Shameless 4.01 “Simple Pleasures” Recap

by Shilo Adams / January 12, 2014

shamelessFiona and Debbie get ready one weekend morning, with the former on the hunt for a Bears jersey for the game Mike is taking her to later. However, Carl only has a Fuck Jay Cutler shirt and Fiona’s attention gets diverted to Debbie having stolen a pair of her shoes and holing herself up in the bathroom. While Fiona is calling Lip’s old room off-limits due to him still promising to come home from school for holidays and summer, Carl pees off the balcony and in front of the neighbors, even after his sister tells him to use the downstairs bathroom instead. They all make it downstairs and as Debbie gets especially lippy and hormonal with Fiona, Sheila drops by with dip, ready to get to work cleaning the house. Although it’s strange that she’s still hanging around the house, Fiona chalks it up to her being lonely without Karen and accepts the clean laundry that comes from her visits.

Over at Kev and V’s, Carol has come around asking for an additional $300 for prenatal stuff and maternity wear. Kev is a bit apprehensive about continuing to give her money without seeing where exactly it goes, but Veronica is bound and determined to get a healthy baby after the hell she put herself through to get it conceived, so she reminds her mother to stay away from hot dogs, sprouts, and cheese. After Carol, who has no health insurance, leaves, Fiona comes over to borrow a jersey and informs Kev and V of Jimmy not contacting her and of her anxiety from not having sex with Mike. They’ve fooled around, but she knows that he’s put in quite a bit of effort and that she should “reward” him by going all the way, a contrast to her high school reputation for being easy and blowing guys in the Wendy’s drive thru.

While a drug den gets raided across town, a den that Frank has been staying at and shooting up in for the past week, Debbie takes Liam over to Mandy’s looking for information on Ian’s whereabouts; Mandy doesn’t have any, though, and shuts the door in her face. Mickey learns why Debbie was at the door and asks about Ian himself, causing Mandy to try and bait him into admitting that he’s concerned about where Ian is. Mickey has been the head of a robbery ring that focuses on jacking mailboxes due to Sasha not making much from her job at the massage parlor – $220 for 17 happy endings. Elsewhere, Lip is attending Chicago Polytech and has a roommate named Ron who works with computers. Ron’s girlfriend, though, gets noticeably uncomfortable when Lip comes into the room, discouraging him from joining their 3:00 study group and quickly leaving the room when Lip takes his shoes off. Once they’re both gone, Lip steals a beer from Ron’s fridge, cranks his music, lights a joint, and begins studying for one of his classes.

Mike comes over to pick Fiona up for the game with his car decked out in Bears paraphernalia. While the two take Sheila’s dip to the game, not knowing that Carl already tried it and spit it back out into the bowl, Debbie is hanging out with her friends Holly and Ellie, the latter being 13 years old and pregnant. Holly and Debbie are selling their virginities online, with Holly’s being up to $725 and Debbie’s minimum bid being $1 million, and the trio decide to get done up to go to the arcade to flirt with high school guys. Just as Tony comes by the Gallagher’s with an unconscious Frank on his shoulder, Fiona meets with Mike’s family for the first time and seemingly fits right in, his sister trying to tell her a story about where he got an embarrassing nickname and Tony hoisting her up for a game of piggyback football.

Carl goes and gets Sheila and the two move Frank into the bathroom using a blanket and a skateboard, only to find out that three baths and nearly all the Gallagher’s soap isn’t enough to get him clean or even fully conscious. Meanwhile, Holly spots two high school guys she wants to flirt with at a shooting game. Rather than going right up to them, she and Debbie go to the Dance Dance Revolution machine and draw their attention, which ends up working as the boys come over to join them and talk. Debbie gets shy once “her guy” Matt gets around her, though, a far cry from how comfortable Holly is around Eddie. It turns out that Lip has a work study in the school’s cafeteria, something that goes about as well as expected thanks to the messy, inconsiderate people who also go to Chicago Polytech. Following a particularly daunting shift, he goes in the back to share a cigarette with a friend of his while blowing off steam. Lip invites him to come hang out sometime, but he declines and has to get back to work.

