Phillip Ronan "Lip" Gallagher is a main character. He is the second-eldest Gallagher child and the most academic. He is a straight-A student with a 4.6 GPA. While he possesses above average intelligence and excellent mechanical skills, he deliberately wastes time acting like the rest of the people in his town. He uses his intelligence to make money for his family, such as taking the SAT for other students or avoiding the cops when selling beer and marijuana from an ice cream truck. Despite his apparent genius, he has terrible judgement and is frequently shown smoking cigarettes and weed, having unprotected sex with multiple women, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol.
Lip has a juvenile prison record. Ian was his accomplice several times, but Lip covers for him because Ian wants to enter the Marines. Lip has a cynical personality and is unrestrained in his criticism, which often gets him into trouble. He also has a string of unstable relationships: two years of off-again-on-again dysfunction with Karen Jackson, a little over a year with Mandy Milkovich (where she pulled most of the weight and the two fought over Karen), a casual relationship with his roommate's girlfriend, Amanda (which ended up one-sided on her part) and a fling with his polyamorous professor, Helené Runyon.
Lip often gets into fights, including brawls staged for cash, but generally doesn't care if he wins or loses. He is not as physically fit as Ian, and his provocative attitude frequently gets him beaten up. Lip is protective of his younger siblings, but his pessimistic worldview and apathy toward almost everything causes him to clash with Fiona in her attempt to better their lives. All the same, Lip is grateful to his older sister for the years she spent raising him and his siblings. Lip and Ian, who is later revealed to be Lip's half-brother and cousin, are particularly close and often give each other relationship or career advice, though on two occasions, this resulted in a fist fight between the two.
Lip is extraordinarily intelligent for his age, boasting a high GPA and a genius IQ. Despite his remarkable intelligence, Lip can be extremely irresponsible and self-sabotaging. Other than Carl, he is the only other member of the family to have a juvenile record, and he often gets into trouble just for the sake of causing mayhem. He is a loner and doesn't have close friends.
Lip is self-destructive, a common symptom of being an adult child of an alcoholic. Part of Lip's emotional problems are due to the high expectations his family places on him in their hopes that he will make something of his life and help them in turn. Lip rebels against social norms, repeatedly refusing to apply to college or even finish high school, which leads to major problems, like graduating late, floundering in his first semester of college.
Lip is loyal to his family and protective of his younger siblings, as seen when he took over as guardian after Fiona's incident in Season 4. Lip's caretaking abilities rivaled Fiona's at this time, as he handled the responsibility well and had no problems tending to the needs of his family. He often clashes with his father, Frank, and his estranged mother, Monica, in response to their neglect for years, though he shows that he does care for and love his parents on occasions when they acknowledge their faults. This was seen when he was forgave his father for sleeping with Karen by urinating on him as his way of atoning for it. He was surprised Frank took the fall for Carl's crime when questioning him after his release, Lip was pleased with Frank's answer for doing that for family. He spent the day with Frank after he learned he graduated from school. Lip was also surprised by Frank's change in Season 8 when he defended the family from a meth head and threatened him with death if he did. Lip realized from watching Frank that Frank always held back from his attacks on Lip. Lip was even grateful to the latter giving him helpful advice with women and his own child. Though his opinion of Frank was once again low by the final season, Lip was shocked and upset over Frank’s diagnosis of alcoholic dementia, showing that he does love him in his own way.
His playful side shines through in his interactions with Liam and other children. Whenever Fiona struggles, Lip keeps everything from falling apart. Despite this, Lip isn't always wise: a number of people remark that he is the "dumbest smart person" they've ever met. For example, he likes to break into cars, steal science equipment, and smash windows. Lip was also caught doing carjacking schemes with Steve/Jimmy to buy Florence + the Machine concert tickets for his girlfriend.
Lip is also shown to be "dickish" (his words), combative, and pugnacious. He's unafraid to back down from anyone who challenges him, and he vents his frustration by getting into fights and destroying property. He also uses his smarts to pull off lucrative cash schemes. Despite all his arrogance and bravado, Lip is a deeply sensitive person who has trouble being vulnerable, and his issues with women point to fragile self-esteem.
Lip has abandonment issues that make him drawn to dysfunctional relationships; part of Karen's appeal is how she keeps Lip at arm's length. Even though Karen has sex with Frank in "Daddyz Girls" and broadcasts their hook-up online to get revenge on her own father, Lip keeps going back to her. After she leaves, he hooks up with Mandy who is emotionally worse than Karen but shows him genuine love. Once Karen returns, he ignores her attempts to reconcile but went to sleep with her when he and Mandy had problems. However, he turns away from her after he and Mandy make up, though apologizes for leading a hurt Karen on.
After becoming a parent himself, Lip was very delighted and wanted to be a better example to his son Freddie than his own parents were to him. Although he became exasperated with the responsibilities of a parent, Lip nonetheless held own and cared for his child.
Throughout the Seasons
Lip is a straight-A student who is tutoring Karen Jackson in science. Karen goes down on him underneath her dining room table while her mother, Sheila, is in the kitchen. Lip finds out Ian is gay and takes him to Karen to 'test' his orientation. Later, Lip finds out Ian is sleeping with the owner of the drugstore where he works. Kash, an Arab man who is married with children, has sex with Ian during his shifts. Lip becomes irate and punches Ian, since he fears Ian is being taken advantage of.
Lip often concocts schemes to make cash for his family. This season, Kevin and Lip operate an illegal ice cream truck to sell cigarettes and blunts near the basketball court. Lip also takes the SAT for underperforming students until he gets caught by a professor from the University of Chicago. According to the professor, Lip is one of the only students in America who earned a perfect score of 2400. He offers Lip an internship, but Lip insists that he'll go straight to the working world and skip college.
