As October 2 approaches and season 7 of Showtime’s hit series Shameless bares down on us like Frank Gallagher’s jaundiced existence, it’s the perfect time catch up with America’s favorite fucked up family unit, the Gallaghers. As if the cast from Fuller House started taking meth full-time, the Gallagher family combines absolute mayhem with good ol’ fashion insanity. Now streaming on Netflix are the first 6 seasons of the British reboot that follows the life and times of The Gallagher’s, a strong family unit that just can’t get out of their own way.
At the head of the circus is Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) Father of 6, an alcoholic narcissist with anti-social behavior and the blood of Satan running through his veins. A pure embodiment of entitlement, oblivious to responsibility, decency, or humility, he careens through life taking what he can, jostling anyone in his path, and destroying the hopes of all who come close to him. Venomous in spirit and malevolent in action, he knows no boundaries. Intelligent and crafty, his anti-establishment beliefs coupled by his raging alcoholism puts him in precarious positions by the minute, and sometimes can make him an affable personality, but it quickly dissipates. We want Frank to show a shred of decency, to crack through the veil of mediocrity, but he doesn’t. He’s belligerent in his destruction of mankind. A missile of despair, heading toward, well, everyone. Macy is masterful in his characterization of Gallagher. We love to hate him, and wish the worst for him. But don’t worry, no one hates Frank Gallagher more than Frank Gallagher does.
Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) is the oldest Gallagher and is tasked with carrying the load her deadbeat libertarian father graced her with. Under the roof are her siblings Lip (Jeremey Allen White), Ian (Cameron Monaghan), Carl (Ethan Cutkosky), Debbie (Emma Kenney), and baby Liam. The controlled chaos that is Fiona’s life earns her major credits as she begs, borrows, and steals to keep a roof over her head and food on the table. Although oppressed by her situation, she takes it in stride, until she doesn’t, and then the wheels fall off. Fiona is a master of the hustle, her nose is clean for the most part, other than her horrific choice in mating partners. Breaking the Guinness world record for daddy issues, she bounces around looking for something that makes sense with a male counterpart, but all it does is unravel her world more and more. We soon find out, being a screw up is simply a Gallagher specialty.
As the two juggernauts of the family fight for independence and relevance, there’s a cornucopia of sub plots bubbling beneath the surface that make Shameless a 10/10. The sheer magnificence of the anarchy is mystifying. Each story is intertwined and exhausting. And all we wonder is will someone make a good decision at some point in this damn family? For the most part, the answer is no…no they won’t. And that’s the tragic beauty of Shameless. The elegance in which they accept their despair is biblical. They simply don’t give up, and even when they do, they take everyone down with them. They’re the proverbial sinking ship, the car crash we cannot look away from. Shameless feeds our overtly voyeuristic nature and makes us feel like we have it a bit better than the Gallaghers do, even though we can all relate to them in some way.
But before you click play, keep in mind that the producer unlocked the sex cheat code for the show, and there are loads of nudity and sexual situations. By the end of season 6, I was perfectly comfortable with seeing Emmy Rossum’s lady bits, just from sheer overexposure. I was tapped out, but wait! The inappropriateness doesn’t stop there. The show doesn’t shy away from completely desensitizing its audience, so If you like nakedness and sexytime in every imaginable scenario, the show will most likely give you at least one nightmare during your binge.
Overall, Shameless is a pure symphony of chaos, and very easy to digest, even with the surly nature of the subject matter. Nothing is off-limits, and it will break every misconception you have about what’s appropriate for television. I highly recommend clicking play on your Netflix browser.