Just as I anticipated, Sunday's season 4 premiere of Shameless titled "Simple Pleasures" served mainly to enable my obsession with V and Kevin (Shanola Hampton and Steve Howey). The couple, who already had their hands full--and wallets depleted--with the impending birth of their first child through V's mother Carol (Vanessa Bell Calloway), have learned that V is now pregnant, despite being told she couldn't conceive.
*Insert uncontrollably happy face here*
So what now? How are they going to tell Carol? What's going to be her reaction? These are some of the questions the two are pondering in this first episode, along with whether Carol should have an abortion. The latter will certainly inspire a ton of online think pieces. (I can only assume that V's new development has something to do with Hampton being pregnant in real life).
This new episode promises a lot of character progression as the characters move on to the next stages of their lives, learning that moving forward brings its own set of obstacles as well. Next door, the Gallaghers are coasting along relatively drama free: Fiona (Emmy Rossum) has discovered the great benefits of having a good job in choosing her own 401K plan and canoodling with an in-office love interest, Lip (Jeremy AllenWhite) is in college, and Sheila (Joan Cusack) has finally worked through her phobia enough to leave her home--to become the Gallaghers' glorified housekeeper. That makes little things like Ian (Cameron Monaghan) going AWOL, his toxic lover Mickey (Noel Fisher) running a virtual whorehouse, Debbie's anxiety to grow up too soon, and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) acting as his drunk and estranged father Frank's (William H. Macy) live-in nurse seem petty in the grand scheme of things. Oh, Frank is apparently suffering from some alcohol-related disease, so now he must resort to creative ways to consume liquor. *cue the violins*
These storylines are gearing up to reach a boiling point probably sooner than later as the season gets under way. Of all them, I am most curious to find out more about Mickey's new pimp role and how Ian will react once he gets back from whichever hole he crawled into. I can only hope he's found a new gentleman caller by all this time, even though Mickey secretly and aggressively pines for him. But with the return of Frank, even the seemingly more pleasurable moments will more than likely become unbearable for the clan and more dysfunction will ensue.
While all that is going down, Monica is wreaking havoc as a head honcho who constantly tries to one-up Marty's endeavors, and intimidating her lowly workers by verbally abusing them. To top off all the crazy, Marty and Jeannie (Kristen Bell), who for all intensive purposes is doing pretty well on her own, have a long -awaited reunion that reminds Marty of how much he needs and misses her--both professionally and maybe kinda sorta personally as well. The end of the episode hints that the two may join forces once again but only on Jeannie's terms, which means no sexcapades (we'll see how long that lasts).
Most of the episode is set either outside with Marty or at the office with the fellas, but we finally get to catch up with Marty's family at home--his son Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.) and dad Jeremiah (Glynn Turman). Roscoe announces that he is joining the basketball team at school (a far cry from when he wanted to play Rizzo from Grease in an earlier season).
Looks like this season will continue to dive into the cutthroat business of corporate hustling, building up to a possible catfight between Jeannie and Monica (a long time coming). Cheadle absorbs most of what is great about the show with charismatic gusto, while Bell holds down the virtuous fort as his no-nonsense counterpart. This will be quite a ride.
Watch Shameless and House of Lies Sundays beginning at 9pm on Showtime.