It would be such a shame for you to miss any more episodes of Showtime’s hit series, Shameless, and here’s why. This Academy Award winning show (based on the UK version) is a hodgepodge of emotion; a mix of jaw-dropping drama (tongue twister), somewhat mindless activity, and, in the end, always a rush of adrenaline watching a comeback of the underdog. I want to tell you that if you haven’t joined the hype of Shameless, start binge-watching all six seasons now because this show bestows the ultimate TV watching experience, incorporating “all the feels”.
The primary focus of the show, the Gallagher family, consists of; Fiona (older sister and step-in mother/child raiser), Lip (sexy bad boy/genius), Ian (Army enlistee and confidently out-of-the-closet), Debbie (rageful and passionate teenager), Carl (notorious troublemaker), Liam (the baby), and Frank (alcoholic, money-hungry father). The setting takes place in the underserved South Side of Chicago and the family’s tumultuous lifestyle leaves the viewers itching for more. While the first season starts off centering on the dynamic of this motherless household, the following seasons evolve into a much wider range of impacted characters. Nonetheless, the Gallagher family invites us into their home and demonstrates what it means to stick together, and that no matter what irresponsible decisions they all make, their overall intent is to create better lives for themselves and each other. It seems impossible a task, at times, however this family shows the world what it truly means to be ‘shameless’ in a place where you sometimes must do the unthinkable in order to survive.
Frank, played by William H. Macy, is an absentee father whose addiction has both torn apart and strengthened the family bond. While he’s perceived as the man who will sell his child’s soul for a buck (which he has most likely tried to do more than once), it becomes apparent that the Gallaghers subconsciously allow him to continuously reappear because he’s at least stuck around longer than their mother, even if it’s just because he has burned all other bridges. To me, Frank comes off as one of the most low key intelligent characters in the show, whose word has come to mean nothing due to the nature of his unreliable and erratic behavior over the years. The entertainment aspect of Frank’s life comes from his ability to go to the greatest of lengths (ahem, convincing his son Carl that he has cancer as one of his money-grubbing schemes) to get what he wants, which he somehow always does. As unrealistic as Frank’s character may seem, he’s extremely important because his influence sets the precedent for what manipulative actions we’ll see from his kids.
Each of the six children, on the other hand, come to terms with their lack of shame at different times and under different circumstances. For Ian, it might be the time he enlisted in the Army using his older brother’s identity because he was underage. For Lip, it might be when he decided to engage in an affair with his married professor and continued to sleep with her...in front of her husband. TBH though, who wouldn’t want to risk it with Lip? Although Debbie starts off more reserved and forgiving of the neglect by her parents, she finally grows into her natural, teenage, hormonal bitchiness and starts rebelling hardcore. At the age of fifteen, she purposely gets pregnant by her boyfriend at the time in hopes that it would lead to marriage (it doesn’t). As the honorary Mother of the household, Fiona must do everything in her power to make sure her siblings are on the right path to success, or least staying out of harm’s way. While she makes mistakes...a lot...she is still portrayed as the hardworking and motivational older sister that we all expect her to be. At only 23 years old, Fiona manages to run the house and provide for her family enough so that no one goes hungry. She’s also pretty hot and has a lot of sex, so that’s another reason to watch.
My favorite relationship (and probably the rest of the world’s favorite) is that of Kev and V. They are the neighbors and best friends of the Gallagher family and, without a doubt, one of the most inspirational couples I have ever watched on TV. Not only do they bring the humor and light-heartedness to the screen, but they also go through some rough shit as a couple and are somehow still obsessed with each other. Honestly, words won’t really do this dynamic duo any justice, so just get off your ass (episode intro reference), watch the show, and you’ll see what I mean.
When I find myself utterly entertained and thirsty for more Shameless, I remind myself to be mindful that these are the everyday lives of not only the fictitious Gallagher family and their friends, but of many of my fellow Chicagoans. While it’s almost unbelievable to the viewer, these scenarios are real-life to a large percentage of the population. The fact that Ian has nothing but support by his family after coming out as being gay, or that Lip is able to make it to college despite the odds, or that after committing a felony (albeit accidental) Fiona still ends up serving very little jail time, proves that no matter how real this show can get, there is still a distinct dichotomy in the world of TV and real-life. However, in my opinion, this show does a good job of bringing important issues to light, while also being realistic about pleasing its audience.