Episode 306

Shame on you, Frank.

It’s pretty hard to be so devoid of a moral compass that you stand out on a show like Shameless, but Frank Gallagher routinely manages to do just that. A few weeks ago, he set the bar at an all time low, even for him, when he called the Department of Family Services on his own children. Drunk and feeling slighted by the “ungrateful delinquents” , he decided to teach them a lesson.Unfortunately, what at first appeared like nothing more than a petty and nasty attempt at revenge has turned out to spell real disaster for the Gallaghers.

At the behest of sweetly misguided Brittany, the Gallagher’s new caseworker, the kids are split up and sent to various foster homes. Actually, Lip and Ian are sent to Gunderson House, a Level 14 Group home for boys with “issues”- and no, we’re not talking fireworks and petty theft, think more along the lines of the Menendez Brothers. Sadly though, the brothers are so hardened to the system, Lip especially, that they accept their fate with nothing more than their heads down and their hands ready with cash to grease strategic palms.

Truthfully, Ian’s not too happy about acquiescing to the rude thugs who demand tribute from newbies, but it soon pays off as the boys discover the perks of friends in “high places”. Despite the prison-like atmosphere, run by a tough warden who lords over the boys like a pissed-off Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules, Lip is soon receiving illicit conjugal visits from Mandy after hours, and Ian is able to sneak over to the Milkovich house for some sleepover fun with Mickey.

With his father and sister away, Mickey can’t wait to have the redheaded cutie over for some extended horseplay- or in this case ball play- when their sacrosanct bliss is cut short by the unexpected arrival of Daddy Milkovich. We already know that in addition to being quite lacking in the parenting department, this guy hates pedophiles and queers. So naturally he doesn’t take too kindly to discovering the fruit of his loins mid-penetration with a member of the same sex.

After a particularly harrowing scene in which it isn’t really clear if he’s going to kill his own son and or Ian, beating them both so hard be practically cracks their skulls, things take an unexpected turn. That’s because Milkovich’s Russian on speed dial isn’t an Eastern Promises-style gangster, but a jaded hooker ready to screw the homo out of Mickey while Ian watches in despair and disbelief.

Yet, equally confounded by the unraveling of his situation is young Carl. Sent with Liam to the home of a biracial gay couple interested in the mixed race baby, and perhaps even him by proxy, he must adapt accordingly to this strange new way of life. Salads with kale, porn featuring mustached man pounding and fisting each other, fancy décor, these are all things that the poor boy struggles to wrap his brain around in the swanky Chicago penthouse he now calls home.

Fortunately though, he isn’t too confused to concoct a plan to dissuade the materialistic gays from adopting both he and his younger brother. A strategically placed wet stain and some “art work” on the walls is all it takes to convince Cassius and Lanier that perhaps they might need to rethink their new accessories.  At least, we hope that’s all it takes!

Meanwhile, poor Debbie is once again stuck running a household. This time it’s the one owned by a nasty Ms. Hannigan-type who runs her foster home like it’s Kathy Lee’s sweatshop. Luckily the kids are nice and the sweet girl is no stranger to a sink full of dirty dishes, but clearly the situation is less than ideal. A visit from Fiona soon reveals Deb’s fear and anxiousness to escape this place, but you can’t deny that the brave girl knows how to put the needs of her family first.

That’s because she learned from the best- no not her parents, Fiona! Every time her douchebag of a dad, or mess of a mom lets these kids down, Fiona’s there to pick up the pieces. This time things are more complicated though. First, she’s fired from the grocery store, or forced to quit so she can’t collect unemployment, when she refuses to scratch the boss’s “back” in exchange for a shift off so she can head down to DFS. And as if that aint enough, despite ripping apart their family, Brittany then refuses to make things any easier. Loyal to the rules of a broken system, the sweetly misguided social worker is unable to accomodate Fiona in any way, and tells her that she must attempt to locate the kid’s parents and prove that they’re both sober and fit enough to get their brood back. Not knowing Frank and Monica, Brittany has no idea what a Sisyphean task she’s saddled Fiona with.

That’s because Monica is still MIA and if Frank gets his wish, soon he will be too. Still afraid that the Po Po are gonna find Aunt Ginger’s body, he plans to hitch a ride with Stella on her big rig so that they both can enjoy nothing but free pussy and the open road. Luckily for Fiona though, the louse gets too drunk to meet his departure time and is found littering the floor of The Alibi the next morning. Of course, even after he’s told that Aunt Ginger’s remains have been taken care of by Fiona, he only agrees to help his oldest get the kids back when his interests are fully served, and in this case it means free range back in the house.

Despite the obvious drawbacks this deal represents, Fiona has no choice but to concede because sadly, she needs Frank ‘s help, desperately. This means he must clean up his act and attempt to appear interested in the kids he’s sired. Oh yeah, and attend parenting classes with Monica, his flighty estranged wife. With no Monica to be found however, Sheila steps into the part, complete with a blonde wig and a squint. Initially she’s as disgusted with Frank as everyone else, but agrees to pair up with the world’s worst babysitter, to help the the blameless (in this situation) Gallagher children.

Though at first reluctant, she is soon relishing her undercover role, not to mention the parenting classes that the part calls for. Rightfully convinced that her parenting style had something to do with her daughter’s awful behavior and abandonment of the family, it’s not long before she’s enlisting Frank to cathartically reenact twisted Jerry Springer-style scenes from the Jackson family saga during group therapy. Of course Frank couldn’t give a shit, but good thing Sheila’s got a Valium for him once he starts experiencing hardcore withdrawal midway through her breakthrough. Despite being sworn off booze and drugs till proven a fit parent, he’s devised a pretty ingenious way to pass his court ordered drug tests- let’s just say it involves a mouth full of his own clean piss, and his back turned to the cop.

Back at Kev’s and V’s, things have taken a creepy turn toward Appalachia as V’s desperation for a child’s hit incestuous proportions. I thought last week’s turkey baster scene was creepy, but after watching Kev screw V’s mom (Vanessa Bell Calloway), first through a Hasidic-style sheet with a hole in it, and then right in front of his wife/her daughter, made me yearn for the innocence of 7 days ago. I have no doubt that quite a few male fantasies involve pleasuring both a hot mom and her equally sexy daughter simultaneously with their tongue and johnson, but somehow it just felt wrong watching these characters we know so well engage in said behavior.

But still, not as wrong as Frank’s betrayal, which Fiona ultimately discovers at the episode’s end. Sweet Brittany seems to finally get what the Gallagher lioness is all about and turns a blind eye while an angry Fiona listens to the recording of the first DFS phone call. Interested to know what asshole would do such a thing, she seems genuinely surprised and devastated to learn that good old dad’s responsible.

Let’s hope things get better next week and that Fiona gives Frank what’s coming to him!