Pilot is the very first episode of the US version of Shameless. It originally aired on January 9, 2011.
In the Season 1 premiere, drunken father Frank is of no use to his dysfunctional family; Fiona meets a handsome stranger when her purse is stolen; Lip is shocked to discover his brother Ian is gay and tries to hook him up with a willing neighbor.
The episode opens with a voice over by Frank describing the neighborhood, his children, and the family dynamic. Fiona, he explains, is his rock and has all the best qualities of her mother, but isn't "a raging psycho bitch." Lip has straight As and is "definitely going somewhere." In contrast to this description, Lip is shown running from the cops. Frank thinks very highly of Ian, especially his work ethic. Frank admits he "doesn't really know that much" about Carl except that he loves animals. In contrast to this description, Carl is shown torturing a cat with a blowtorch. Debbie is an angel and "sent by God" according to Frank. He praises he for raising money for UNICEF and notes that "some of it, she actually turns in!" Frank doubts that he is Liam's biological father because Liam is black and resembles his first sponsor (likely through Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous), but thinks he will be a "star." Frank also mentions Kevin and Veronica, their neighbors, who will do anything for each other (or to each other). He notes that they have a lively and experimental sex life and are shown engaging in BDSM. Lastly, Frank describes himself as "father, teacher, mentor, captain of our little ship."
At breakfast, Fiona passes around a box to collect money for the electric bill. Ian needs a permission slip signed by Frank, so Debbie forges his signature. After breakfast, Fiona has to work at a hot dog joint, so she sends Liam with Debbie to school, saying Debbie can show her class Liam's birthmark for show and tell.
Lip goes to Karen's house to tutor her. Karen's mother, Sheila, answers the door and is revealed to be agoraphobic and mysophobic. Liam and Karen work at the dining room table while Sheila prepares food in the kitchen. After playing footsie, Karen sneaks under the table to give Lip a blow job. Despite the open floor plan, Sheila reamins oblivious.
Fiona and Veronica prep to go out. Fiona tries to stop V from taking the tag off her new dress because she plans on returning it the next day, but V tells her not to worry because she has a tag gun at home and can put it back on.
Lip discovers a folder hidden on Ian's side of their shared room. Though there are clippings of naked women glued to the outside of the folder, Lip instead finds gay porn inside. He hides the folder under his mattress and does not mention it to Ian.
At the club, Fiona's purse is stolen. A handsome stranger makes a heroic, but unsuccessful, attempt to stop the thief. The effort impresses Fiona and V who praise him for it. The man, who introduces himself as Steve, punches an infamous bouncer who insulted them and denied them reentry into the club.
That night, while Lip and Ian lie awake in their beds, Lip tells Ian that Karen gave him a blow job. Lip asks Ian if he has ever received a blow job, to which Ian responds, "once or twice." Lip comments on the fact that Ian didn't tell him about it, even though they tell each other everything, and informs Ian that he found the gay porn.
Fiona invites Steve back to the Gallagher house and the two have sex on the kitchen floor, but are interrupted by cops dropping off a completely drunk Frank. Steve leaves shortly after. The next day, Fiona goes to work at a motel and brings Liam with her. Frank goes to the Alibi Room, where Kev tends bar, to drink beer and sign his fraudulent disability check. It is revealed that Frank keeps a large tab open at the bar. Steve returns to the house the next day to ask Fiona out, but she resists his offers. Steve notices that the washing machine is unstable and sends her a new one with the hope of winning Fiona's heart.
Lip is unconvinced that Ian is definitively gay, so he brings him to Karen's house. Karen again sneaks under the dining room table, this time giving Ian a blow job while Sheila and Karen's father, Eddie, are in the kitchen. Eddie realizes what is going on when he bends down to pick up an apple and sees Karen. Eddie chases the Gallagher brothers out of the house, and Lip jumps out the second floor window, injuring his foot. Ian and Lip lie to Fiona about how Lip injured his foot, but Fiona knows they got into some sort of trouble. V comes over to tend to Lip's foot and tells Ian to go to her house to get some supplies. While there, Ian finds Kev naked in bed and sneaks a peak. Kev either does not notice or is unbothered.
Eddie, furious that Karen has disobeyed his religious teachings, gathers his clown collection and leaves his family. Karen is furious at her father and throws a clown that Eddie forgot out the front window. Sheila is still unaware that Karen gave Lip and Ian blow jobs.
