A failed scam sends Carl to summer camp on Showtime’s ‘Shameless’

When Frank (William H. Macy), the alcoholic lead character of Showtime’s Shameless, sees a cancer patient receiving an autographed basketball from the Chicago Bulls on TV at the bar, he decides to tell his son Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) he has cancer that he “caught” from his grandmother in the “May I Trim Your Hedges?” episode that aired on Jan. 27.

For effect, Frank shaves Carl’s head, doing an especially bad job on it to make it look like his hair really is falling out, and goes to Wishing Lane, a Make-A-Wish-like organization with his sob story. When he asks about Carl getting to meet the Bulls, the well-meaning worker informs him that she would be able to arrange it for next year. Frank snaps at her, saying Carl doesn’t have a year left. Still trying to help, the Wishing Lane worker pulls out a summer camp brochure for Camp Happy Hopes.

“All the spots are full, but there’s a quadriplegic. He won’t get much out of it. I can bump him for Carl,” she says. Frank isn’t too happy with the idea – “What the hell am I supposed to do with a trip to cancer camp?” – but Carl’s eyes light up. “I’ve never been to camp!”

Shameless, indeed.


The preview for the next episode airing on Feb. 10 shows Carl talking about going to the camp so there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing more of Camp Happy Hopes in a couple weeks.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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