In It's Time to Kill the Turtle, Lip is surprised when he sees his father and Debbie in the midst of a sugar rush after Frank decides to get sober. Frank reveals he needs to stay sober to escape his need for alcohol in order to get $3,000 in a medical study. After this, Lip becomes bitter and tells his siblings Frank did this before and won't stop for money. Lip is rude to Frank, despite his siblings' criticism and Frank's good mood. He advised Debbie and Carl to not get use to it and compares it "to a pet turtle they'll get bore with." While Carl doesn't understand, Debbie tells him she does and will enjoy their father while she can. Later on, Lip meets Fiona after she comes home crying and asks about it while she says it is from a long day. Eventually, she questions him on his sour attitude to their father in this good time. Lip has to explain in his childhood, Frank once got sober for a bet and went to one of his little league games and expressed pride in him that made him happy. Lip ends it by stating that he didn't know it wouldn't last after Fiona inquired on it. When Frank's soberness gets too much, Debbie encourages Lip and Fiona to "kill the turtle" as she put it, a misunderstanding to the reference that Lip had made about Frank previously. They decide to end his attempt at staying sober after he plans to slam holes in the roof through the attic for skylights with Carl. At the end, Steve comes over to find a drunk and bitter Frank with the children sitting around satisfied.
In Nana Gallagher Had an Affair, Lip and Ian decide to do paternity tests on themselves to see if they are Frank's sons after learning Liam is. At the Alibi, he, Fiona, Carl, and Debbie find Frank and he tries to shoo them away since he was waiting for their mother. After Fiona tells Frank of the paternity test for Liam, Lip informs Frank that he is Liam's biological father and hears him reveal his grandmother's affair to conceive him. When Frank argues with Fiona over the kids, Lip punches him, out of disgust and leaves with his siblings. During dinner, he reveals the tests to everyone and tells Ian that he isn't for Frank. Lip learns that Monica cheated on Frank with one of his brothers, making him both his half-brother and cousin. Lip states to his mother that he wasn't too surprised by the news and they go over Frank's brothers. Lip takes part in the argument to state Liam is staying with the family.
In Daddyz Girl, Lip tries to connect Ian with one of Frank's brothers, as they learned that Ian is not Frank's biological son. They visit their imprisoned grandmother Peggy Gallagher after Fiona tells them that she'll know. At the prison, they meet Peggy after reminding who they are. After a talk, she gives them their uncles' names, in exchange for cigarettes. They meet their uncle Jerry Gallagher, Frank's twin who immediately turns them away after learning who they were and threatens them to leave. They later go to their Uncle Clayton's house, he is more accepting and Lip likes his treatment. He is also stunned by how similar Ian looks to Clayton. When Clayton walks out with his wife, Lip and Ian overhear them discussing Ian obviously knowing the truth and Lip urges Ian to pursue genetic testing and move in with Clayton. This upsets Ian who storms out and insists that he's happy with his life and accepts that Frank is his father as the siblings are his family while also telling Lip not to shift his issues on him. Accepting his brother's choice, Lip bids his overhearing uncle Clayton goodbye as he and Ian go home. On the way back, the cops pull them over for driving a stolen Porsche. In jail, Lip and Ian are awaiting charges before an officer notes on their relation to Frank and says they are in trouble. Not wanting Ian's choice to enlist in the Marines to be shattered, Lip wanted to take responsibility. However, they are freed when Tony Markovich pulls strings and covers up for them.
In the finale, Father Frank, Full of Grace, Lip sleeps with Karen after apologizing for his words and says "I love you" to Karen during his climax. Karen rejecting him afterwards prompts Lip to say that it was just a "during sex 'I love you'" and meant nothing. When he learns she raped Frank, Lip attacks his father by nearly hitting him with a car and beating him until Kev stops it and he leaves his father in a bloody mess. Later on, Karen comes to him and they smoke together and she apologizes to him, before explaining what really happened with Frank. That night, he is at home when Frank comes over begging for his forgiveness; Lip takes a piss out of his window onto Frank as payback for Frank sleeping with Karen. Frank doesn't protest and accepts the punishment. After Lip is done, Frank leaves and both unknowingly share a smile, reconciling.
Lip spends most of his time believing he fathered Karen's baby. He keeps pursuing Karen during her pregnancy, despite her being married to Jody, another member of Sex Addicts Anonymous. She plans to place her baby up for adoption in exchange for money. This troubles Lip, and he obsesses over what kind of person their baby will become. Lip finds solace in spending time with Mandy, Mickey's sister. Lip and Mandy hook-up for the first time in A Beautiful Mess during Debbie's sleepover party.
He also bears witness to the release of his grandmother Peggy Gallagher and laughs as he watches his father tend to her after she shuts him down.
In Parenthood, going with Karen to adoption agencies and witnessing her sociopathic behavior sets off a chain of events that leads to Lip smashing a window in the high school and getting expelled. Fiona insists that he finish high school, but Lip refuses to graduate and become the family's "golden goose." In turn, she gives him an ultimatum: "school, or leave," Lip moves out and bounces around between Karen's, Kev and V's, and the L train before he finds sanctuary in Steve/Jimmy's room at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton hotel.
In Just Like the Pilgrims Intended, the penultimate episode of the season, Steve/Jimmy finally kicks Lip out in the hopes of spending Thanksgiving with the Gallagher's. Lip moves in with Mandy for a few weeks. He finds out that Karen's baby, Hymie, is actually Timmy Wong's, one of her old flames.
In Fiona Interrupted, Lip ends his relationship with Karen and moves back into the Gallagher home at the urging of Mandy. Sheila and Jody steal Hymie from the hospital before he can be adopted, and they refuse to give him back. This prompts Karen to leave, despite Lip telling her she will regret it.
The audience may wonder when Lip became interested in Mandy prior to Season 2 because for the entire first season he was with Karen. However, it's hinted that Lip is attracted to Mandy during several blink-and-you-miss-it moments in Season 1. In Aunt Ginger, when she's pretending to be Ian's beard, Lip stares lustfully at Mandy while she's in the room he shares with Ian and Carl. In Nana Gallagher Had an Affair, he flirted with her. It is implied Lip knew her before the beginning of the series because he made a sarcastic joke to her brother, Mickey, about the guys she's been with and got beat up.
In May I Trim Your Hedges?, a homeless man on the bus masturbates to Debbie. Fiona chases him off, and the incident makes everyone concerned about the safety of the neighborhood. They discover a sex offender lives three blocks away from the Gallagher home. Lip and Ian enlist a group of residents to take down the rapist. The mob, led by Terry Milkovich, discovers the presumed he is actually a she, a teacher named Blake Collins. Unable to beat up a woman, the mob dissolves, yet Lip remains determined. He poses as a 15 year-old who offers to do lawn maintenance for Blake, asking the titular question, "Can I trim your hedges?" He is successful in seducing her but before he can call the cops, he is seduced himself when Blake invites him to kinky sex with peanut butter and goes down on Lip. He is surprised when Blake trims Lip's "hedges" by using Nair to remove his pubic hair but enjoys the oral sex. Lip ultimately scraps the plan to expose her. Later, Lip uses Blake's signature peanut butter and oral sex move on Mandy in bed. When she attempts to give him oral sex, she becomes enraged when she sees the lack of hair and figures out he slept with Blake. Mandy goes to Blake's house and threatens to kill her and dump her into a grave that one of her brothers is digging in the front lawn if Blake doesn't leave town by morning.
