SHAMELESS “Frank the Plank” Advance Review

SHAMELESS "Frank the Plank"

SHAMELESS “Frank the Plank” Season 1 Episode 2 – Frank goes shockingly missing on disability check day, so his kids and the neighborhood try to track him down in the “Frank the Plank” episode of SHAMELESS, airing tonight on Showtime. I was able to preview the episode and it does an excellent job of bringing viewers deeper into the Gallagher world with both laughs and a few more complicated emotions.

While the pilot spent surprisingly little time on Frank, this episode more than makes up for lost time. Where last week we saw a self-involved but mostly harmless drunk, we now get a closer look at the darkness inside the Gallagher patriarch. I admit the casting of William H. Macy as Frank had me concerned he would make the character too likable, but tonight’s episode takes care of that.

One thing you have to know about the Gallaghers is that–with the exception of Frank–it is very much all for one and one for all and I love how this episode shows that in both obvious and subtle ways. Through it all, Fiona is the tough but vulnerable heart and soul of the family–not to mention one hell of a mama bear–and Emmy Rossum again shows she is more than up to the task.

We see more of Veronica and Steve tonight and I love both their chemistry and the outside view of the Gallaghers that they give. We also learn how Veronica makes a living and let’s just say she puts a character on another Sunday night show to shame. Sheila is also more present and Joan Cusack is ridiculously funny even though I’m having a slightly hard time adjusting to her in the role. I wish there were more Ian (though he is great in a pivotal scene), but Lip is a standout tonight and with such a sprawling cast, not everyone is going to get as much time as I would like.

While the dramatic portion of tonight’s episode is a bit heavier than in the pilot (that’s not a bad thing), there is plenty of terrific humor. The opening scene is hilarious, Shanola Hampton (Veronica) can’t be in a scene without making me laugh, and watching the Gallaghers “make a living” is always a hoot.

A few choice lines:

“She’s been in the third grade for four years. I’m going to deck that little bitch.” Did I mention Fiona’s a fierce mama bear?

“I’m an American! Apple pie, lower 48, Air Supply!” We’re responsible for a lot of things, but Air Supply isn’t one of them.

“Surround sound bitching is the only thanks I get.” This is one I may have to use some day.

“I saw an outline once in a thunderstorm, but it was like a rolled up pair of socks.” Joan Cusack’s delivery of this silly line is amazing.

While Showtime’s Shameless continues to closely track the original, it is also finding its own voice, mostly due to the outstanding cast and the great use of Chicago. The writing is sharp and funny and doesn’t shy away from showing the ugliness.

After you’ve watched Shameless tonight on Showtime at 10pm eastern/9pm central, I hope you’ll come back and post what you thought. What were your favorite or least favorite moments?

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