This week’s funniest moment came at the very end of the week. The moment (or situation) comes from Showtime’s hit series Shameless and, befitting the network’s unique comedy/drama genre, was as depressing as it was funny. In the latest episode Frank, everybody’s favorites drunk played by William H. Macy, comes face to face with one of his biggest fears: his mother. Originally behind bars for a life sentence after her meth lab exploded, Nana Gallagher has been released early due to a medical issue. She tells Frank she has convinced the government she is dying but as the episode progresses, it becomes apparent she may actually be dying. Every interaction between Frank and his mother is hilarious. Though I have managed to narrow it down to a specific scene, the funniest moment of the week is anytime Frank and his mother share the screen.
When around his mother, Frank turns into more of a drunken child than normal. Constantly trying to ear the smallest speck of praise or respect from her, Frank’s mother spends her time insulting and demoralizing her son. This only pushed Frank to act more like a child. The look on Frank’s face when he first saw his mother was priceless but funnier yet was their ice cream break. Deciding that she didn’t like the flavor she chose, Frank’s mother forces him to trade. This throws Frank into what can only be described as a temper tantrum and ends with him pouting with his arms crossed. The combination of Frank and his mother created some of the funniest scenes of the week.
Beyond being funny, Frank’s interactions with his mother reveal a lot about his character. If Nana Gallagher’s treatment of her son at all reflects how she treated Frank as a child (which it does) then as a child, Frank was neglected, ignored and verbally abused. Frank’s own “parenting style” was obviously inherited from his mother. It does nothing to excuse the way Frank lives his life and treats his kids but it at least gives some reasons behind it and sets up one of my favorite scenes from Shameless. At the end of the episode, after a blowout with his mother, Frank is sitting on the front porch completely humiliated and dejected. Fiona, his daughter, comes out, wraps an arm around him and says “my parents suck too.” It was the perfect end to a great episode of Shameless.