During The Sins of My Caretaker, Lip calls Karen and leaves a voicemail. He insults her by listing the tirade of acts she has done to him and tells her to stay gone.
In Where There's a Will, Lip and Mandy's relationship is consumed by insecurities and doubt. Mandy complains about being treated like a tool, and Lip feels smothered by Mandy who makes herself home. However, another wrench is thrown into their relation as Karen returns to the South Side. Karen talks with Lip and tries to make amends for how things ended with him. She tells him of how she got his call, in which he remembers where he insulted her before she reveals she hit rock bottom but Lip doesn't show her any reaction, only telling her that he's with Mandy. Disappointed, Karen tells him that he deserves happiness and sadly watches him leave only welcoming her back. Karen's return upsets Mandy, and she is furious when she suspects Lip is cheating on her with Karen and he orders her out of the house. The rift between them widens when Lip learns that Mandy applied to colleges for him without his consent. He later meets Karen and they temporarily reconcile by having wild sex.
Afterwards in Frank the Plumber, Lip is interviewed by a college teacher and impresses the latter when he reveals his goals. Later on, he makes up with Mandy by having sex and he asks Mandy why she applied to out of state schools, to which Mandy replies that she wishes Lip will leave and take her with him; she believes he deserves better than living in the South Side. Her feelings reach Lip, prompting him to realize he should be with her. With this, he goes to break things off for good with Karen. He goes to her house, as she is excited to see him and tries to talk with him but he tells her he has decided to choose Mandy over her, as Mandy had his best interests at heart and genuinely loved him, whereas Karen didn't seem to have the same kind of love and respect for him. Lip moved to leave but Karen stops him and tries to protest his choice, though he only apologizes for leading her on and walks off. Lip's decision devastates Karen, as the latter had truly cared for him but couldn't express it properly. She calls Mandy to tell her she can trap Lip by having sex with a broken condom and getting pregnant. Mandy is furious and determined to get rid of Karen. A few days later, she steals Lip's phone and sends a text to Karen asking to meet in the park. Sheila is apologizing for having sex with Jody when Karen gets a text from Lip. Karen kindly brushes off Sheila and races to the park to meet Lip. Karen is hit by a car and goes into a coma; later, Mandy is shown cleaning the front of her car and telling Mickey that she ran Karen over.
In Order Room Service Lip visits Karen at the hospital. Sheila remarks that Karen was excited to get his text, which confuses Lip because he did not send Karen any text. On the bus ride home, Lip deduces that Mandy must have sent the text. He does not confront her right away, but instead places an embargo on having sex with her per Kevin's advice. Kev's advice fails Lip, and he calls Kevin after giving in to Mandy's incessant pressure. Lip visits Karen once she wakes up from her coma and returns to Sheila's home. He learns that Karen has brain damage and cannot form new memories, which explains why she forgets him telling her that Mandy hit her. Disturbed and angry, Lip crashes Mickey's wedding and confronts Mandy about her role in crippling Karen. He breaks up with her on the spot, but she is drunk and indifferent. She shows off her wedding date, Kenyatta, and tells Lip that she gave him a blow job in the bathroom to make Lip jealous. Lip leaves the reception with a drunken Ian, who tells Mandy that he slept with her brother before he pukes on the way home. Lip later intervenes when Carl is nearly arrested for a robbery and he protests this while the officers try to stop him. Lip soon watches as Frank arrives and he questions his father on his presence, he soon watches Frank take full responsibility for Carl's act. He tends to Carl as they watch their father get arrested, deeply surprised by his act.
By the end of the season, Lip is back in school and about to graduate. He thinks little of this milestone, despite Fiona's insistence of its importance. After picking up his diploma, Lip meets with his father at the Alibi and he learns Frank was released from jail on a technicality. Lip inquiries on his selfless act of taking the fall for Carl, and Frank states that's what family does. They celebrate by going out for a steak dinner, where Lip calls Frank "Dad" before they go for drinks and ice skating. They get hammered and Lip vomits on the ice; Frank follows suit and projectile vomits blood. Lip and Frank go to the emergency room and Lip spends the night huddled by a toilet in Frank's room.
A few days later, Lip visits Mandy and tells her his plan to enroll in college. He thanks her for applying to colleges behind his back, despite the fact that she plagiarized Gandhi and other famous speakers on the essays. Before Lip leaves, Mandy asks if he even wants to go. Lip raises a hand in a dismissive gesture, as if he doesn't even know himself.
Lip begins as an undergrad at Chicago Polytechnic Institute. Between working as a busboy in the cafeteria and keeping up with the workload of his classes, Lip finds that college is more difficult than he thought. He can no longer study for 10 minutes to get an A, and he isn't popular with women, as evidenced in My Oldest Daughter. Lip gets a D on a paper about Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and he often comes to class without a pen. He finds a friend in his roommate, Ron, who allows Lip to borrow his laptop. Ron's girlfriend, Amanda, does not like Lip, though. Amanda and Ron have sex at all hours of the night, and she disapproves of Lip smoking weed.
Lip feels like he is going crazy from all the rules and regulations he is expected to follow, and no one will give him a break. After a debacle in the laundry room and being locked out of his dorm room, he arrives to class late and is not allowed to take his midterm. Lip expresses his anger by bashing in a row of cars. He narrowly escapes being caught by campus security. Later, he returns home and very briefly rekindles his affair with Mandy. Their affair ends in a fight after he makes a disrespectful comment to her about not taking the morning after pill, despite knowing he won't be around to provide for a baby.
As of Iron City, Liam is hospitalized for a cocaine overdose, and Fiona's prison stint for child endangerment creates chaos for the family. Lip is forced to find his father since he is needed to prevent his brother from going to foster care. He is angry at the events and ignores his family and friends' attempt to calm down. After Liam shows signs of recovery, he is happy and calms down before heading home. He learns from Carl of his older half-sister Samantha Slott and nephew Chuckie Slott who were taking care of Frank. He is happy to locate him but worried for his condition. Lip is later relieved his brother is released.
