'Shameless' Season 10 Episode 1 review: The new era of Gallaghers tries to overcompensate for the absence of Fiona
Fiona was somehow the binding force of the Gallaghers — taking care of her five siblings since the age of nine, and now, with her out of the picture, money might not be an issue but keeping the dynamics just as tightly woven, definitely is
This article contains spoilers for Season 10 Episode 1 'We Few, We Lucky Few, We Band of Gallaghers!'
It's hard to imagine the world of 'Shameless' Southside hoodrats without their charismatic former matriarch Fiona and the Gallaghers aren't the only ones basking in the afterglow of her abrupt exit from their lives.
Season 10 of the Showtime dramedy tries to establish itself as a credible story where the lives of the five Gallagher siblings intertwine and come together through the oddest and at times, the most outrageously degenerate means.
But in all of that messy perfection, it aims at upholding trying too hard — for the lack of a better term — or at least the premiere episode seems to be.
Fiona was somehow the binding force of the Gallaghers — taking care of her five siblings since the age of nine, and now, with her out of the picture, money might not be an issue but keeping the dynamics just as tightly woven, definitely is.
Entertaining as it might be, the debut episode of Season 10 seems to overcompensate for the lack of Fiona by making the individual plots soar farther than needed. But of course — it is the essence of family coming together in the end that matters above all.
For starters, right from the title sequence, there's a major shift in focus where Fiona is replaced by younger sister Debbie in all spheres.
Gone are the days of little Debbie wrapping a baby Liam in toilet paper even though they have been flourishing teens for quite a while now. It's Debbie peeing on the toilet and Liam wrapping her daughter, Franny now, officiating that the Fiona era is long gone. Debbie is here to reign and she is not messing around!
Yes, she is still a welder managing the household like a pro, all because of her extreme money-minded cautious nature, and repeated reminders that she is "not Fiona", meaning she isn't here to pick up after the messy lot.
Funny how in all her rigorous attempts to not be Fiona, she ends up dressing like her, snarking like her, and even wearing her hair like Fiona. Remember the early days of 'Shameless' when Fiona had the time to work three jobs and dress up for posh night outs over the weekends?
That's Debbie now, but with one job and a spotless tactic of loaning designer outfits and accessories, and returning them back just on time the way her big sister did.
The only difference is Debbie's special storage unit rental which is a striking contrast from the Gallagher house. Of course, it's pink and fabulous with Victoria's Secrets and Chanels lying around albeit with their price tags intact.
Her brothers, on the other hand, are mostly busy having sex for now. Lip's girlfriend Tammy is heavily pregnant and for some reason sickeningly sweats — which also worries him.
Carl is busy graduating from military school, and jumping straight into a sex marathon with his girlfriend Kelly before she has to head back to summer school.
While Lip battles the crisis of Tammy going into early labour and hemorrhaging after giving birth to their baby boy, Carl's biggest crisis is a condom rip, and later, getting extremely sore from all the sex Kelly insists on having.
Poor Liam, meanwhile, is still on the quest of indulging in his African American origins with Veronica next door acting as his Mr. Miyagi in the process.
He wears his afro in full bloom and cooks only home-cooked meals prepared by V, but only the ones resonating with what people of color taken in as "slaves" would eat. Liam even dresses with iconic black figures of history and ends up getting beaten up by the kids at school.
Speaking of reclaiming identities, Kev suffers a major blow to his masculinity as a result of a basketball practice gone not so pleasant. When not looking for Kobes and Jordans online as he firmly believes his deteriorating game skills are due to faulty shoes and not old age, he consumes the most morbid looking protein shakes.
He also indulges in some serious stripping to earn the money for shoes that V is not willing to let him splurge on. It's obvious, in the new era of 'Shameless', outrageous is the new normal and that seems fitting because Fiona isn't really here to keep them grounded.
That brings us to the most usually out of hand Gallagher ever — Frank. Pretending to still need excessive dosages of painkillers, Frank sulks most of the time because of the new money-saving policies and constraints Debbie has imposed on them.
Conning senior citizens at drug stores for free painkillers, reuniting with his old friend Mikey in the process, stealing expensive cushions from hotel lobbies, and eventually bringing Mikey home as a roommate — Frank is somehow the most toned-down Gallagher this season.
But that might be because we have seen him do so much worse. The only Gallagher missing from the picture is Ian, right now, but we know he is serving time while the rest of the Gallaghers are getting so down and so dirty trying to make up for the gaping void left by their eldest sibling.
'Shameless' Season 10 premiered on Sunday, November 10 at 9 pm only on Showtime.