Last night was the season 1 finale of Showtime’s newest hit – Shameless. Now this show is based of a British program by the same name, which has been running since January 2004 and just wrapped its 8th season. I’ve never watched the original, but I love this American version. To preface my next statement, let me qualify something – I own over a 1000 DVDs, so what I’m about to say should bear weight.
A couple of years ago a friend was over and we trying to decide what movie to watch. I was told: “I want to watch something without any guns in it, and where no one is killed.”.
I thought that should be a pretty easy thing to work around, but was amazed how many of my DVDs were eliminated right away. It took me a bit of scouring the DVD racks to find something that both met the aforementioned criteria, and wasn’t a Christmas movie. Finally however, we settled on Heavy Weights, but I tell this story to make a point. My taste in films and television shows obviously lean a certain way. With that in mind, I can tell you the Shameless is without a doubt, currently my favorite show on TV that does not revolve around regular gunplay. That’s not to say Shameless is violence-free or anything, but unlike my favorite show overall right now, Justified, our principal character doesn’t shoot someone every week.
Now, I’ll be honest, a big reason I like this show so much is our lead character Fiona Gallagher, who is charged with taking care of her numerous younger siblings since their mother walked out. She is now the pseudo-patriarch of the family, and with a little help from her friends, takes care of her 4 brothers, as well as her sister.
Fiona is played by the gorgeous Emmy Rossum, who aside from being smoking hot, is also an ultra talented actress. I think she proved that in 2004 when she was the lead in The Phantom of the Opera.
And while her body has helped draw attention to the sultry side of the show, it’s her acting that makes it all believable.
The next oldest of the kids, also my next favorite character is ‘Lip’. At 17 he is really the person in the family Fiona most leans on. Lip is ever the smart-ass, an attitude which comes from knowing that he is in fact, almost always the smartest person in the room. While not a main focus early on, Lip’s story arcs are some of the most interesting towards the later end of the season.
As you may have noticed in the picture above there appears to be a father. That would be Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy), who is, in name, the father of the Gallagher clan. However, in name is about as far as it goes. As the season progresses it amazing to imagine how such a man could’ve even fathered 6 children, let alone stayed out of prison long enough to be their legal guardians.
Frank is the town drunk, the town being the south-side of Chicago, and everyone in the neighborhood knows him. Drunk pretty much 24/7 he offers no real help at all to Fiona in raising his own kids.
Those are the 3 characters who really make the show work for me. They are not however, the only characters. This show has an incredibly rich cast of characters. The other kids; Ian, who is almost always at Lip’s side is the ROTC kid who is secretly gay. Debbie is the entrepreneur of the group, always making sure that Fiona can put food on the table. Carl is the simple Gallagher, he likes to blow things up. And finally baby Liam, at 2 years old he was a parting gift from their mother just before she took off. There’s the neighbors Kev and Veronica, Kev also tends bar at Frank’s regular drinking hole. We also get a great comedic performance from Joan Cusack, who is Frank’s agoraphobic girlfriend.
And then there’s Steve. Steve is Fiona’s boyfriend, and represents the ‘chaos factor’ for her. While to use, her life appears to already be rather chaotic, she have been able to cope and adjust to it. Steve brings in a whole new set of circumstances which, while foreign to her, seem logical to us. Steve is the audience’s bridge into the world of the Gallaghers.
As the first season ended, I realized how attached I’ve become to the characters. Through 12 episodes I’ve really made a connection with this fictional family of degenerates, and that’s not something I can say about most shows. Also I love the opening song…
Without wanting to give away any major plot points, I will avoid telling you specific events, but I can tell you that this show is definitely worth your time. So if you’re time is valuable, and that puts restraints on the amount you watch, push this show to the top of you list.
If you’d like to check it out, you can see the first 20 minutes of the Pilot and judge for yourself at MOVIE WEB.