In A Jailbird, Invalid, Martyr, Cutter, Retard, And Parasitic Twin, Lip takes over as caretaker for the family and watches over Liam and sneaks food out of the cafeteria to feed the family. Fiona and Lip clash when he refuses to let her take care of Liam or show her any sympathy. Amanda offers to babysit while Lip is in class; she takes things one step further when she makes him a detailed schedule, including time for sex breaks with her, and gives him care packages. In exchange, she asks him to help her get back at her parents.
In Emily, Lip suggests she can torture her parents by having them over for dinner at his house. He also finds that Carl's girlfriend and her siblings who live in a van are at the house and initially complains, but ultimately feels sympathy for them and lets them stay. He is also not pleased when the Department of Children and Family Services shows up to visit. Despite the crazy night, Lip learns good came from it, since the agent found him to be a sympathetic person to the homeless kids while taking care of his brother. Also, Amanda's father offers Lip $10,000 in cash to never see her again. Lip takes the money like he and Amanda planned, though she tells him afterward that he could've gotten at least $5,000 more. Lip uses this money to support the family.
Lip becomes more studious and feels less like an outsider thanks to Amanda's influence. He repairs the rift between him and Fiona in Liver, I Hardly Know Her when he picks Fiona up from a gas station in Wisconsin after she violates her probation and gives her emotional support on their way back.
In Lazarus, Amanda and Lip begin an informal relationship when he participates in a pinning ceremony at her sorority, a Greek tradition that celebrates couples. After the ceremony, Amanda takes Lip and several of her friends to the diner where Mandy works. Lip sneaks off and tries to ask how she's doing, but Mandy treats him like a stranger, much to his dismay. The season closes with Lip telling Fiona that he passed his midterms.
Lip goes home in the summer after his freshman year and gets a job with Tommy's construction company. Ian tells Lip that Mandy is planning to move to Indiana and asks him to change her mind. At Mandy's, Lip and Mandy hook-up; during sex, Mandy tells him that she loves him, which catches Lip off guard. He doesn't say it back. The next day, Mandy leaves with Kenyatta.
In A Night to Remem...Wait, What?, Lip flies to Miami to stay with Amanda in her luxurious vacation home. Her father is initially upset at Lip's arrival, going so far as to lock his liquor cabinet in front of him. Later, Lip and Amanda have lunch with her parents, during which Lip and Amanda's father bond over her father's engineering projects. Lip and Amanda's father smoke pot in private and talk about Lip's summer plans. Amanda's father regrets that Lip took on a construction job, and offers him a paid internship the following summer.
Lip accompanies Mickey and his brothers to vandalize new coffee shop in attempt to discourage gentrification of the South Side. Lip is surprised when Mickey's gang pulls machine guns out of the car, and he refuses to take a part in the shooting. Mickey calls Lip a "college bitch" when he realizes that Lip didn't actually shoot the storefront. When sirens are heard, they lock Lip out of the car and drive off without him. Lip bolts and jumps into the dumpster in a nearby alley, successfully evading the police.
After the incident at the coffee shop, Lip returns to college early. His application to be a resident advisor is accepted, and Amanda paints a mural of a naked woman in his room. When Lip finds that his schedule is blank, the registrar tells him that his family never gave him the documents to renew his financial aid. Even after taking out a $5,000 cash advance on a dozen credit cards, he is still significantly short on his tuition. He goes to his critical theory class and is called out by his professor, Helené Runyon, for being late. Lip later persuades Helené to take him on as a student by giving her oral sex in her office. The registrar tells a wealthy friend about Lip's plight. The friend, who went through a similar experience at the college, pay Lip's tuition.
Lip begins developing stronger feelings for Helené after she takes him to an academic conference in Going Once, Going Twice. Helené, extremely drunk, says that their relationship is not just a fling but something "deeper," although she takes this back the next morning. However, this makes Lip convinced that they're in love. In Refugees, Amanda exacts revenge when she exposes Lip's relationship with Helené by sending the naked picture Lip took of her to the entire school. Lip asks Amanda why she did it, and she claims that Lip ruined her life by "making" her fall in love with him. He loses his job as a resident advisor and private room because of Amanda's mural, which violated res life rules.
Lip attempts to have sex with many girls in the sorority he works for, but he is still hung up on Helené and experiences erectile dysfunction as a result. Frank's ex, Queenie, cures Lip's erectile dysfunction with foot reflexology. Once his erectile dysfunction is resolved, he starts having orgies and his drinking habits get worse. At one point, Lip wakes up in the hospital after being diagnosed with alcohol poisoning, his blood alcohol content at a deadly 0.35. He is expelled for bashing the car of his mentor, Professor Youens, and assaulting a campus guard. Youens shows Lip tough love by driving him to rehab.
Fiona asked Lip and Ian, not Frank, to walk her down the aisle at her wedding to Sean. While listing the faults of all of his children, Frank describes Lip as a drunk. After Frank ruins Fiona's wedding by revealing that Sean relapsed and has been secretly using heroin again, Lip attacks his father but it is broken up. At the end, Lip inquiries to Debbie on if there was any word on Frank after he was thrown off a bridge and she bluntly tell him she and the others think that Frank is dead but they aren’t sure. Lip takes her word from it and doesn’t pay much mind.
In Hiraeth, Lip successfully completes rehab, but still grapples with alcohol addiction. He and Youens make amends and Youens promises to secure him an internship. At home, he and his brothers discover that Frank survived when they see him passed out on the floor. None of the brothers were fazed by his return. Like his siblings, he wants nothing to do with Frank but has some care for him.
In Swipe, Fuck, Leave, he is pleased that Frank disowns the children, but is angry when Frank takes Liam, his only loyal child. Fiona gives Lip a job at Patsy's Pies as a dishwasher while he works an unpaid internship for a tech start-up, which Professor Youens secured for him. However, the internship isn't what it seems: Lip isn't paid, and he's forced to be a drink-and-food runner and change his supervisor's urine bag while he plays video games. Later, he discovers that the start-up is scamming people by using proxy servers to hide their illegal activities, and the company is raided by the FBI. Lip also comes home to find the second floor blocked off with cement by Frank in attempt to get revenge on his children for trying to kill him and kicking him out of the house. Lip attempts to drive Frank out of the house by sawing through a water pipe, but Frank retaliates by dropping a raccoon through a hole in the floor. Lip wakes up Ian, who is sleeping on the couch, and the brothers run from the animal while Franks taunts them. Later, he and Ian make fun of Carl's struggle to avoid erections after his circumcision, but they later feel guilty after he yells at them. They later pick Carl up from school in Ian's ambulance and supply Carl with painkillers. Afterwards, Lip and his siblings destroy the walls of cement.
