Shameless Season 3 Review “The Helpful Gallaghers”

Acting completely against their usual nature, the Gallaghers inadvertently help their friends and family on this week’s Shameless, ‘The Helpful Gallaghers’, as they add another couple of strays to their load. By the end of the episode, Mandy has brought her little sister to stay and Jimmy’s dad has crashed out on the couch, and you know things aren’t going to be peaceful with all of those secrets lurking around the corner.

Frank, usually the worst kind of scum imaginable, doesn’t actually put a foot wrong this week. His reasons for accidently getting Carl into cancer camp were selfish and diabolical (and Carl still thinks he’s dying of cancer), but he actually lets him go and have fun, despite not getting anything out of the arrangement himself. While there, of course Carl makes the best out of the situation, and he actually improves the experience for all of the other real cancer patients at camp. Complaining that the trip isn’t actually any fun, the kids manage to coerce the college-age councillor to flash for them. It’s an important rite of passage for pre-pubescent boys, after all.

Still banished from the Gallagher house, we know that Frank will do absolutely anything to keep a roof over his head – even help work out Sheila and Jody’s relationship problems. Sheila is missing her previously experimental sex life now that she’s living with a former sex addict, and she enlists Frank to convince Jody to let her have her way in the bedroom sometimes. We can’t see this working out well for the man of the house, but it’s keeping Frank in the manner to which he’s become accustomed.

Fiona is dealing with her own income problems, as her new strings-free job at the market might not be so easy once the other girls find out she’s not taking her fair share of ‘breaks’. Before that can happen, so organises a party for all of the workers and makes a speech about taking a collective stand. Sadly, it turns out that most of the women are happy with the arrangement, since the boss lets them have extras to take home and flexible hours, and her empowering speech falls on deaf ears. How long will she be able to keep her job now that they’re all aware she’s not doing her bit?

Mandy gets a call from her half-sister, whose mom has recently overdosed and left her alone. To prevent her from getting taken into foster care, Lip convinces Mandy to go pick her up, and the sister ends up back at the Gallagher house. With Carl away at camp, Fiona agrees to take her in temporarily, but warns Lip of getting to close to a damaged girl like Mandy. She’s right, of course, since Lip has made this mistake before, and his kind nature will probably get him into all sorts of trouble with a desperate and grateful girlfriend. Oh, and Debbie sees that Mandy’s sibling is actually hiding a penis, so the explanation for that should be interesting.

The second stray to arrive at the house is Jimmy’s dad, who has been thrown out by his wife for money trouble (and possibly being gay?). His and Ian’s secret could have been kept under wraps if only he hadn’t been drunk on arrival, and a confused fumble with the wrong Gallagher reveals what’s really been going on in secret. How will Jimmy react? What does this mean for Ian and the rest of the family? We’ll get to see the fallout next week, and I bet that it’s going to be a corker.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.