Fiona returns from the game to find Frank out cold and tells Carl to call Kev so they can dump him on a park bench and be done with it. Carl does convince her to let Frank stay, though, just as long as he’s the one to take care of him and nobody shamelesselse has to worry about it. Debbie and Holly take their guys to the bowling alley and while Holly gets extra comfortable with Eddie, Debbie and Matt have an awkward conversation where he compliments her dancing, asks if Liam is hers, and offers to drive her home. That night, Lip’s roommate gets a blow job while he’s in the room and obviously not asleep, while Fiona sexts with Mike and Debbie texts with Matt about the kind of music they like.

The following morning, Frank notices that Carl had a wet dream the previous night thanks to a wet spot on his sweatpants. He encourages his son to masturbate more frequently during the day and tells him about his lack of alcohol, trying to get Carl to bring him a drink despite the fact that his throat bleeds whenever he tastes alcohol now. Over at Kev’s, he wakes up horny and tries to have some morning sex with V, only for her to get sick to her stomach and throw up in the bathroom. When she sends him to get some tea, she takes a pregnancy test that confirms that she is indeed with child. The Gallagher’s, meanwhile, are getting used to orange juice with pulp in it and being able to buy their own lunch; Carl, though, is in charge of changing Frank’s pee/poop bucket when he gets home from school, since Frank isn’t able to walk.

Kev goes to the bar where he serves Mickey a beer with an egg in it and gets asked about Ian’s whereabouts, which he knows nothing about. He then receives a call from the home that Stan is staying in, saying that he’s sick and that someone needs to come in to see him. When he makes it to the home, he finds out that Stan died the previous night and that they called him with the “sick” information to get him to come in, though they’ll help him find a proper mortuary. Elsewhere, Veronica goes to the doctor and receives confirmation that she’s definitively pregnant, a product of Mother Nature being especially fickle for couples who have trouble conceding. Fiona heads into work and learns that someone saw him and Mike at the Bears game together and uploaded a photo of them to Instagram. Since she’s been at Worldwide Cup for the past three months, her benefits have started to kick in and it’s time to start thinking about 401Ks, stocks, and bonds, all things that she never had to consider before and which overwhelm her greatly.

Lip receives a D on the paper he wrote after getting high and asks the obnoxious class TA how/why he received the grade that he did. The TA says that the paper was facile, glib, and had no originality and suggests that if this is all the effort Lip is going to bring to the course, which he only took on due to it being after noon, he should go ahead and drop. After Carl gets home from school, he goes up to Frank’s room and brings the cooking spray and funnel that he bought; the spray is for Frank to spray into his throat in hopes of getting to drink without the pain and Frank sends Carl on an alcohol run after informing the boy that he can’t stop drinking cold turkey due to the shakes he gets.

Debbie spots Matt while out one afternoon and does a quick makeover on herself, including a change into high heels, before she lets him see her. Meanwhile, Veronica tells Fiona about the pregnancy, the plan for Carol to have an abortion, and how she doesn’t want to tell Kev about her own pregnancy for a couple of months; Fiona counters with her insecurities about her sexual relationship with Mike, specifically how she worries about how work will be if they break up after consummating their relationship. While Lip throws away his paper in the middle of a flash mob, Mandy looks through pictures she took with him until her new boyfriend gets her attention and the two begin having sex, much to Mickey’s disgust. He then goes into the bathroom and finds a photo of Ian he keeps in an old gun magazine, places it on the mirror, and begins masturbating until he punches the mirror. Mickey leaves after putting the photo back.

Mike and Fiona end up having sex for the first time and share a glass of champagne before she has to go back home. Debbie returns home from her date with Matt, who delivers pizzas, at Panda Express and he tells her he likes her; she then kisses him on the side of the head and goes into the house, waving him off when she gets to the curb. Kev finds V watching the kids and the two exchange the news about Stan’s death and her pregnancy. He’s excited about having a biological baby with her, but the two still need to talk to Carol about what they’re going to do regarding the other baby.

