Shameless (US): Frank the Plumber
March 26, 2015 3:48 PM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

In a pivotal episode, Frank becomes a gay-rights hero, Fiona and Jimmy both get new jobs, Fiona hits it off with her supervisor, Jimmy decides he wants to go to med school, and two love triangles reach new lows.

Frank interrupts a politician's speech by giving his own speech, taking a stand against the fact that he has to wait a year to get a domestic partnership with Christopher, when he and his wife got married after 3 weeks of dating, “and she turned out to be a bipolar drug addict who left me alone with 6 kids to raise.” Video of Frank's speech goes viral online. Frank is approached by the well-heeled Abraham Page, who wants to clean up Frank and present him to the world as “the missing piece of the puzzle” in the gay-rights movement — instead of “Joe the Plumber,” “Frank the Father.”

Christopher tries to convince his mom he isn’t gay, and Christopher wants to know if Frank is really gay. “I am whatever I need to be at the time I need to be it.” Later, Christopher's mother throws Frank out of Christopher's house.

Fiona starts a temp job at Worldwide Cups, where she calls former customers and tries to convince them to speak with a salesperson. Connie shows her what to do: “If they say this, you say this…” Connie scolds Fiona for not sticking to the script, even though her casual approach was effective at persuading a customer who was dissatisfied with the delivery man to give the company another try.

V starts speaking out against male circumcision, but Fiona says she and Kev have to circumcise their son (if they have one) so he’ll get head. Later, while Fiona is at work, V calls her and tells her to go to a website with closeup photos of botched circumcisions, which leads to Fiona being asked to see her new supervisor, Mike Pratt, in his office. When Fiona explains what kind of website she was looking at and why, Mike can’t think of anything to say that he won’t expose him to a lawsuit — although he seems curious about Fiona’s views on penises and fellatio. Mike was also more impressed than Connie with Fiona’s spontaneous deviation from the script. Fiona walks out of Mike's office trying to stifle her smile.

Mandy tells Lip to unfriend Karen on Facebook and get ready for his MIT interview. Lip doesn’t understand, since he never applied for MIT, but Mandy tells him he did — and also a lot of other colleges. When an MIT interviewer, Scott Walker (not the politician or the singer/songwriter), shows up at Lip’s house, Lip admits that his girlfriend plagiarized the application essay from a Nelson Mandela speech. Lip writes a new essay on the spot and lambastes the MIT faculty for doing nothing but "modifying algorithms."

Lip breaks things off with Karen. Karen calls Mandy to taunt her.

Mandy mentions to Ian that Mickey is going to marry “some whore he knocked up” — the Russian woman his dad forced him to have sex with at gunpoint in episode 6. Ian dares Mickey to beat him up, and he does. Ian staggers toward Mickey, saying: “You love me. And you’re gay. Just admit it. Just this once ...”

Debbie skips school to talk with Sheila, who seems depressed. Debbie: “All anyone does is copy off me, but no one wants to sit with me at lunch … Mean girls suck.” Sheila confesses: “My daughter is a mean girl. I don’t know how it happened.” Debbie tells Sheila to say she’s sorry to Karen — “If Monica said she was sorry and came back … I’d forgive her for everything, because she’s my mom.” Sheila apologizes to Karen for a lot of things, including dating her estranged husband.

Jimmy gets his first paycheck for his barista job, but his supervisor docked his pay for all the free coffee he gave to his “boyfriend,” Beto.

Beto tells Jimmy, “Men, we need time to walk, think. So walk, think.” He finally lets Jimmy go without following him.

Karen gets a text from Lip saying to meet him at the park, but while Karen is crossing the street, she gets hit by Mandy’s car.

Karen arrives at the emergency room, where Jimmy is telling his old classmate, Andy, that he’s thinking about becoming a doctor.
posted by John Cohen (5 comments total)
I think the writers might have been watching an episode of The Office called “Money” (season 4), where Michael Scott takes a job as a telemarketer and uses his salesperson charm to engage in spontaneous banter with the potential customers, only to be reprimanded by a supervisor telling him he needs to stick to the script. Connie does the same thing to Fiona in this episode.
posted by John Cohen at 8:34 PM on March 26, 2015

How could Lip possibly have acquired the knowledge that the MIT faculty does nothing but modify algorithms? We're supposed to accept him as some kind of superhero. I'm willing to assume he's very smart, but I don't see him doing the research that could put him in the position to have an opinion like that.

Funny that MIT guy's name was Scott Walker.
posted by Alizaria at 2:44 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree — I kind of hated that scene with Lip and Scott Walker. I assume they're trying to make Lip seem very intelligent and iconoclastic, but when he makes that kind of uninformed overstatement it doesn't make him seem very intelligent.
posted by John Cohen at 6:48 PM on March 27, 2015

We could say that the whole show exists in a super-reality where the characters have various powers, leading to crazy, cartoon exploits.

Frank has endless energy when he needs it and is able to speak compellingly -- despite drunkenness -- whenever it drives the plot. Fiona can control all her frustrations and anger and run the household like Mary Poppins when it's necessary to bind up our heartstrings. Etc. etc.
posted by Alizaria at 6:34 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

We could say that the whole show exists in a super-reality where the characters have various powers, leading to crazy, cartoon exploits.

I've sometimes thought some of the scenes on this show are so unrealistic that it's as if we're supposed to view them as fantasy. There's one scene in season 4 that really struck me that way, though I won't reveal it here since this isn't a "rewatch" thread.
posted by John Cohen at 5:28 PM on March 28, 2015

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