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Aunt Ginger is the third episode of the first season of the US version of Shameless. It originally aired on January 23, 2011.


Ian is targeted by the brothers of a girl he spurned; Fiona turns her attention to Tony, but Steve isn't willing to give up without a fight; the whole family searches for their elderly Aunt Ginger, who owns the family house.


While working at the Kash and Grab, Ian gets a surprise visit from Mandy Milkovich, the neighborhood bad girl. Mandy has a crush on Ian and tries to flirt with him, though Ian does not reciprocate. After following Ian home, Mandy tries to initiate a sexual encounter, but Ian pushes her off and rejects her. Distraught and heartbroken, Mandy storms off crying.

Having broken up with Steve, Fiona has decided to attend the banquet with Tony, and the two end up having sex. The next morning, Kevin and Steve invite themselves over for breakfast; Steve states that he has to give Ian sports tickets after losing a bet. Both men discover that she had sex with Tony. After Steve, Kevin, and the rest of the kids leave, Tony arrives at the house. The two talk about the previous night, and Tony reveals that he was a virgin before their sexual encounter; Fiona is horrified to learn that she had taken Tony’s virginity.

Abby Ruggiero, a federal investigator, visits the Gallagher house looking for Virginia Gallagher, the person who owns the family house. Fiona believes that her Aunt Ginger is in a nursing home in Wisconsin. Abby reveals they are opening an investigation, as they believe someone is cashing Ginger’s checks without her consent. Abby also states that she wants to meet Ginger in-person the next morning. Fiona confronts Frank, and she and Kevin discover that Frank is the one who’s been cashing the checks. Fiona orders Frank to get Ginger to Chicago by tomorrow morning.

At the Kash and Grab, Ian gets chased down by Mandy’s brothers, including the eldest, Mickey Milkovich. It is revealed that Mandy, devastated by Ian’s rejection, had told her brothers that Ian assaulted her. After running into Mandy, Ian tries convincing Mandy to call off her brothers, to no avail. After Mickey and his brothers fail to find Ian, they end up cornering Lip and Karen, explaining “someone’s got to get a beatdown.” When Lip makes an insulting joke about Mandy, the Milkovich brothers violently beat him up.

After failing to pass off an elderly bus driver as Ginger, Frank reveals that Ginger had passed away from a cocaine overdose twelve years ago. In order to save their house and keep Frank from getting arrested, Fiona and Veronica enlist a senile old woman from the nursing home Veronica works at to pose as their Aunt Ginger for a day. Tony apologizes to Fiona for not informing her that he was a virgin beforehand. He also reveals that his mother had found out about their tryst, and has invited Fiona to dinner; Fiona contemplates the offer.

The next morning, Ian shows up at the Milkovich house holding a baseball bat, planning to jump the Milkovich brothers and end their hunt. Lip discovers Ian hiding; he joins Ian and grabs a brick. When Mandy unexpectedly walks out of the house, Ian changes his mind. He hands the baseball bat to Lip and approaches her. Mandy yells at Ian and starts to hurry away; Ian shouts that he’s gay, stopping Mandy in her tracks. Mandy and Ian later discuss his sexuality. Ian reassures Mandy that he is telling the truth about being gay and that he thinks she’s beautiful, but he’s “just not wired that way.” Mandy agrees to call off her brothers, and also suggests that she be his beard to deflect any questions about his sexuality.

After meeting with the fake Aunt Ginger, Abby announces that she plans to return every six months to check up on the family. She ultimately gives Fiona the latest social security check, which she uses to pay the gas bill. Fiona, Veronica and Frank return the old woman back to her nursing home; Debbie bursts into tears, as she had formed a close bond with the old woman during her brief stay. Despite Tony inviting her over for dinner, Fiona rejects his offer, and instead ventures off to visit Steve.


Regular Cast

Special Guest Star

Guest Starring


  • Phil Abrams - Mr. Bancroft
  • Julia Carpenter - Audrey
  • Ellen Albertini Dow - The Real Aunt Ginger
  • Andrew Kaczmarek - Santa Claus
  • Tony Longo - Russel
  • Barbara Mallory - Gina
  • Frank Pacheco - Joey Milkovich
  • Don Perry - Mr. Perry
  • Kevin Shacter - Jamie Milkovich
  • Jerry Stroka - Samuel
  • Cile Turner-Borman - Louise
  • Lang Yun - Hilda


  • "Previously on Shameless" - Frank Gallagher.
  • This episode reveals that Frank had an Aunt Ginger who died twelve years ago,
  • Episode Runtime - 00:52:28