First of all, I gotta say that I am totally in love with the Pilot episode of 'Shameless'. Now I know it's based on a still-running UK show, which I've actually seen too, and the episode is almost a shot-by-shot remake of that first UK episode, but it is still fantastic.
The first thing I really gotta praise is the cast. William H. Macy is quite good as Frank, the drunken, lazy dad of the family, even though his screen time in this first ep is very limited. Justin Chatwin is appealing, although I don't quite like his character yet, and the youngsters are also very well cast. Jeremy Allen White (Lip), Cameron Monaghan (Ian), cute Emma Kenney (Debbie) and Ethan Cutkosky (Carl) are all great in their parts, although we don't see much at all of Ethan yet, but they really act like a family. The neighbors and friends Kev and Veronica, played by Steve Howey & Shanola Hampton, are also great and add some fun to it, especially feisty Shanola. But the real star of the show is definitely Emmy Rossum, who is just absolutely fantastic as Fiona. She is the head of the family, the one who keeps everything together, the tough but caring one. Her performance is raw and stunning, and just a pleasure to watch.
The family bond is just amazing to watch, they really seem like a real family.
And just to see a show, showing a real, middle-class family, who all need to work to get by, is also great. About damn time.
Story-wise it all gets sorta set up in this first episode, we find out Ian is gay, Lip meets Karen Jackson, who just happens to give him a bj while studying, and her mother Sheila Jackson, played by Joan Cusack in a fantastic and Emmy-nominated performance.
He takes his brother Ian to her, so he sort of gets turned around, or to see if he is really gay, which turns out he is. Karen's father caughts her in the act, so to speak, and freaks out. He then moves out.
We later find out (through Lip) that Ian has an affair with a married muslim Kash, who we works for in his store.
Fiona meets Steve, a mysterious but charming guy, she kind of falls for, although she tries everything not to.
There is a lot of back and forth in this ep already between them, which I personally didn't like.
Frank is just a screw-up in this episode, which already tells us all about him.
All in all is to say that I can't wait to watch the rest of the first season, if he gets better than this episode, it will be more than awesome!!!
Can't wait to see more...