Sunday, December 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Shameless' - Frank and Mikey Have a Fun Day at a Business Conference in 'A Little Gallagher Goes a Long Way'

Showtime's Shameless - Episode 10.04 "A Little Gallagher Goes a Long Way"

Frank and Mikey set off on a day of adventure around the city in pursuit of Mikey's dreams. Debbie discovers a new way to make money in the midst of a strike. Lip leans on his new friend for parenting advice. Carl gets more than he bargained for when he offers to help Anne. Liam grows suspicious of his seemingly perfect mentor.

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.

"A Little Gallagher Goes a Long Way" was written by Joe Lawson and directed by Iain MacDonald

At its core, this show is fundamentally one about survival. It focuses on a select group of characters simply doing their best to survive the circumstances they've been given in life. Of course, they have to take quite a bit of responsibility for their failings as well. It can't all be blamed on the system and life being set against them. That's letting them off the hook entirely. Plenty of characters have left this world. And yet, none of them have really done so as success stories. They simply saw their fortunes lead them elsewhere and out of the lives of the Gallaghers. That may be to their collective benefit. Anyone who interacts with this family may inevitably get sucked into their drama. Kev and V still operate with some independence. They exist alongside the Gallaghers but aren't defined solely by those relationships. They too are simply doing whatever it takes in order to thrive in this world. But it still presents itself as a foreign concept when V is given a job offer to be a pharma rep. She is thrown by that suggestion even though she already has a basic understanding of how to do the job. Her new friend would be grateful for her help. All of this may showcase just how easy it is to build new friendships in this world. But there is the inherent irony and tragedy that comes from these characters being in the same exact places in their lives after a decade. That is significant. None of them have fundamentally changed since the start of the series. The Gallagher children may have largely grown up. However, they fall into the same patterns over and over again because of the ways in which they were raised. Lip's new friend suggests that forcing one's children to be self-sufficient is the best advice to new parents because it creates a new generation of people who can take care of themselves. It's a reactionary tool based on how society has been shaped by Millennial culture. And yet, there are a vast number of reasons why the young adults of the world behave in a certain way. It's not fair to characterize them all in a collective understanding. It may be a harsh criticism that is accurate in some crucial ways. And yet, the world is failing those trying to prosper at the moment. That's what makes this show stand out. It feels like it reflects the large swath of the public who are struggling to get by at the moment. It may not be an action out of entitlement. It may just be the cyclical nature of life. Frank has been condemned to this neighborhood. And now, it seems likely that his children will remain here as well. They are all inherently skeptical of anyone who suggests that there is a different way to live. Liam's new mentor could serve as a vital lifeline to help lift himself up to something better. But he may be too accustomed to the way things are done on the south side of Chicago. He can't take genuine advice from someone who plays by a different set of rules. They may be compassionate and caring for the world at large. But the Gallaghers are inherently selfish. That's a pattern they employ over and over again. Debbie only shows up at Derek's house when she needs money. It doesn't matter that he died overseas. Meanwhile, Lip and Carl are getting close to new women even though they are still in committed relationships the show has already asked the audience to invest in. That is bound to create some large stakes moving forward. But again, it may all be repetition at this point. There is the sense of evolution because the newcomers to this world still want to teach the Gallaghers how to do better. And yet, the most meaningful relationship may come from Frank and Mikey who are simply having a blast together. It's tragic that Mikey has to be sentenced to prison in order to get the health care he needs. But that is a valid choice given to him. It may take him away from Frank but it also ensures he has a life to live afterwards. That may be the most important thing. These characters are all so destructive and heinous in how they act in this world. And yet, they survive everything that happens to them. That is a quality that they all share. It's a resilience palpable throughout the stories. It just doesn't always translate into compelling stories especially when it's unclear if the show actually has any sense of ambition for any of them. Most of them are adrift in the world just barely making by each and every day. That can be enough for some. It shouldn't be for all of the characters though. That's boring especially if they are completely unaware to how the world is biased like Carl is when he sees Anne's family deal with immigration officers.