Shameless (2011- )

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Created by: Paul Abbott
Starring: William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Cameron Monaghan, Ethan Cutkosky, Justin Chatwin, Shanola Hampton, Steve Howey, Emma Kenney, Jeremy Allen White, Laura Wiggins and Joan Cusack

Only during my research for this post did I discover that this Showtime drama is based on a long-standing, award-winning drama of the same name created in Britain in 2004. While IMDB gives the American version a higher rating, I came across some disgruntled fans of the original that made note of the shortcomings of the American remake.  Thankfully, I have not seen the British version and can therefore only comment on the American one.

The show is, well, utterly ‘shameless’.  As we welcome the ne’er-do-well Gallaghers into our homes we are confronted with drug abuse, alcoholism, full nudity, feral sex and comic brutality as Fiona Gallagher, Frank’s eldest daughter, attempts to raise all five of Frank’s children and Frank himself.  There are a cast of characters including the six Gallagher children, sex-addicted neighbours, an agoraphobic adulterer, troubled teens, some closeted gay men, a few criminals, some very disturbed children and Frank Gallagher, the supposed patriarch and raging narcissist.  The camera abandons no one, even if they all abandon each other.

What I like: The show makes me cringe, laugh, cry, gasp and watch, eager for more.  Each character has a fully developed personality and contributes to the whole mess with force and impact in a short time.  I like and dislike everyone almost equally which is both a testament to the writing and to the acting.  The cast is top-notch, starting with William H. Macy who is brilliant as Frank Gallagher, soaked in alcohol and always ready to preach; Emmy Rossum, who plays the burdened Fiona with subtle charm and deep sadness but no elegance; and Joan Cusack, whose neurosis and sexual preferences will have you both wincing and howling; and that is only a few of the characters I have grown to love.

What I dislike: The fact that no one seems to notice the sociopath in their midst and what’s worse I still laugh.

My rating: Count how many times you exclaim to yourself: “My God. They’re shameless!”

IMDB: 8.5

Metacritic: 66%

Season Three Premiere: Sunday, January 13th at 9pm on Showtime

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