During Home Sweet Homeless Shelter, it is shown that Lip and Fiona are not on good terms. Very soon, Fiona cracks down on the family and demands that they start pulling their weight, since she wants to secure her own future. She resents Lip for his arrogance and how he prioritizes his internship above helping out his family. Lip is frustrated that Fiona is using the Gallagher home as collateral for an investment in a laundromat near Patsy's that he worries might not work out. He is also unhappy when Frank opens a homeless shelter in a empty house down the street from the family house. Lip confronts his father, but Frank tells him along with his other children, except Liam, to leave him alone since they have shown him how they feel by throwing him off a bridge, insulting him, and kicking him out, and they leave.
In The Defenestration of Frank, Lip organizes a wire fraud scheme at his second tech start-up internship. He's assisted by Joaquin, a hacker he met in college. No one at the company catches on, so Lip tells Joaquin to wire larger amounts of money. When Kev asks how Lip can afford top shelf booze, he replies, "we ripped off a bunch of corporate crooks: two wrongs do make a right." Although he isn't entirely unaware of this, Lip is becoming more and more like his father.
Later on, Lip begins a casual relationship with his co-worker from Patsy's, Sierra, who is a single mom. Lip thinks Sierra is good for him, but he's cautious about repeating the patterns of his past relationships. They share an intimate moment in which Sierra ejaculates on him, which apparently means she's "comfortable" with him. This makes Lip both fascinated with female ejaculation and scared that things may getting too serious. When Lip mentions that he wants to keep things casual, Sierra messes with Lip by asking him to take things to the next level and become Lucas's dad. Lip thinks Sierra is serious until she remarks about the surprised look on his face.
In You Sold Me the Laundromat, Remember?, Professor Youens encourages Lip to attend an appeal hearing that Youens orchestrated at Chicago Polytechnic Institute, and Lip reluctantly agrees. Ian and Professor Youens testify that Lip has addressed his drinking habits and deserves a second chance, but the committee refuses to expunge Lip's disciplinary record and let him re-enroll. Lip drowns his sorrows in alcohol and attacks Sierra's drug-addicted baby-daddy, Charlie, which prompts Sierra to break up with him. Lip copes by going on a bender; he miss an interview that Professor Youens arranged for him and ends up sleeping on L. He finally hits rock bottom when he wakes up wasted in Helené's house. Helené tells Lip to get help, and he leaves in tears.
With this, he decides to sober himself up by deciding to go back to alcohol meetings and does better. He also goes to a meeting for college, but they insist on keeping his expulsion.
In Ouroboros, Monica returns and he ignores his mother before he shouts at her to leave him be. As he tries to get sober, Sierra approaches him and she shows signs of trying to mend the fence between them.
Much later, he is present at his parents vow renewal and joins in the fun after he realizes the drinks are spiked. He seems to have forgiven his father as they have fun.
When Monica dies from brain trauma in Requiem For a Slut, Lip and his family go to the hospital in shock. After they are allowed to see their mother, Fiona notices Frank was not present and Debbie tells her that he is outside on the curb. Lip offered to retrieve their father but Fiona went though Frank left after her attempt. Much later, he surprised to see his grandfather Bill Darrgen arrive and watches him fight Frank. He tells a confused Carl the old man is their grandpa. At Monica's funeral, he speaks up about her and watches Frank make a moving speech before he leaves. Afterwards, he is surprised that he doesn't want to drink. He talks to Sierra after his mother's funeral and talks to her about eventually return to college, even though he feels too old. Lip mentions that Youens "inexplicably gives a shit" about him, and Sierra tells him that a lot of people inexplicably give a shit about him. He joins his family in dancing the night away.
The season closes with him going into an AA meeting with his new friend and sponsor, Brad.
After his mother's funeral, Lip is sober and working at Brad's motorcycle shop, Born Free Cycles. He is left with some meth by his mother and seems to have sold it for money. Like his siblings, he is put off by his father's decision to change his ways by getting a job and starting over by de-aging himself.
In God Bless Her Rotting Soul, Lip attends more AA meetings and makes progress in them with Brad as his sponsor. Later, after Carl and Ian are attacked by thugs led by a man named Eric who owned some of the meth and threaten the family for his money. He and his family are forced to try and gather up money but have no luck and soon go to Fiona. They all apologize for not listening to her before Liam and Frank arrive with the latter offering to help them with Fiona having him do it by getting shovels from his job. The family then dig up Monica, since Fiona put her share in the ground with her. Lip is annoyed by Frank listing emotions rather than helping with digging until Carl retrieves their mother quicker. They arrive at the storage unit and pay Eric, Lip gives him some of his money but its still not enough and Eric threatens them at gunpoint as a scared Lip protects Carl from the danger. Fortunately, Frank steps in and Lip watches as Frank successfully intimidates Eric to accept the payment or be faced with death if he comes near the family again. Lip is surprised by his father's actions, seeing that his new change is genuine. Frank then led the family out to safety, as Lip leaves the area with them.
Very soon in Fuck Paying It Forward, Lip faces another problem with getting no women, constantly waking up with erections and masturbating every morning. He is surprised when his father gives him helpful advice and watches as Frank decides to bond with Liam. At work, he is surprised when his father's advice is supported by a coworker. Brad tells him to just being straightforward in asking for sex, since relationships are distraction in recovery. Lip asks out a waitress at Patsy's, though she is flattered she turns him down since he is Sierra's ex. His complaints about lack of action distracts him from work and this causes his co-worker, Eddie, an edgy girl with tattoos and a mean streak to hook up with him. Lip enjoys the encounter but is put off by the latter's aggressiveness in bed.
