Watching Shameless is a little like watching modern dance. There’s a lot going on and it all seems to be moving in several directions. But in the end it comes together quite nicely. Whereas the first episode gave more attention to Fiona (Emmy Rossum), this one gave William Macy’s role as the reluctant patriarch Frank Gallagher a lot more room to share his total dysfunction. It’s wonderful to behold.
After Eddie (Joel Murray) head butts Frank and breaks his nose for allowing his sons to take advantage of Eddie’s nympho daughter, Frank goes home and does the same thing to his son Ian (Cameron Monaghan). That causes bad blood between Fiona’s boyfriend Steve (Justin Chatwin) and Frank.
When Frank disappears the next day, Steve is surprised at how everyone—the family, the neighbors, the cops—is so worried about Frank. When Fiona discovers that Steve had taken a passed-out Frank across the border to Canada, leaving him on a park bench, she’s furious and makes Steve go and retrieve him, with some help from Kev (Steve Howey). But it’s not enough for Fiona to take Steve back, despite his valiant attempts at contrition.
Frank gets home only to argue with Fiona before leaving to wander the streets while talking to himself (like any respectable drunk would do).
“You’re all looking at me like I’m fucking up,” he yells out to no one in particular. “Which I am!”
But in spite of his complaints about supporting his six kids (something he doesn’t actually do since he spends every cent on booze), they refuse to give up on him. It’s a messed up dynamic with some dynamic performances.
When Frank gets to Kev’s bar, The Alibi, Frank runs into Eddie who, as a way of an apology, buys Frank his drinks and tells him how he’s left Sheila (Joan Cusack), information that Frank exploits by calling on Sheila who lets him take a hot bath. When he opens the bathroom door with nothing but a towel on, things heat up quickly. It’s obvious that the writers had a field day with the dialogue between these two, extremely talented, comedic actors.
Sheila: “Lean, aren’t you?”
Frank: “I can go three days without food.”
Sheila: “It suits you.”
Their lovemaking, however, leads to handcuffs and an industrial size sex toy. Afterward, Frank is prepared to leave the house until Sheila seduces him this time with a hot meal and a beer—oh, and a cushion for his rear end. Frank, of course, stays.