Pilot is the very first episode of the US version of Shameless. It originally aired on January 9, 2011.
In the season one premiere, drunken father Frank Gallagher 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 Gallagher describing the neighborhood, his children, and the family dynamic. He introduces his six kids: eldest daughter Fiona, who resembles the "best qualities of her mother"; eldest son Lip, who is extremely intelligent; the goofy and strong-hearted Ian; the troublemaking delinquent Carl; the mature and grounded Debbie; and baby Liam, whom Frank doubts is his biological son, because Liam is black and resembles his first sponsor. Frank also introduces their neighbors, Kevin and Veronica, who have a lively and experimental sex life.
Following a chaotic breakfast at the Gallagher house, Lip visits the house of Karen Jackson, a classmate whom he is scheduled to tutor. Karen's mother, Sheila, answers the door microscopically; Karen later reveals that Sheila is agoraphobic and has mysophobia. While studying at the dining room table, Karen sneaks under the table and gives Lip a blow job. When Lip questions her, Karen reveals that "Science just turns me on."
In his shared bedroom, Lip discovers a folder hidden behind a dresser on Ian's side of the room. Lip opens the folder and discovers gay porn glued inside. He hides the folder under his mattress and does not mention his findings to Ian. Later, Lip and Ian lie awake in their beds. Lip tells Ian that Karen gave him a blow job, and asks Ian if he has ever received one; 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; Lip then grabs the folder from under the mattress and confronts Ian about it.
Meanwhile, Fiona and Veronica go dancing at a club, where Fiona's purse gets stolen. A handsome stranger makes a heroic, but unsuccessful, attempt to stop the thief. The effort impresses the girls, who praise him for it. The man, who introduces himself as Steve, offers Fiona a drink; Fiona accepts the offer, but they are denied re-entry by a tough-looking bouncer. When the bouncer insults Fiona, Steve punches the bouncer and flees, running away with an impressed Fiona and Veronica. Fiona invites Steve back to the Gallagher house and the two have sex on the kitchen floor; however, they are quickly interrupted by the police, who have arrived to drop off a drunk and unconscious Frank. This prompts Steve to leave.
The next day, Steve returns to the house the next day to ask Fiona out, but she resists his offers, dismissing him as desperate; she exclaims, "You can get laid anywhere." Steve clocks that the Gallaghers' washing machine is unstable, and he buys her a new one with the hopes of winning Fiona's heart.
Lip is unconvinced that Ian is definitively gay, so he brings him over to Karen's house. Karen performs oral sex on Ian while Sheila and her father, Eddie, are in the kitchen. When an apple drops on the ground, Eddie bends over to pick it up and notices Karen underneath the table. Realizing what was going on, Eddie chases the two Gallagher brothers out of the house; Lip jumps out the second floor window, severely injuring his foot. Furious that Karen has disobeyed his religious teachings, Eddie packs his bags and moves out of the house.
While Veronica tends to Lip's foot, Fiona receives the washing machine that Steve gifted her. Impressed by the gift, Fiona calls Steve back and agrees to go on a real date with him. At the end of the date, Steve dresses up as a car valet outside the restaurant and steals a couple's car. Steve confesses to Fiona that he actually steals cars for a living, increasing Fiona's appeal for him.
Lip goes to the Kash and Grab, a local convenience store that Ian works at. After finding the front door locked, Lip enters the store through the back entrance; Ian and his boss, Kash, then hurry out of the storage room. Lip notices that they are wearing odd sneakers and realizes that the two were having sex; he angrily exclaims "You're fucking him?!" and storms out. When Ian returns home, Lip confronts him; he is angry not because Ian is gay, but because he is having an affair with a married man. When Lip discovers that Kash is buying Ian expensive gifts, Ian responds that he gives Kash CDs and other gifts too, evidently trying to prove that their relationship is more than just sex. Ian tells Lip to promise that he will not tell anyone about the affair.
Fiona brings Steve back to the house after their date; their kiss is interrupted by a drunken Frank. The three drink together in the living room, and Steve gets to learn more about Fiona's upbringing; it is revealed that Frank's estranged wife, Monica, had run away from the family, leaving only Fiona to fend for her siblings and deal with Frank.
The next morning, Lip returns the porn folder to Ian and attempts to joke around. 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 former classmate named Roger Spikey. The two brothers banter and laugh, seeming to be on good terms again.
Fiona heads downstairs and is delighted to discover Steve making pancakes for the whole family. As the family starts to eat breakfast, Steve stares at Frank, who is passed out on the kitchen floor next to the dining table. Steve moves Frank's leg to pull out a chair, then sits down to join the Gallagher family eating breakfast.
- 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.
- It is implied in the introduction Liam is the result of his mother's affair; however, it is revealed in Nana Gallagher Had an Affair that Frank is Liam's biological father.
- Episode Runtime - 00:57:43