shamelessThe greatest thing about Shameless is that the first three minutes of the show are edgier than anything else on television right now. Instead of the typical “Last time on…” Shameless sasses its viewers for not being around last week, and after a review of the clips it plays the theme song. Now, if you didn’t know anything about the show, all you would have to do is watch the title sequence because it beautifully embodies each character – from Frank passed out on the floor to Fiona and (presumably) Jimmy getting busy on the sink. The song – “The Luck you Got” by the High Strung – is the perfect accompaniment to a series based on a family who can’t catch a break. What’s the title sequence equivalent of having a crush? Because I have that.

Season four has been a bit of a slow burn. There’s been a throwaway mention of Jimmy/Steve but no actual scene that mentions his death. I guess the creators are either assuming their audience: is up to date enough on their interviews and know they have already confirmed his death, is smart enough to realise that when people disappoint a drug lord and walk onto his boat they don’t typically walk off, or (and I hope this is the case) they are waiting to spin his death back in someway that will torture Fiona more than they already have. Wow, I realise that seems as though I enjoy seeing Fiona in pain but really I just enjoy seeing Emmy Rossum crush it every time she’s thrown a curveball. Seriously where’s Emmy’s Emmy?

Also glaringly absent in this season is Ian’s dignity. Maybe the Gallagher’s should consider putting an Amber Alert out for it? But thankfully, “A Jailbird, Invalid, Martyr, Cutter, Retard, and Parasitic Twin” – which you’re correct, is the longest, strangest episode title this show has – marks the return of the Mickey/Ian dynamic. Perhaps not the one true pairing everyone roots for, but any episode that has Mickey baffled at the ignorance and stupidity around him is a good one. While Noel Fisher is given the greatest lines, always, his best one of the episodes had to be when he commented on Mandy’s work attire, “What the f— does a squirrel have to do with waffles anyway?” I am hoping that since Ian ended up passed out in Mickey’s bed, Mickey can soon convince him to start passing out in his own bed back at the Gallagher residence.

Now I am going to make a statement, and please wait until I finish my argument before you imagine that I’ve spent too much time at the Alibi Room: Shameless is an educational show. Obviously it’s no Sesame Street but for every bad example it promotes, it cuts it down shortly thereafter. Think about it – become an alcoholic and drug addict, you will lose everything except for your will to live because irony is funny; you cheat on your boyfriend with his brother and you will spiral until you end up in jail; you cut yourself when your boyfriend breaks up with you and you will quickly find out that it hurts. Seriously it even has less dramatic and more applicable life lessons like if you aren’t nice to people, they won’t help you when you get robbed or if you hand in your paper late in university you will be docked a letter grade each day. These are real lessons and I will argue this point until someone believes me when I say, “I’m doing homework” when I’m actually watching TV, because TV is educational, see?

While the first few episodes of season four were lackluster because apparently the Gallagher’s aren’t as entertaining when they’re, “Creeping up on the poverty line,” the last couple have been great. The beginning of episode seven showed the Gallaghers sticking together like never before, even if it was at the expense of their new older sister. It’s given every character other than Fiona something to do. Sure it’s given Fiona the biggest arc thus far, but it has made Lip step-up as the adult of the house (that fight with Fiona screams responsible adult) and given Carl a story line that doesn’t revolve around his father. Plus Debbie’s getting some solid material to work with, and Liam isn’t just the baby in the corner anymore. If by some miracle Frank could get a liver and then waste it all over again, even he’d have a good story line. Unfortunately now we’re stuck with him criticizing drinking Tumblrs, and shooting up in the bathroom. But hey, at least we’ll soon get to see Kev and V with four, count ‘em three, babies at the bar. They’ll be regulars in no time.