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Shameless U.S. – Season One – Episode Four: “Casey Casden”

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Written by : published Tuesday 19th July 2011

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Watch Shameless (US) at: http://www.thetvking.com/tvshows/18427/shameless-us/

 

It was disappointing to find that the writers of Shameless U.S. had chosen to rehash the plot of an old UK episode again this week. The series took a huge, progressive leap forward with the surprisingly original Aunt Ginger, and although Casey Casden was still highly watchable, this near-exact recreation of the original UK episode stirred up an unwanted feeling of déjà vu.

 

The episode found the Gallagher clan in a state of panic. Feeling depressed and lonely over the departure of Aunt Ginger in episode three, Debbie (Emma Kenney) had wandered the neighbourhood in search of some kind of fulfilment. Coming across the birthday party of a young boy, and using a bar of chocolate as bait, Debbie lured the Superman-clad toddler back to the Gallagher residence where her abduction of the child was discovered by a startled Fiona (Emmy Rossum) and Steve (Justin Chatwin).

 

Elsewhere, Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins), as with the original storyline, began to make her move on Frank (William H. Macy), Sheila (Joan Cusack) oblivious to her daughter’s seducing ways. We got the licking and sucking of the spoon, the infamous bath scene, and Frank’s guilty flashbacks.

 

We’re at a point now where having warmed to the new American Gallagher clan, it is still interesting to watch things unfold, even if we Brits know what’s about to happen, and to the credit of the writers, the U.S. version does strive to throw in a few new elements to keep the plots fresh. Debbie’s reasoning for taking the child was intertwined with last week’s Aunt Ginger which worked excellently and Eddie’s return to the Jackson household was surprising. This new dynamic at the Jackson’s threw up some very funny scenes between Frank and Eddie (Joel Murray) as he advised Frank on how best to deal with Sheila’s dominatrix fetish.

 

Steve Howey was much better in his role as Kev this week, playing the dumb lug funnier and heartier than in previous episodes. His character arch began to gather pace after rejecting the advances of two drunken girls at the bar he tends. Seeing that the pair weren’t going to take “no” for an answer, Kev used the “I’m engaged” line to discourage them. Frank, overhearing this, announced Kev’s engagement to the entire bar, culminating in a massive piss-up to celebrate. With no choice in the matter, and knowing Veronica (Shanola Hampton) would hear about the impromptu engagement party eventually, Kev did right by her and proposed.

 

And then came the twist: Kev is already married.

Again, this scenario is familiar to UK audiences, but how it will play out in the U.S. version remains a mystery; the writers may hopefully venture down a different track with the storyline - fingers crossed. No matter what happens, we can be sure that things between feisty Veronica and Kev are about to get bumpy and amusing. For Kev’s sake, let’s hope it was a Vegas wedding.

 

Emma Kenney shone once again as Debbie Gallagher. After considerable screen time last week, Casey Casden again strove to exhibit this talented youngster’s acting abilities. Her scenes towards the end of the episode in the police station were great - energetic and typical of a youngster revelling in their own, personal spotlight.

 

Police officer Tony (Tyler Jacob Moore), while patrolling the Back of the Yards neighbourhood in search of the missing child, enjoyed a number of very funny exchanges with his partner. The audience got to know Tony a little better over the course of the episode and his blind loyalty to Fiona was exposed further. It’s easy to feel sorry for this love-struck chap as he tries to attain Fiona’s affections. We know that Fiona is a good, selfless person who puts herself second in everything she does, but her treatment of Tony threatens to tarnish her likability.

 

Another good episode for the series, Casey Casden was still somewhat of a letdown for a show which seemed to be finding its own feet last week. Despite some inclusions of their own, the writers are enjoying quite an easy task in bringing Shameless to American screens, recycling the original scripts with minor changes. I’m sure many would agree that last week’s venture into unchartered waters proved that the series can shine with its own storylines, so why the relapse? With a strong cast and a distinctive visual style, Shameless still stands out and is a weekly highlight, but UK viewers need something new if they’re to continue watching.

 

6/10

About the author JakeCunliffe125

JakeCunliffe125

I am a first year Journalism student studying at Huddersfield University. So far so good.

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