The Gallagher family is really just a twisted adaptation of the 1950’s TV family like the Cleavers or the Andersons. In this new version it’s a world where the sweet housewife (sans husband) is an S & M agoraphobic, where “The Beaver” melts action figures with toasters and where Princess initiates sex on the first date.
In the third episode’s opening we, and the kids filing out of the elementary school, find Fiona relieving cop Tony of his virginity in his patrol car. Steve says she’s only doing it to get back at him, as he continues to try and get on her good side. Tony invites Fiona to his parents’ house for dinner, but she ends up seeing Steve instead.
The real problem is the news that Frank (who’s now living with Sheila) has been cashing the social security check of Aunt Ginger—who everyone thought had been in a Wisconsin nursing home since 1999 but actually died that year while snorting cocaine with Frank. When federal agents threaten to discover the fraud, the family abducts an old lady with Alzheimer’s to play the part: “I danced with Cab Calloway. He had the first colored penis I ever kissed.”
In an earlier episode we learned that Ian Gallagher is gay and is having an affair with the married owner of the convenience store where Ian works. When classmate Mandy is offended by his non-interest in her, she sics her big brothers on him. When they can’t get to Ian they put a bad beat-down on his older brother Lip. To prevent matters from getting worse Ian tells Mandy about his homosexuality, and she not only keeps his secret, but she becomes Ian’s pretend girlfriend to help protect him and because “It’ll keep the creepy guys away from me.”
It’s becoming clear that the true heart and soul of the Gallaghers is young Debbie who sees no fault in anyone. She’s especially crushed when “Aunt Ginger” is returned to the senior citizens home.
While watching their attempts at beating the system, it’ll be interesting to see how far audiences are willing to go with their tolerance of Frank whose behavior each week is more and more despicable, especially when it comes to his dereliction of fatherly duties. With another amazing performance from William Macy, however, the answer might just be “pretty darn far.”