona. Her system isn't flawless. In fact, it's already starting to implode for her. Her craftiness can only get her so far. It may only cement a troubled future for her. She may succeed in talking her way out of certain situations while still maintaining some sense of control. But again, that may all be an illusion. Something that she has to project onto her life in order to feel strong. It's false but it's one of the more rational thoughts of the proceedings. The family may be turning against her. And yet, the family is also incredibly divided at the moment. Lip is taking care of his son all by himself. There is an update on Tami's condition by saying she's recovering in the ICU. And yet, all of the parenting responsibilities have fallen onto Lip. He even has to name the son. His story mostly points out how unprepared they were to actually raise a child. They didn't have any of the supplies or talked about some of the more important details. Lip is just figuring it out as he goes along and is constantly afraid that he is about to kill his son. It's terrifying. That can be a relatable quality. But again, Lip has helped raise children. That has been a core aspect of the show. He has handled the responsibility before. It was refreshing to see the show try to do something new by establishing a clear couple trying to raise a baby together. But now, the show has removed Tami from the picture entirely. She won't be gone for good. It just highlights how the show is more intrigued by the scattered and desperate nature of the Gallagher family. That can be amusing. It's just a very familiar pattern that has no actual substance to it that highlights growth for anyone. The same lesson applies to Liam's storyline. He yearns for a greater sense of his identity. His siblings embrace him as a Gallagher but also admonish him for wanting more. They don't want him to waste his money on a DNA test. Being a Gallagher is the only identity he needs because it's been perfectly fine for the rest of the family. However, it's not for Liam because he has a different skin color. He is seen in the world a different way. He is becoming aware to those injustices and striving for a greater sense of his own identity. The show presents it as a new family connection that has always just lived down the street. That's convenient and possibly too easy when it comes to explaining these existential questions that Liam is already feeling. It doesn't prevent him from engaging in the hijinks his siblings get into either. His race can present itself as a viable business partnership for Carl in recruiting kids for his latest scheme. And yet, the show has rarely known how to talk about the racial dynamics of the neighborhood. It has a more uniform tone of everyone just doing what it takes to survive. Everyone is running these scams to cheat their way into some money. That's the world view of this neighborhood. It just makes the show seem broader and less focused than on the actual character stakes of this world. That's evident in the reintroduction of Ian and Mickey as a couple. That mostly points out how they are no longer enjoying the honeymoon phase of their relationship in prison. Instead, they are bickering and want to get away from each other as soon as possible. That may not reassure the audience that wants to see them happy together. But what is actually happening doesn't seem all that engaging or insightful either. Again, it's just broad strokes of the humor that has always been present in this world.