He's still preoccupied with Sierra; to work his way back into her heart, he babysits Lucas while she goes out with Charlie. Lip tries to sabotage Charlie by tempting him with a pizza topped with a baggie of coke. However, Lip gets second thoughts about sending the pizza when Charlie turns up at his AA meeting. Lip attempts to retrieve the drugs by breaking into Charlie's apartment, but he's attacked by Charlie's Rottweiler; he drops his fidget spinner, which gives away that he was the intruder. Charlie interprets the incident as Lip trying to save him from getting back into drugs.
Lip's issues with co-dependence are further explored when he helps Brad get back on the wagon and tries to rescue Professor Youens when the latter crashes into a house and gets his fifth DUI. Lip reaches out to Youens by bringing AA meetings to him, despite Youens' protests that he doesn't want help. Later, Youens accompanies Lip on his search for Brad, who disappears after going on a bender. Despite Youens' cynicism, Lip helps Brad clean up his act. On the day of Youens' hearing, Lip gives a touching testimony about Youens paying for his stint in rehab. Everything goes well until Youens gets drunk in the bathroom, which lands him in jail.
After Debbie thinks she might be pregnant after a series of drunken hook-ups, Lip takes her to Planned Parenthood. Charlie happens to walk in with a heavily pregnant woman. He begs Lip not to tell Sierra, and Lip reluctantly agrees.
In The Fugees, Charlie's ex has his baby, and Sierra is extremely upset when Charlie tells the truth. Charlie persuades Lip to convince Sierra to forgive him, if only for Lucas's sake. Lip shows up at Sierra's door; he starts to explain that Charlie is crazy about her, but then she pulls him in for a kiss. After they hook-up, Sierra asks him to stay, but Lip insists he should leave.
In The Church of Gay Jesus, Lip is stunned when he discovers from Professor Youens' daughter that Youens died of a seizure. The service is emotional and filled with touching stories about Youens. After one of the students comments that Youens was "like a father" to him, a look of epiphany crosses Lip's face as he acknowledges that he, too, found a father figure in Youens. He goes back to the shop and has a breakdown. The following morning, Youens' daughter shows up at the Gallagher house with a draft of a recommendation letter. Lip says he's "too angry to keep it," despite how highly Youens spoke of him.
Sierra continues to look to Lip for emotional support. When her father who went to prison for murdering her mother makes parole, Lip stages a fight that lands her father back in jail. She sleeps over at Lip's house and says she loves him; Lip says it back. Yet in the season finale, Sleepwalking, he admits to Sierra that he isn't sure how to love her, even though he wants to. He urges Sierra to give Charlie a second chance. Sierra protests, but Lip insists it isn't her fault: he's been "sleepwalking through [his] life" and "loaded" since he was 12, and he isn't sure who he is or what he wants. He wonders if he can truly love Sierra when he was drunk, during most of their relationship. Sierra is devastated and tells him to go.
Eddie splits and leaves behind her niece, Xan. Lip offers to take in Xan for a few days before CPS places her in a home. The season closes with Lip testing out the bike he's worked on since the first episode, which Xan named Keith, as Brad and Xan watch. The audience is left to interpret this scene as Lip riding off to discover who he is and where he's headed in life.
As seen in Are You There Shim? It's me, Ian, Lip is now the caretaker of Xan and acts like father to her, prompting his siblings to note on his change. Despite being advised by Brad to either call foster care or the mother, Lip ignores it and continues to care for her while becoming a sponsor for a fellow drunk named Jason who he seems to relate too.
In Mo White!, Lip attends Brad's wedding and meets Brad's sister-in-law Tammi who he hooks up with but she ends up puking on him. At Brad's suggestion, he asks Tammy out but she turns him down while mocking his skills in bed. He later talks with Ian about Shim, an-invented word for the genderless God, and disturbed by his brother's words. Lip is also annoyed by Frank's comment but doesn't argue with him.
During Weirdo Gallagher Vortex, Lip also prevents foster care from taking Xan when she steals, he finds and tells her to stop her acts and get in line. When Xan is injured, he steals her from the hospital and tends to her himself.
Very soon, Xan's mother comes in Do Right, Vote White! and asks for her daughter but Lip is reluctant to give her up after seeing the mother no different. After selling a motorcycle, Lip takes his earned money and offers it to Xan's mother in exchange for her signing parental rights to him but Xan arrives on the scene after following him. Xan presumably leaves with her mother while Lip is left devastated. Lip buys several packs of cigarettes and does many other activities to preoccupy himself over Xan's departure.
In Black Haired Ginger he is in the bath and talks with Liam and learns he had an experience with a girl while being amused by his worry. He soon talks to Fiona about Ian and is not surprised she "went Fiona" on him while telling her to let him make his own decisions. He soon takes part in a drag race to feel better. Much later, Ian went missing but returns home to meet Lip and they talk about recent events and share a laugh. Afterwards, he attends the hearing of Ian and watches as he admits to being bi-polar to get the insanity plea and shorten his time in sentencing. Lip later helps Carl and Debbie take care of Liam's situation with his classmate Sissy, who decided to move in after supposedly being impregnated by Liam, by drugging her and bringing her to a clinic.
As seen in Face It, You're Gorgeous, Lip spends his time as a sobriety watcher and prevents a celebrity from casual drinking, doing his best to stop her even calling her fans to swarm her as a distraction. Very soon, they reach an understanding and bond a bit before he introduces her to his family and she has fun there and doesn't try to drink. Lip is later present when Ian goes to prison for two years, he sadly hugs his brother goodbye and wishes him luck while telling he knows he won't pay him back with a smile before watching him leave.
During Down Like the Titanic, Lip is woken up at two in the morning, he and his siblings investigate the sound in the attic and see its an alarm with a picture of Ian. They realize that he left them a memento and smile at the gesture. Lip is preparing for the christening of Brad's child, though he is nearly sidelined when Debbie tells him of Fiona's hardships. He takes over in talking to Fiona and learns she is putting her on the market to make up for a financial issue. Lip and Jason, the boy he is sponsoring, attend the christening and he is dismayed to see Tammi again who shows up drunk and he informs the other boy of the encounter. He is annoyed when Tammi takes note of him and harasses him later about her latest sexual exploits. Afterwards, Lip sees Jason off and is met by Tammi who takes him up on his previous date offer since she was bored. The two go for tacos and talk about having harsh lives with their families, before she offers him the chance to redeem himself in sex and he takes her up on it. They have sex in her car and Tammi rates him as better than before but critiques him as not enough, this causes him to tell her they will try again until she admits she is wrong about him while she is amused. Very soon, Lip redeems himself and he offers Tammi another chance at a date, as she accepts before the two joke and she kisses him, a sentiment he returns. They part with another joke and he heads to Patsy's. At Patsy's, Lip is present at watching Ford's humiliation, he congratulates Debbie on her act and enjoys Fiona getting revenge on him by shooting paint balls at him. He later watches Fiona get drunk in the backyard along with Carl and worries for her.
