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La Cucaracha

It’s been almost a year since we last caught up with The Twisted Family Gallagher, and as per usual, the new season hit the ground running. So in case you need a memory refresher, please give yourself a moment. Otherwise, let’s proceed…

Everyone’s favorite South Side siblings seem to be doing ok when we first are reintroduced to them. In fact, even de facto matriarch, Ms. Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) can’t help but notice that her brood is slowly “creeping up on the poverty line.” Sure they haven’t yet reached a deluxe apartment in the sky, but hey, it’s takes a whole lot of t-ry-ing just to get up that hill… and thanks to Fee’s cushy job at the cup plant, they’re on their way.

Yes, despite her colorful and varied employment history, Ms. Fiona Gallagher has managed to hold onto this gig for three – you heard it right – three full months. That means she’s kept the fam flush with a lower-middle class salary and has even become eligible for fancy rich people stuff like health benefits and a 401k (God Bless America!) Oh yeah, then there’s her boss, the surprisingly un-gropey, suspiciously über worked-out, hunk of Midwest man meat, Mike Pratt (Jake McDorman).

It’s no secret that First Date Fiona’s left her fair share of hormonal greaseballs from around the way satisfied – just ask Kev (Steve Howey) about the Wendy’s Drive-thru – but this time, she’s making Pratt wait. Perhaps its because he’s a gentleman from the right side of the tracks who hasn’t yet forced himself on her, or maybe it’s because he’s her boss, but either way, she’s proceeding with caution. Eternal caregiver that she is, Fiona has however treated him to a little second and third base action… After all, a guy’s gotta eat.

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And unlike her former beau – the still MIA car thief Jimmy (Justin Chatwin), who left our girl constantly wondering about his bizarre behavior and shady dealings, Pratt and his Chicago Bears-loving, sitcom family’s biggest secret seems to be ensuring that his competitive sister doesn’t reveal how he became “the stick” (with a name like that, we better find out soon!) Plus, he’s sweet, sensitive, tender, and willing to wait respectfully, which pays off for them both when they finally go all the way and she gets what looks like good loving and in return, he seems actually attentive to her after he’s released.

If only Debbie (Emma Kenney) could glean a bit of that skill with the opposite sex off of her big sis. Trapped at that awful stage when a young lady is Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman, wishing she wasn’t so Overprotected; hoping to grow Stronger from her mistakes, but often finding herself saying Oops, I Did It Again… I apologize, something about inappropriately sexualized teen girls using imagery that they don’t fully understand to attract creeps who could be their fathers and grandfathers always gets me thinking of Ms. Britney Jean Spears and her timeless catalogue.

Anyway, Debbie is growing up and she wants to be just like Fiona. After being treated as nothing more than extra labor for so long, the youngest Gallagher girl is seriously struggling to find out who she is outside of a dutiful daughter and loving sister. Naturally, that means trying on heels and make-up, flirting with boys at the arcade, and changing her clothes for school around the corner from her house so that she can show off a little more skin (or in this case, wear Fee’s clothes without pissing her off).

Alas, this is Shameless, so in addition to these wholly normal rights of passage, Deb’s also auctioning off her virginity online (sadly no bids, but in a testament to her self esteem and business acumen, she is at least charging 1 million dollars, citing the invaluable capitalist principal of scarcity equaling value), and running with a crowd that would make Evan Rachel Wood in 13 look like Taylor Swift at a bff sleepover.

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I’m not joking, these teen moms (literally) hit it hard, parents and good taste be damned – though I must say Skanky Holly (Danika Yarosh) really knows how to bring the boys to the yard and that’s not always an easy skill. Hopefully her slutty push has helped Debbie find the real thing with dreamy Matty (James Allen McCune) aka Autopsy Hoodie, but after their magical evening at Panda Express, it seems like AH just isn’t that into her or he;d rather have a beard.

Svetlana (Isadora Goreshter), the pregnant Russian hand job whore/blushing bride of Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher) could certainly teach young Deb a thing or two about that. Although, making only 12 bucks a pump, she’s barely got enough time to relax those fingers, never mind investigate her closet case husbands extracurricular activities.  If she did, she’d learn that his unrequited love affair with the sweet and loyal Ian Gallagher (Cameron Monaghan) has driven her pimp/spouse to masturbating like he’s a tortured mute in a Lars von Trier film. But even worse, the failed relationship has caused a lovesick Ian to ship up and out to Afghanistan.