Carl goes to masturbate in the bathroom and Frank attempts spraying his mouth with Pam and taking a drink of wine, which causes him to spit up blood while Liam watches. Fiona returns home later, sees her father passed out, and avoids talking to him for another night.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-“Tanisha’s not a midwife.” “No, but she’s had a shitload of babies.”
-“Ever burn your blood-soaked clothes in the yard?”
-“C’mon, let’s get slutty and head over to the arcade.”
-“We’re creeping up on the poverty line.”
-“Celebrate how? By having you sit on his face?”
-Let’s all take a moment of silence for how good Jake McDorman looked during and after Mike’s love scene with Emmy Rossum. Because oh my.
-Interesting way of integrating Sheila into the show now that she and Frank aren’t romantically connected and Karen and Jody are off in Arizona. The character has always felt a little extraneous, despite how great Joan Cusack is, and having her take over as Gallagher family caretaker was a fun touch that pushed her up against Frank again. Their dynamic may be one of the more complex on the show, but I think I’m more looking forward to having Debbie and Carl deal with an older mother figure for the first time, especially now that Debbie is dating.
-Speaking of, I think it speaks to the type of show Shameless is to where someone Matt’s age dating someone Debbie age is way down the list of uncomfortable relationships we’ve seen through three seasons. Even though there was a refreshing amount of innocence to their interaction with one another, especially when Debbie doesn’t know how to handle talking to him during their first moments together, it’s still a 12-year-old and someone who…isn’t 12. But does Matt know how old she is, is the question. Because when she’s not dolled up, Debbie definitely looks her age; is she going to have make her makeover permanent in order to keep him around?
-This was probably the best use of Frank that the show has had thus far, specifically due to the fact that it’s making him face the consequences of his actions. While he didn’t exactly walk off scot free for three seasons, he’s always been able to quickly bounce back from any setback, so for him to lose the cartoon-y edge he sometimes had while retaining the manipulative qualities he always possessed made his on-screen presence unnerving and more tonally in line with the rest of the series. Shameless would often negate the reprehensible stuff that Frank would do with how broad the comedy surrounding him was or how outlandish the situations he found himself were; now, though, things aren’t so funny and the show is 150% better for it.
-I wonder why Lip’s roommate’s girlfriend has such a disdain for him. I mean, he’s been there maybe a week and she’s doing everything she can to avoid him in the daytime and then disrespecting him at night by blowing her boyfriend with him a couple of feet away. I know Lip may not necessarily fit in at a collegiate setting, but c’mon. She needs to get a grip.
-Also awful: the TA. I figured the show would make college hard for Lip, either from the material itself or him finding out that the approach he took in high school won’t work here, but the TA was one of the more abrasive peripheral characters I’ve seen introduced on any show in quite a while. We make people jump through hoops and put themselves in tremendous debt in order to even get to college and once they’re there, we try to run them out the first chance we get? How is he supposed to know what the professor wants if he can’t get constructive feedback or someone who seems willing to help him? However, my empathy for Lip’s situation may stem from coming from a not great background myself and finding that not everyone was especially welcome to someone like me in higher education, so it may hit too close to home for me to be objective or able to detach myself from and dissect his storyline.
-I’m glad that they had V already tell Kev that she’s pregnant. I was about to be annoyed if we had 4-5 episodes of her trying to hide it from him, but I’m generally not a fan of plots like that on any show for any reason.
-Over/under on episodes before Holly gets pregnant this season: 6.
-As much as I love this show, I could have done without Carl spitting the dip out and Mike eating it later. I know that kind of humor is a part of the show’s DNA and how it wasn’t something out of character for Carl to do; there are just times where it feels as if Shameless deliberately tries to out gross itself.
-I’m very curious about how Mike acquired The Stick as a nickname. I assumed it was that he was a big kid who lost a lot of weight around the time he hit puberty, but there seems to be a lot more to the story.
-Although I know that we’re heading for Carol not wanting to give up her baby after finding out about V’s pregnancy, could there also be an Obamacare element to the story, since the show brought up that Carol didn’t have health insurance?
-Next week on Shameless: Fiona gets involved in a road rage incident, while Lip struggles with school and his love life.

Shilo Adams is a contributing editor for ScreenFad whose work has appeared on TVOvermind, TVHackr, and KSiteTV. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @shilo_adams.