As seen in The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Alibi, Lip is still seeing Tammi but are not serious yet. Tammi tries to persuade him to get an apartment, while he asks her to move in with him. He shows her the life at the Gallagher Household, where the house is dilapidated and how he is with his siblings. Tammi decides to help them move from their way of life.
In BOOOOOOOOOOOONE!, Lip is at home as Debbie takes charge and he sees she is really serious. He tells his family that he is going to meet Tammi and help her family pay tribute to her mother by walking in support of fighting cancer. Lip is also worried for Fiona who is still down and gets ready to defend her when Ford comes but is turned away. Lip goes with Tammi and meets her other sister Cori who makes advances on him while also meeting her ex-fiancé Boon who still has feelings for her. Lip later learns of his father having kids, he scoffs at this while listing himself as an example of his father's failure and calls his fault a recovering alcoholic. Later, he meets Tami and questions her on her former fiancé and they argue for a while until she leaves. Finding Tami's sister Cori in the alley of the Alibi, they kiss and they have sex. Lip goes to Tammi and admits to sleeping with her sister, as she doesn't seem bothered and he questions this. Tammi gives her reasons, stating they were just sleeping around, like she's doing with her ex-fiancé. As Lip sits down, Tammi decides to open up and reveal that it does bother her. They decide to put in the effort of starting a relationship while promising to not sleep with Cori or Boon again.
As of Los Diablos, Lip is still seeing Tami and they seem to really putting in the effort. While returning home, Lip and Tami find Xan who had returned after her mother ditched her again and she had nowhere to go.
During The Hobo Games, Lip tries to file for guardianship over Xan and deals with Tami's flaky behavior. He also tries to get through to Fiona over her drunken behavior but she refuses to heed his warning. Later on, he catches up to Tami and ask her what's up with her recent behavior, as she reveals herself to be pregnant. Lip is shocked and questions if his as she confirms she's carrying Lip’s child. nearly got kicked out by Lip, and assaulted a woman for harassing Liam. However, Lip really hits a problem with Jason spirals out on beer and he learns it was Fiona who gave him alcohol. Having enough of her behavior, he orders out of the house, since she is now a bad influence.
In You'll Know Bottom When You Hit It, he speaks with Xan who is preparing to go out in foster care and sadly watches her leave. He is left angry at this and gathers Fiona's items to fulfill his promise. Lip later argues with Fiona when she comes back home and once more tells her to leave but is told by his father to cut Fiona slack, because of her hard time. When he learns of Fiona's plan to stay with Kev and V, he implores V not to do it since Fiona needs to know how he felt when he spiraled out of control. Later on, he goes with Tami on her doctor's appointment. He is later pleased to see Fiona has attended an alcoholic meeting to get control of her drinking.
During Lost, he reconciles with Fiona and she learns he is going to be a father and is surprised by this. Lip later talks with Tami's father about the baby and his plans. Lip is confused as Tami was unsure to keep it while her father is adamant about it and once more inquires about the plan. Lip also helps take care of the injured Frank. Lip goes to work where talks with Brad about his father-in-law coming to his house before Tami arrives and he tells her that her father showed up to ask about his plans for the baby. He watches Tami get annoyed her father did so and rants about others controlling her life. Lip then hears Tami reveals her sisters are cancer free but she is unsure of hers, which is why she isn't sure about having the baby for health reasons. Lip assures her and she goes for the results and is still nervous. After going to the doctor, she is worried about the results and offers sex to calm her nerves and he complies. The results
During Found, Lip is told by Fiona of her assault being reduced to a misdemeanor. He and Tami continue to see each other and reach an understanding. They go to his house where he is told by Debbie that she found Liam and that Fiona is leaving. Lip asks his sister about this decision and Fiona tells him that she has to branch out now that everyone is grown up. He understands and she entrusts their family in his hands but she asks that she stay for a party to say goodbye. Tami helps Lip gather party items, though he finds that Fiona already left the house but they party anyway. At the party, Lip sits on the stairway as Kevin joins him. Lip expresses his concerns over Tami's pregnancy and wonders if he'll be a good dad asking Kevin for advice. Kevin encourages him and decisively tells him that he'll do great and that it doesn't matter if Frank didn't raise him right.
In We Few, We Lucky Few, We Band of Gallaghers!, six months have passed and Lip is seeing Tami who is heavily pregnant but is happy with him. Lip has acquired a new motorcycle and heads out to work, where he is told by Brad that Tami is going into labor. Lip is made to witness the birth forced to have a C-section and Lip's child is born and is revealed to be a boy. However, he sees Tami is not responsive and he is rushed out because of her blood hemorrhaging. He notifies her family and soon goes back to hold his son. The rest of the family and friends arrive to celebrate the birth.
During Sleep Well My Prince For Tomorrow You Shall Be King, Lip takes care of his son and scrambles at the process. He also tells the family the child is named Freddie. Lip finds his patience is being tested with the child before Frank spots this, in a rare moment of fatherly compassion gives his son advice. Frank tells his son to rest up. Hearing this, Lip begins to cry and takes his father’s advice. The next day, he seems to have gotten a better grip on being a father.
In Which America?, Lip continues to send to Fred and while taking him to an AA meeting, he encountered a mother who is impressed with him. When going to work, Brad is excited to see his nephew before Lip learns he is unable to support them. Later on, Lip visits Tami while she is recovering from the birth. He and Tami catch up and she voices that she is not fine because of her treatment. However, Lip tells her that he has a surprise for her and formally introduces Tami to their son Freddie Gallagher. Although put off by the name, he tells her she agreed while high on medication. Nonetheless, he sees she is pleased to see her child and cries, as she calls him beautiful. She is unable to hold him because of her pain and comments she wishes he didn’t see her like this. When taking them back home, Lip sees that Frank threw a party and takes Freddie away from the house. The pair go to The Alibi Room, where Lip soon gets a call and turns out to be Ian who congratulates his brother on the birth of his son. Lip shows Ian his new nephew, taking the time to admire him while bringing a smile to his face.