Ian goes to work at the Kash and Grab, a small store owned by Kash and Linda, a devout Muslim couple. Later that night, Fiona finds him in the living room throwing small wads of toilet paper into a passed out Frank's mouth. Fiona tells him that he better not have gotten a girl pregnant, to which Ian laughs and tells her, "no worries." Fiona then shakes Frank's leg to retrieve pocket change and gives it to Ian to pay for his field trip.
After Ian goes upstairs, Fiona nearly cries due to the stress she is under and yells at Frank to unsuccessfully wake him up. She then takes his limp hand and pretends that he is patting her on her shoulder and praising her for caring for the kids. After Fiona leaves the room, Debbie enters and places a pink pillow under Frank's head, saying, "Goodnight, Daddy."
Fiona calls Steve back the next day and agrees to go on a real date with him. At the end of the date, Steve reveals to Fiona that he steals cars for a living by stealing a car from the restaurant's valet.
Lip returns to Karen's house and helps secure plywood over the window that Karen broke when Eddie left. He asks Karen if Ian had an erection while Karen gave him a blow job. In response, Karen asks, "Ever try to play pool with a rope?" Sheila, who is distraught due to Eddie's abandonment, brings two glasses of beer out to the teenagers.
Later, Lip goes to the Kash and Grab to return tools that Kash let him borrow to cover the Jacksons' broken window, but he finds the front door locked. He enters the store through the employee entrance and calls out for Kash but gets no response. Kash and Ian soon hurry out of the storage room, and Lip realizes that they were having sex when he walked in because they mixed up their shoes in their rush to put their clothes back on.
That night, Lip confronts Ian, not because he is gay, but because he is having an affair with a married man. Lip is particularly angry that Kash is buying Ian expensive gifts. Ian says that he gives Kash CDs and other gifts, too, evidently trying to prove that their relationship is more than just sex. Ian then tells Lip that he needs to tell Kash that he will not tell anyone about the affair.
Fiona brings Steve back to the house after their date and their kiss is interrupted by Frank, who is once again drunk. The three drink together in the living room and Frank complains that his fraudulent disability benefits are not enough, even though he only worked for the company for a week. He claims that he would get more benefits if he was a single mother instead of a single father. Frank then begins to rant about the kids' mother walking out on the family, but becomes distracted by the song that is playing. Kev and V hear the music and join them. The five adults have an impromptu dance party. Steve is not put off by the family's eccentricities and spends the night.
The next morning, Lip returns the porn folder to Ian and attempts to bond by lightheartedly asking how anal sex is not unhealthy for the digestive system. Ian is hesitant to connect with Lip, but Lip tells him to name a single time that Lip has let him down. Ian reveals that he has had sex with two people: Kash and a boy who used to go to school with them named Roger Spikey. The brothers banter a bit about Roger. Lip again wonders aloud how anal sex is not unhealthy because the digestive system "is one way traffic... it just is." This makes Ian laugh and the boys are on good terms again.
Fiona walks downstairs to see Steve making pancakes for the whole family and learns that Debbie convinced him to make them by lying, saying it was her birthday. Frank is passed out on the kitchen floor with the pink pillow under his head. Steve moves his leg to pull out a chair and sits down for breakfast with the Gallagher family.
- William H. Macy - Frank Gallagher
- Emmy Rossum - Fiona Gallagher
- Justin Chatwin - Steve Wilton / Jimmy Lishman
- Ethan Cutosky - Carl Gallagher
- Shanola Hampton - Veronica Fisher
- Steve Howey - Kevin Ball
- Emma Kenney - Debbie Gallagher
- Cameron Monaghan - Ian Gallagher
- Jeremy Allen White - Phillip "Lip" Gallagher
- Laura Slade Wiggins - Karen Jackson
Special Guest Star
- Tyler Jacob Moore - Tony Markovich
- Joel Murray - Eddie Jackson
- Pej Vahdat - Kash
- Marguerite Moreau - Linda
- This episode is a direct adaptation of Episode 101 of the UK version.
- Liam Gallagher makes a cameo appearance.
- It is implied Liam is the result of his mother's affair but it is revealed in Nana Gallagher Had an Affair, he is Frank's son.
- Episode Runtime- 00:57:43