Shameless (US): Casey Casden   Rewatch 
June 24, 2014 7:08 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Debbie kidnaps a two-year-old boy.

And she learns how to lie, gleefully telling the authorities an elaborate fabrication so she doesn’t get prosecuted as a juvenile delinquent.

Kevin stumbles into an engagement with V, but eventually reveals why he’s not so happy about it: he’s still legally married, though he and his wife separated years ago.

Eddie moves back into his house, setting up his new bedroom in the basement and coexisting awkwardly with Sheila, Karen, and Frank. Karen starts acting seductively around Frank, which is inappropriate on many levels.

Debbie starts the episode by playing with a bag of potatoes in a stroller she took from the trash. Steve later rewards her for her cooperation in returning the kidnapped boy by giving her a baby doll in a toy stroller. The next morning, she wakes up complaining that her new baby, “Gin Gin” (named after Aunt Ginger), kept her up all night with diarrhea. This is a precursor to later episodes in which Debbie will be stressed out while taking care of real kids.

(Shameless Wiki.)
posted by John Cohen (3 comments total)
This is one of my favorite season one episodes. It's definitely the funniest one.
posted by katyggls at 7:27 AM on June 25, 2014

When I was first watching the series in order, I was actually starting to get tired of it by this episode. I felt that the show relied too much on a formula: in Episodes 2, 3, and 4, the main plotline is about a vulnerable person who's taken away from where s/he should be.
posted by John Cohen at 1:49 PM on June 25, 2014

You mention "a vulnerable person who's taken away from where s/he should be," but there's also Sheila, a vulnerable person who cannot get out of her safe place. A problem I have with the comedy around her is that she has a specific mental disorder, agoraphobia, so she represents a whole set of real people who have a sad problem. If she had her own individual set of characteristics, it would be easier to laugh at her. I don't think giving her a second disorder/stereotypical quirk (sexual sadism) helps me out of the problem of laughing at her. The big visual joke with all the muffins didn't work on me the way it should have... at least if it was supposed to be funny and not sad. I do like shows that confuse us with whether it's sad or comic, but I still have the problem with a character who has a specific mental disorder (as Ginger did in the previous show). When the vulnerability comes in the form of the character being a young child, that's different, because being a child isn't a disorder, and children are expected to grow out of their limitations, so we're only laughing at a human being's temporary disability, which, of course, reads as "cute." When I was a child, though, I was very uncomfortable with being laughed at by adults, though I now understand they were just delighted by cuteness. I never thought of myself as cute, and by the time you start to figure that sort of thing out, people are ready to say to you, "Don't get cute."
posted by Alizaria at 7:52 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

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