During A Little Gallagher Goes A Long Way, Tami has been discharged from the hospital and goes to the Gallagher Household. Tami finds the family having a party and is surprised by the situation. Lip surprised to see her again and they hug before she mistakes his new friends baby as Fred. However Debbie introduces her to the real Fred and she finally holds him, pleased by this.
In Sparky, Lip calls Tami while she is changing Fred but she hangs up on him. He later goes to pick up his brother from jail. She then changes Fred's diaper in the kitchen to the dismay of everyone else. Later when Ian returns home from prison, she asks to do introductions later and apologizes before taking Fred to the bathroom.
When Fred won't latch, she calls her sister Cami at the bike shop. She tells her sister that Fred must be gay since she has never had a man not like her breasts before. When she tells Cami that Fred hasn't eaten since breakfasy, Lip overhears and talks to her, to which she hangs up on him again. While trying to calm Fred down, Lip's friend Sarah visits to try and help. After denying help, Sarah is about to leave when Tami asks for help getting Fred to latch. After Sarah gets Fred to latch, the two women talk about motherhood. When Tami asks why she decided to help, Sarah replies because Lip asked her to, which causes Tami to worry.
She then kicks Lip out of the room when he returns home from work, telling him she didn't want the help he sent earlier. Later, when she tries to change her surgery bandages, Lip walks in and offers to help. When he apologies for sending Sarah over, she tells him she just wants Fred to like her. She worries about Fred connecting more with Sarah since she was in the hospital. Lip tells her it takes time for Fred to bond with her, which she asks if he bonded with Frank yet. She admits she doesn't want to die of cancer, like her mom, and leave her child motherless. They both then head downstairs to Ian's party.
In Adios Gringos, Tami agrees to go to Lip's mommy group. She notices Lip introduce her as only "Fred's mom" and that Sarah squeezes his arm before he leaves. When she arrives home, Lip asks her how group when. Tami responds with "Fine." and proceeds to asks about him sleeping with Sarah. Lip tells her Sarah is only a friend, but Tami tells him about the arm squeeze. She tells him he doesn't have to protect her and they can just co-parent. When she tries to calm Fred down, Lip gives her tips to help, to which Tami hands Fred over and goes upstairs.
She later is ranting to Anne's Abuela in the kitchen. She talks about the hospital and the arm squeeze. She calls Lip arrogant and decides to go out and find a guy to sleep with.
That night, when Lip tires to talk with Tami, she says she can't and is dressed up to meet Dakota and some friends for drinks. When Tami mentions other guys Lip tries to ask more questions. Tami then states he's asking a lot of questions for someone who just a co-parent. She tells him that he can have a play date with Sarah or something. When she returns home, she stays in the bathroom until Lip asks if she's ok. When she comes out, it looks like she was crying. Lip asks if they can talk and asks what's wrong. When someone nudges past her, she yells that the house is always crawling with relatives or convicts. She tells Lip that she can't breath in his house and that she needs space.
The next day, she is on her phone in bed when Lip texts her to come outside. Tami goes to the back and finds that Lip bought an RV for them. She is shocked and decides they are living in an RV. When Lip states they need rules in case she brings guys home but Tami tells him there won't be any socks on doors. She tells him she struck out at the bar and to make Lip jealous. She tells him she still really likes him. When Lip asks what they are, she tells him she agreed to live in an RV with him, so they are together.
During "Gallavich!", he helps with arranging the ceremony for his brother. He is annoyed when Frank returns and accused him of selling the house, only to get pleased when Liam reveals it was a ploy to get a car and have Frank attend Ian and Mickey's wedding. After the family find a place, Lip sees Tami came and is still hostile to Lip. After the ceremony, Lip and Tami argue over the care of their son before she attends to him when he starts to cry. When Lip shows up at Brad's house, drunk after having relapsed at the wedding, she sees him and looks shocked and upset to see he relapsed due to their fight. At the end, he is working on the house when Tami arrives at the house he rented and after critiquing it, she helps him and they joke on the situation.
As of This Is Chicago!, Lip and Tami have taken to rebuilding their house in six months that have passed. Their relationship is still strong and she is going back to work to do hair. While she is still upset about his work is taking a long she’s nevertheless happy to have a family. At the end of the episode, Lip has a party with their friends and family attending.
In Go Home, Gentrifier!, Lip and Tami are the victims of vandals where the house is trashed in the to complain about having to do extra work. Later on it turns out the house was destroyed by neighbors warp said that they will be forced out of their homes because of how nice Tami and Lip are doing their house. To go around this rule, they keep the outside of the house looking terrible we’re only focusing on renovating the inside.
During NIMBY, Lip and Tami take Freddie out for a walk in the stroller before they bumped into Tami's old teacher Marcos who invites her to lunch. At lunch, it is implied that Marcos was attracted to Tami or a relationship went on, something Lip observes from the talks and he sarcastically offers to see Marcos again. Much later, Lip confronts her on this and she confesses to it but states it was consensual. He is annoyed when Tami later gets the house ready for Marcos after he accepted the sarcastic invitation from Lip and is irritated that she thinks nothing of him coming over with company until he sees his fiancé is actually a young teenage girl, who is only shy away from finishing high school. Lip becomes smug about his observation of Marcos being a pedophile being accurate, especially when Tami gets dismayed to learn that the young girl experience the same emotion she did when she first got with Marcos. After they leave, Lip talks with about the whole ordeal and after she goes over her time with Marcos does she finally understand that he took advantage of her and she was just a victim in his eyes. Lip assured her that while she may have been troubled in the past she did right by picking him and she accepts his words with a smile.
- He is one of the few Gallagher children to refer to Frank as Dad.
- Lip is Frank's third child and first son.
- He is the first Gallagher child to graduate from high school along with getting his diploma. The second is Carl, who graduated from military school and received his diploma.
- Lip has attacked Frank more than any of the other Gallagher children.
- Despite resenting Frank, he acts more like him than any of the other children.
- Like his father and youngest brother, he is bilingual.
- He is the fourth Gallagher to have a child; the first three are Sammi, Debbie, and Carl.
- Along with Ian and Carl, Lip seems to notice that all Gallagher's attract unhinged partners.
- He has had five girlfriends (flings and lovers not included) over the series: Karen, Mandy, Amanda, Sierra, and Tami.