Shameless Season 4 Review “Simple Pleasures”

Episode 401

The Gallagher’s are creeping up on the poverty line on Shameless and, after three solid years of basically struggling to survive, they now have enough money to worry about themselves – whether that’s Fiona trying the whole middle class thing, Lip at college, Ian in the army or Carl making a last ditch effort to keep Frank alive despite his best efforts. In ‘Simple Pleasures, we see what was promised at the end of last season, and yet again this show seems to have found a way to keep itself fresh for another year of screw ups and shameless antics.

We shouldn’t be fooled by Fiona’s new, functional existence for one second, for example, as we just know that taking it slow with her boss and being bombarded with pension plans just isn’t her style. That’s the beauty of Shameless – we want so badly for the characters to succeed but are secretly hoping they don’t so that we can watch them struggle and strive forever. But even if we know deep down that this can’t last forever, it’s still amazing to see the family living a different kind of life for a little while.

And different doesn’t necessarily mean better, since the family seem to have grown so far apart in Fiona’s absence that they’re not even concerned about where Ian has run away to or that Debbie is making some bad life decisions of her own. Always the innocents amid a sea of sociopaths, Debbie and Carl are now hitting puberty and dealing with it in vastly different ways. While Carl is choosing to lean on the only male role model he currently has – Frank – Debbie is relying on inappropriate friends to teach her life’s important lessons.

As much as the episode wanted to compare her with Fiona, Debbie doesn’t have the responsibilities that Fiona most likely did at her age and that shows in the choices she’s making. With friends that think nothing of selling their virginities on the internet, I dread to think what lies in store for the sweetest and smartest Gallagher sibling. And though we didn’t actually see what Ian has been up to in this episode, Lip is experiencing a bit of culture shock over at the University of Chicago. Growing up how he did, Lip has always been the smartest one in the room and, now that he’s not, it’s only a matter of time before he rebels.

The Malkovich’s aren’t dealing much better with the absence of their respective beau’s, and Mickey had what was probably the saddest moment of the night. As hilarious and ridiculous as Shameless can often be, every time we visit that house the air feels like it’s being sucked out of the room. Their storyline has gone to some astonishingly dark places and, with Ian gone and Mickey making do with what his father has approved for him, it’s clear it’s gonna get worse before it gets better for those two. In terms of Lip and Mandy, however, I can’t force myself to root for them after last year’s drama, so I hope their romance isn’t set for a reprise.

The least surprising revelation was Frank’s inability to get sober, but I have to admit I was fooled enough by last year’s sentimental finale to think that he might clean up his act at least for Carl’s sake. He hasn’t of course, but the bad state of his health promises an ultimatum is coming up fast. Not able to actually drink alcohol anymore, he’s instead taken to putting it up the other end. How long can that last before even more health problems come his way? Nothing but certain death will make him change his ways (and probably not even that) and the promo for upcoming episodes shows him up to his old tricks while bidding for a new liver.

What did you think of the episode? Are you excited to see two Veronica/Kev babies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.