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'Shameless' fan react: Highs and lows

Season 5 | Episode 10 | “South Side Rules” | Aired Mar 22, 2015

Throughout this season of Shameless, as Ian has come to terms with his bipolar disorder diagnosis, we’ve learned that the disease is a series of highs and lows. The same explanation could be used to describe the experience of watching Shameless, and in particular, Mickey and Ian’s relationship. “South Side Rules” epitomizes this idea with some of the most heartwarming moments we’ve seen all season (maybe ever?), followed by devastating revelations.

Ian and Mickey have been struggling to connect all season. Ian’s mental illness, and his refusal to acknowledge it, have put understandable strain on the couple. They are finally able to be together openly and honestly, but have found the road to be just as bumpy on this side of the closet door. Mickey has risen to the occasion and has been there for Ian through it all, but Ian hasn’t made it easy to support him. Despite Ian’s protestations, Mickey has—but for a momentary crisis of faith—remained steadfast in his commitment to taking care of him.

As enjoyable as it’s been to watch Mickey morph into a capable and loving partner, Ian hasn’t exactly appreciated the attentiveness. In fact, he’s got all this pent-up rage at his boyfriend for treating him like a patient instead of a partner. He doesn’t want to be handled by a nurse with kid gloves; he wants to be handled by his tough-guy boyfriend with tattooed knuckles. Ian knows just what to say to bring out the fighter in Mickey, so he picks a battle and gets the reaction he’s looking for. The two boys go at it, throwing punches and rolling around in the dirt. They finally relax, breathing deep and deeply satisfied. It may not be the most recommended method of communication, but it is their way and it works.

It only makes things sweeter that this major moment takes place at such an iconic “Gallavich” location, complete with shotgunned beers and pullups.

Photo credit: Showtime

Once the fight is over, Mickey backs off and allows Ian to drink the beer he wanted. They kiss and make up, and it feels like they are in sync for the first time in a long time. Drunk and elated, they return home, singing “Love is a Battlefield” (ain’t that the truth) loudly in the street. Ian suddenly realizes they’ve never been on an actual date, and decides they must rectify that immediately. They head inside to change so they can take each other out to a real sit-down dinner, when they are ambushed. Sammi has called the Army to come get Ian, who’s been on the run for going AWOL (among other things). Military police swarm in, grabbing Ian and fending off Mickey with guns.

The swing is severe. From the highest high to the lowest low.

Mickey and Ian aren’t the only couple to swing the pendulum from exhilarating to horrifying in “South Side Rules.” Debbie and Derek were so sweet a few episodes ago. When they first kissed, I leaped for joy. It felt, for a fleeting moment in time, that this relationship was exactly what Debbie needed; someone age-appropriate and legitimately into her. Even the idea of them having sex, as upsetting as it is, seemed at least better than the situation she had with Matty. Debbie even had Fiona take her to Planned Parenthood so she could behave like a responsible sexually active teenager. But then she had to get it into her head that getting pregnant was actually a desirable thing to do. She had to orchestrate a situation and blatantly lie to Derek to try to get pregnant on purpose. Now this adorable story with loads of potential is a total disaster. Absolutely nothing good can come of this except for Debbie getting supremely lucky, not getting pregnant, and coming to her senses before the next time they have sex. Chances of that happening on Shameless? Slim. All signs point to this low sinking even lower.

Photo credit: Showtime

Week after week, Shameless continues to balance these stunningly beautiful moments with scenes that make you feel like your heart is being ripped out and trampled on. It’s not so much the what as the how. Ian being apprehended by MPs is not entirely shocking, but to have it happen because Sammi tipped them off in an act of revenge is brutal. The notion that Debbie could get pregnant is also not impossible to believe as she and Derek become more serious. But to have it happen on purpose, to make it something Debbie intended to do, makes it much more difficult to swallow.

Shameless airs Sundays at 9/8C on Showtime.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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