A few years back, I was the coach of my son’s baseball team. I saw the kids and their parents two or three times a week. There was one mom who I spoke to fairly frequently, because we had friends in common, so she was more than just a familiar face. We were fairly chatty. I felt like we were slightly more than acquaintances.
Cut to about 3 months after the baseball season ends, and I see this same mom at a Parent/Teacher meeting at my son’s elementary school. Though I dressed the exact same at the Parent/Teacher meeting, and acted the exact same way there as I had as the coach of the Little League team, this Mom had no idea who I was. None. She registered zero recognition of me. I had to reintroduce myself to a woman I had seen two dozen times only three months prior, and when I told her who I was, it clicked into place. “Oh my god!” she said. “I’m so sorry! I just didn’t recognize you in this setting.”
What does one call this phenomenon? Situational familiarity? I don’t know, but that’s exactly what happened with Chet Haze on Shameless. I know who Chet Haze is. I have seen his photos, his Instagrams, etc., and I have written about him on several occasions. And the thing is, on Shameless, he looks and behaves exactly like Chet Haze does in real life. He’s also been on the show off-and-on for the last two seasons, and yet it wasn’t until last night’s season finale of Shameless that it finally clicked into place for me: Oh My God, that’s Chet Haze!
Sierra’s baby daddy is Tom Hanks’ son! WHAT?
It’s also perhaps worth noting that Chez Haze — who had a lot of substance abuse problems — kicked his own real-life addiction after the birth of his own daughter, a real-life arc that echoes some of his storyline on Shameless.
As for last night’s season finale of Shameless? It was fine. (SPOILERS) It’s been an uneven season, but the finale tied up most of the storylines and teased next season’s developments. Debbie seems to be doing just fine despite missing three toes, but now she has to decide whether to let her baby’s father be a part of their life and accept child support in exchange for joint custody. Frank’s redemption arc ended exactly where we thought it would: back at square one. Frank’s gonna Frank. He’s basically the Bart Simpson on Shameless.
Fiona rid her apartment building of the squatters and made some in-roads in her relationship with hot Irish dude. Meanwhile, Carl escaped his wife and got on the bus in time to return to military school, and Ian? I don’t really know what to say about Ian. He’s taken his role as Gay Jesus very seriously, and though it appears he’ll spend a short stint in jail, he has started a movement, for whatever that is worth (it will probably dematerialize in the first episode back next year).
Lip, however, is the only character who seems to have really evolved this season. He managed to go the entire year without drinking, in spite of all the chaos and tragedy that surrounded him. He also smartly dumped Sierra, reckoning that he can’t have a relationship with someone else until he figures out his own issues. However, it also looks like he’s going to pick up a foster child, because a single, sober, strong-willed Lip isn’t attractive enough for the fans of this show. They have decided to pair him with an adorable daughter figure in an apparent effort to manufacture a tumblr meltdown.
Well done. Thanks for another season of strong, amazing characters, and mediocre storylines. We’ll see you next year, Shameless.