Shameless, ‘Like Father, Like Daughter’ review: Chilled Sparkling Wine

"I did not get a scholarship so that I could shovel hash brown into the mouths of entitled undergrads.”

After the close call of last week’s ‘My Oldest Daughter,’ Mike should have braced for the worst. He should have known that it’s always calm before the storm—and that Fiona thrives on chaos and madness.

But we can’t fault him, really. Even if Mike had expected and been waiting for the other shoe to drop, how could he have known that the shoe would drop, and then the pantyhose would get ripped, and then the dress would be pulled, and then—“Et tu, Robbie?” 

This week in ‘Like Father, Like Daughter,’ showrunner John Wells decides to peel the onion on his characters—not just Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy)—and “bam! Another layer.” Wells decides to reveal yet another side of each Gallagher to us viewers, though it’s not necessarily one that we didn’t know already.

First, we learn that Debbie Gallagher (played by Emma Kenney) is “not a 12-year-old girl.” No, Debbie is not 12, but she’s close enough at only 13. Does she wake up at her beau’s house with still her bra on, like older sister Fiona? You bet that she does, but you feel that this says a different thing. For Fiona, it means that the bra was probably just put back on, or that she and Mike just came back fromWendy’s (or both! HA!). If Debbie has her bra on, it means it’s probably never coming off.

That’s not clear right away, that Debbie will remain clothed, especially because she seems to want to convince herself that she doesn’t want to be, and most of all because Matt (played by James Allen McCune) is a “creepily-old-especially-for-a-13-year-old” 20-year-old. Under the great influence of the Three Love Musketeers, Debbie is intent on making Matt go cray. While that’s a noble cause, and even while positing that Matt may very well listen to “non-gangsta rap” Kanye West’s ‘Ni99as in Paris’ considering that Paris is the gourmet capital of this world, it turns out that Matt really just wants to go to culinary school.

But we digress. Where were we? Ah yes, Debbie Gallagher. The youngest of the Gallagher sisters may be just 13 years old, but we learn that this extra year, up from 12, makes all the difference in the world. It’s not just a weird rash, because “it’s mouth-shaped.” She’ll be something at 15, yep, especially with her two puppeteers.

The world of Shameless, it turns out, is one where you just might meet someone who knows how to play guitar when you mingle with Christians (or is that the other way around?). The world of Shameless is one where already in gestation, you know who you look like. You look like Kevin (played by Steve Howey), Veronica (played by Shanola Hampton), her cousin Troy or Marvin Gaye. (Yeah, probably the cousin Troy.) The world of Shameless is also one where nothing is free, anymore, not since you’re expecting triplets and another baby—you pay for booze, sure, but even piss and toilet paper. Just as well, poetry comes from different places in this world. You only need “one up, one down, one to polish.”

We then learn that Carl Gallagher (played by Ethan Cutkosky) is technically an uncle, but that it’s really just in name. Carl somehow still remains clueless to the old Gallagher magic of his old man, the one where his father asks him for money and then sends him on a caper.

That’s how Carl ends up committing perhaps the single worst thing in the history of this show—stealing that dog (and then that other one, and that other one too). Carl steals a dog, because he doesn’t know, or rather he doesn’t care that the dog owner brought that dog with him or her to the groceries, which is as obvious a sign as any that this dog sure means a lot to him or her. In short, Carl is still not someone you’d give money to, even if it were “so he could buy groceries after school.” Because that’s never gone awry in any way, ever.

We learn too, or rather Lip Gallagher (played by Jeremy Allen White) learns that wherever he goes, there he still is. (It’s like he’s in an episode of The Wire.) You may be in university now, but it still sucks and you still need to hustle at a dumb and silly job.

There’s something poetic to Lip scoring a 77 from that all-nighter, because that’s essentially what his roommate’s late-night fun with his girlfriend felt like—77 per cent, a B. We learn that even Lip can be homesick, especially when everyone in university calls him a coward for making so many excuses and that for once in his life he will actually need to decide whether school matters enough for him to start caring and, more importantly, put in the work that he’s never had to put in.

We learn that Frank is a very practical man who “allergic to injustice.” He believes that the end justifies the means—if he must lie to your face to get what he wants, or needs in this case, then he will lie to your face. And if he needs to say the truth and recognize that “that’s my grandson,” then he’ll do it. He’s as “tough as a two-dollar steak,” and one would think that if anyone in this Shameless world knows what a two-dollar steak tastes like, it’s Frank. (Because Frank sure isn’t tough like one. He’ll fold. He’s a cockroach, said Kev’ in the season 4 premiere ‘Simple Pleasures,’ and I think that’s a more accurate description.) To Frank, a two-dollar steak might as well be filet mignon, no?

We also learn that Mike (played by Jake McDorman) is one of those guys who need “to talk about this.” Mike needs to talk about this, and the identify of the “this” really doesn’t matter so long as he and Fiona talk about it. “Talking solves all (the) problems,” he says. You know what else does? Staying sober.

Because that’s where this review of ‘Like Father, Like Daughter’ should lead to—with Fiona and what happened on that kitchen table.

Finally, we learn that Fiona is an addict, not to the rush of life like the beau du jour Robbie (played by Nick Gehlfuss), but in this case to madness and chaos. Fiona didn’t compromise her relationship with Mike with just anyone, because that’s not what she wanted. That fling with the addict Robbie, who oh by the way is very much intent on having another hit very soon, is sure to create mayhem. Robbie is fearless and goes after the things, and people, that he wants. He lives in the now, because tomorrow is so far away. And he doesn’t need to talk about it, he’d much rather kiss you.

We also learn that Fiona is just like her father. They’re both addicts and this is a terrible sight. Because Debbie is growing up to be exactly like her older sister Fiona who, again, is exactly like her dad—which would mean that Debbie is slowly growing up to be like her father, who could be the person she hates the most. But there’s no need to bother young Debbie at that point. She’s spooning. And she has her bra on.