Home > More 4, review, Shameless US > Review – Shameless U.S. Series 1 Episode 4 Casey Casden

Review – Shameless U.S. Series 1 Episode 4 Casey Casden

Episode 4 of Shameless U.S. Casey Casden is the most accomplished episode to date.

Youngest Gallagher daughter, Debbie, decides to steal a baby boy from a party, take him home, and dress him up as a girl.  Meanwhile, the whole town is on red alert looking for the missing child.  This makes it hugely difficult for Fiona and Steve to return the baby, when they find out he’s in their house, through fear that social services will get involved to investigate Debbie’s calculated abduction of a child using a pushchair and a Snickers bar.

This episode is another example of brilliant writing that has a universal appeal both sides of the Atlantic.  Whilst the U.K. Shameless epitomizes that raw gritty side of contemporary British culture, this episode stands up as proof that its basic concept is good enough to transcend across cultures without loosing the humour and sense of family unity that has always been at the heart of the programme.

Of course, the semblance of the show is completely different, the tiny council houses of Chatsworth are replaced by the rather more spacious town houses of Chicago, the working men’s club is replaced by a standard American bar, and Fiona’s tracky bottoms and hooped ear-rings are replaced by dark jeans and long sleeved t-shirts.  Whilst the features of the U.K. programme are perhaps considered by some to be a crucial and inherent part of Shameless, if you were to take a British working men’s club to the corner of a street in Chicago American audiences would be sure to be put off by the lack of realism.  Therefore, the visual elements familiar to British audiences are lost in the transition from U.K. to U.S. but it is because the environment needs to be familiar to an American audience and aesthetically reflect its very different working class culture so that U.S. audiences can to relate to it.

For any British viewer open minded enough to accept that the overall texture of Shameless U.S. will be different by default, then I’d recommend this episode to anyone wanting some humorous light hearted viewing as it works on its own merits.

But if my recommendation is not enough to persuade you perhaps the appeal of the illustrious Joan Cusack will.  Cusack is a gem to watch and is brilliantly cast as Sheila, the agoraphobic, OCD, homemaker, and dominatrix.  In this episode Sheila has taken three times as many pills than she should, and you get to see her even more loopy than usual.  Cusack’s performance provides a really rich dynamic in the series that would be hard to substitute very effectively.

We also get to see the start of the story that I said I felt deserved some air-time in my last review: the marriage of Kev and Veronica.  The revelation that Kev is already married is used cleverly as a cliff-hanger at the end of this episode.  It seems Shameless U.S. is happy to pad out and expand upon story-lines from  U.K. Shameless and so far has done this very well.

As a British viewer the first few episodes would have failed to grab my attention to return to the show, however, I genuinely enjoyed this episode and as a result would approach the show with higher expectations of what amusing predicament the Gallaghers will be getting themselves into next.

Categories: More 4, review, Shameless US
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