Shameless premiered this last weekend on Showtime. This is an odd show that I don’t know what to make of. Based off the long running UK version, Shameless is about a lower class Chicago family, the Gallaghers. The father, Frank (played by William H. Macy), is an alcoholic single father of six. Being the definition of a neer-do-well, he spends his days being drunk, trying to get drunk, or conning people out of money (including his family). Frank is rarely around, and doesn’t share many scenes with the rest of his family who we primarily follow.
Fiona, the oldest daughter (played by the gorgeous Emmy Rossum), has acted as the mother of the family since she was 15. She’s primarily the main character, as we follow her through different times of their lives trying to take care of her siblings (from ages 3 to 18), trying to make ends meat.
Again I don’t know what to make of this show. It’s not poorly acted, written, or filmed. All are high quality actually. My a reservations come from the purpose; what is it? You could ask the same question of any show, and not be able to solidly answer this for most. Many stories (or probably all) can be summarized as “We follow BLANK as they BLANK.” Think about how many shows follow this outline. Many shows thrive on this concept, where each week we tune in to see their latest adventure with everything put back in order by the end credits. But this is typically a procedural type show (House, CSI, etc.) where you could watch any episode in any order, and not really be missing much.
On the opposite side you have shows like Breaking Bad, “Follow Walter White as he cooks Meth.” Simple premise, sure, but try to explain to someone what happened between 10, 3, or even 1 episode. Very complex.
Shameless falls somewhere in between. The drama builds all season long as we follow this down and out family. By the end there’s no real climax, no change, every character is mostly back where they were. Maybe they’ve learned something, changed somehow, but still trying to just making it by. Vicariism at it’s finest.
There’s nothing wrong with this. I enjoy the show. Considering their cast is mostly children, the show takes place in mostly really time where one season would cover their summer, spanning all 3-4 months. The next will pick up 8-9 months laters, allowing the children to age while keeping believability.
I do enjoy watching the show but wonder why should I keep watching? It is entertaining, but every season feels like a fresh start, with everyone still in the same spot, spinning their gears. No character growth.
On an interesting note, Fiona’s love interest is played by Justin Chatwin. He and Emmy Rossum played Goku and Bulma in the horrible live action American Dragonball movie. So, if want to see them pretend bang constantly, there’s that…
Like the show? Hate it? Suggestions for discussions? Comment or tweet!