Of course, she shouldn’t feel that bad, because none of the Gallaghers, not even closest in age Lip (Jeremy Allen White), know what Ian’s done. In fairness to Lip though, he’s got quite a lot on his own plate. First of all, he’s stuck in the yuppie, social media craving, let’s make every moment special with a choreographed dance and an Instagram shot instead of just drinking a beer, smoking a joint, and sticking it in like well adjusted kids did for centuries hell that is private college.

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Only able to afford it because of work study, he must endure wearing a lunchlady cap and fielding questions about gluten on a daily basis from some of the most entitled brats that America has to offer. In addition to that, there’s the close freshman dorm quarters, uppity TA’s, and annoying roommates’ girlfriends that we all suffered through for a higher education. Cheer up though, Lip, Mandy Milkovich’s (Emma Greenwell) torch still burns for you… alongside the one she’s lit for her new sexbuddy. Plus, soon enough, I expect that you’ll find a way to scam these tools out of their parents’ hard earned money.

Until then, also know that you are not the only well-intentioned but lazy student to pick his classes based on their distance from the AM. And Carl (Ethan Cutkosky), you are not the only sleepily lethargic young man to devise ways to empty his bladder with the least amount of energy expended from bed to relief. That being said, I draw the line at extreme double dipping, and Saw… why those programs are nothing more than a ruination for young men (that’s what my grandma used to say when I’d watch Fox in the 80’s), and I know Frank’s chill and all, but c’mon, masturbating and parents should be kept on separate planets, never mind in the same room.

Yet once again, between the much needed bath and the Franzia enema that you gave Frank (William H. Macy), you have shown yourself to be a dutiful son. And Lord knows dear old dad is need of a bit of TLC. Poor Frank… those tears in his esophagus aren’t going anywhere soon, and even with a nice coating of Pam Spray, the Jesus Juice just won’t go down without a bloody incident. When officer Tony (Tyler Jacob Moore) – who btw I’m still pulling for to win Fiona’s heart – finds him in a pool of needles at the squatter house, it’s quite clear that Frank’s lost what little will he had left to live. We’ll see if the love of his children is enough to combat the urge to imbibe, snort, or shoot, but I doubt it. At least your haircut looks nice, Frank.

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His former ward/ass-play partner Sheila (Joan Cusack) understands demons like that. No, she hasn’t developed a drug problem, but her agoraphobia and serious OCD threaten to overrun her life on a daily basis. Now without her daughter and former lover/son-in-law around, all she can do to keep her mind off things is report daily to the Gallagher house to scrub and clean that mess- though she does wear a hazmat suit, which means sweet Sheila hasn’t completely lost her precious sanity.

One can’t help but sympathize with her, such is a mother’s love… just ask Momma Carol (Vanessa Bell Calloway). She too did the dirty with her son-in-law, but only so that her infertile baby Veronica (Shanola Hampton) could have a baby of her own… or so that’s what she led Kev and V to believe.

Aside from the fact that she allowed her daughter’s husband to keep screwing her for two weeks before she revealed she was with child, she’s now demanding payment for her pricey Nordstrom Maternity numbers and cash only pre-natal bills at not shady at all Dr. Suzie’s. All of this hints at ulterior motives, however V is staying mum.

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Sadly it looks like this gravy train might be ending though for Carol, because her daughter is now pregnant   – against all odds – with a baby of her own, and rather than have this situation turn into a disaster of John Steinbeck-ian proportions, V thinks it’s time that they cut their losses and get rid of the freaky mom-baby before she’s forced to run-over it in the street.

She might have to keep it though, because Kev’s just  discovered that his mentor, former loan-shark tuned Alibi owner turned colorful old guy, Stan, has died, and it doesn’t look like he can handle any more loss at the moment.

Lucky we as an audience won’t have to, because Shameless Season 4 has officially arrived. Happy watching and if you live anywhere where White Castle is an option for dinner tonight… go f*&k yourself!