Shameless (US): Aunt Ginger   Rewatch 
June 21, 2014 5:15 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

The Gallaghers need to produce “Aunt Ginger” in person at their house within 24 hours after a Social Security fraud investigator stops by, looking for her. There’s just one problem…

Frank reveals to the family that his Aunt Ginger has been dead for 12 years. This character makes her only appearance in the series in a flashback, dying while snorting cocaine with her nephew.

When the gang eventually comes up with an adequate fake “Ginger” to present to the federal investigator, Debbie becomes close with her, and is heartbroken when Ginger has to be returned to her nursing home. Frank’s fraud has indirectly hurt his daughter.

The episode opens with Fiona and Tony having sex in his police car. Afterwards, Tony awkwardly dwells on the fact that this was his “first time,” giving her too much information about how far he had gotten in his previous relationships. The suspense is on about whether Fiona will choose Tony, who seems upstanding but naive, or Steve, who openly admits to “stalking” her. The last scene of the episode suggests the answer.

This episode is the debut of Mandy and her criminal brother, Mickey. After Mandy falsely tells Mickey that Ian “messed with” her, Mickey starts to track down Ian, but instead beats up Lip. Ian actually pushed Mandy away when she tried to have sex with him in his living room. Ian, who’s been in the closet except to Lip, finally tells Mandy, “I’m gay.” And he proves it to her. They agree to become fake girlfriend and boyfriend.

Other firsts in this episode: The first time we see Lip and Karen hanging out with no pretense of science tutoring. The first time we see what happens when Sheila tries to leave her house. We find out how Lip has been making money for the family: by pretending to be other students taking standardized tests. The bat “for killing” is introduced.

Now that Frank is living with Sheila, he’s become more fatherly toward Karen than he is with his own children. When Lip stops by to see Karen, Frank asks him: “What are your intentions?”

The relationship between Ian and Kash starts to carry more emotional weight, as we see them having a heart-to-heart conversation.

One of my favorite moments: Kevin is at the Gallaghers’ having breakfast and makes a wisecrack about Frank. Frank comes back: “You live here now?” Kevin has a one-word answer: “Toaster” (pointing to his own toaster, which he has gone to the Gallaghers’ house to use since Carl took it to melt action figures).

In perhaps the only straight-up “sitcom” moment in the episode of this dramedy, Lip is heading out the door while Frank is having breakfast alone at the table; Frank declares that it’s important for families to share meals together, so Lip pops back in to take a big bite of Frank’s breakfast and then leaves.

Foreshadowing: Ian is lying in bed, resting his legs on Mandy’s, and then the camera cuts to Lip intently gazing at them (presumably at Mandy).

(Shameless Wiki.)
posted by John Cohen (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Question: At the end of the scene where Fiona tells Frank about Ginger and the Social Security investigation, there’s an older, bearded man sitting at the bar who’s so brightly lit that it seems to be a (pointless) special effect. Wasn’t he seen crossing the street in the previous episode? Is he a recurring cameo, or is he supposed to represent God or an angel?
posted by John Cohen at 6:14 PM on June 21, 2014

Ian and Mickey forever.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:21 PM on June 21, 2014

The relationship between Aunt Ginger and Debbie was super-sweet and made me cry.

It was interesting to me that the senile Aunt Ginger made reference to Ricky Ricardo, because I was just watching the last season of "Getting On" (the HBO show set in a geriatrics ward) and in one of the episodes there was a senile old woman and her dying daughter who would sometimes communicate by just saying "Lucy" and "Ricky" back and forth (with neither character needing to be the Lucy or the Ricky).

It's touching to think of what might be the last shreds of memory in a deteriorating mind, and it's interesting that a TV show imagines such things in terms of TV.
posted by Alizaria at 4:15 PM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Reaching the third episode, watching it with my husband, I said out loud "Everyone is stunted."

The next day, we were talking about the show and he said "I think you got it right when you said 'Everyone is stunted.'"

It's especially telling that the males are more stunted than the females. There's an awful lot of female domination of males -- including in graphic sex. I'm not sure what to make of that.
posted by Alizaria at 4:19 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's especially telling that the males are more stunted than the females.

Not necessarily: Sheila is incapable of leaving the house. And Lip is supposed to be super-smart. But it's an interesting theory that the theme of the show is people being "stunted."

There's an awful lot of female domination of males -- including in graphic sex. I'm not sure what to make of that.

I think a lot of what's going on there is: (a) It's a sexually explicit show. (b) If you're going to show a lot of sex, it can't be standard vanilla sex all the time — there has to be something interesting about it. Domination is one way to do that. (c) They probably prefer to show women dominating men, since it defies expectations, which is more likely to be funny and interesting; also, more viewers would object to seeing a man dominating a woman. In the previous episode, the implication is that Sheila sexually assaults Frank, and it's played for laughs — even on the uncensored Showtime, they wouldn't have gotten away with that kind of thing if the genders had been reversed.
posted by John Cohen at 5:10 PM on January 25, 2015

"Not necessarily: Sheila is incapable of leaving the house."

But Sheila is less stunted than the 2 males I'm seeing her relate to. They had to be made smaller than her to fit the pattern and they were. She has 2 men who are hanging around a woman who anally rapes them!
posted by Alizaria at 7:57 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

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