Shameless is a long-running Showtime series that follows William F. Macy’s character Frank Gallagher, a notorious alcoholic who lives with his six children on the brink of extreme poverty. Although the premise sounds like you’re in for a tragic drama, the showrunners manage to bring this serious theme much closer to a light-hearted comedy than you would initially expect.
When season ten ended on January 10th 2020, many fans wondered if Showtime would release another season of the misadventures of the Gallagher family. With 122 episodes available at the moment, hopes are high for another season.
Thanks to the success of this unconventional comedy, it’s been confirmed that Shameless will return for one more season. Although once it airs in the summer of 2020, the show will finally conclude, ending its nine-year run.
With fans used to a twelve episode format per season, season nine was an exception, bringing two extra episodes. Compared to those 14 episodes, unfortunately, season 11 is planned to feature only four.
Having so few episodes to end the series, hopefully, Showtime will be able to resolve all the open plot threads and provide a closure to satisfy the fans. At least most of them. Whether it’ll end on a happy note or provide an open-ended conclusion to the Gallagher story, it will definitely be interesting to see how these final few hours play out.
What’s the Show About?
If you’re wondering what Shameless is all about, here’s a brief rundown.
Set in Chicago’s South Side, a part of the city ridden with poverty, the show revolves around the Gallagher family. As such, they snuggly fit into their neighborhood’s landscape.
Frank Gallagher’s bi-polar wife Monica left him for another woman sometime before the show starts. This leaves Frank struggling to raise his six children by himself. Being an alcoholic and a drug abuser doesn’t help very much. Usually absent from home, or intoxicated while he’s there, his children are left to their own devices.
His eldest daughter, Fiona, takes the role of the head of the house, as she tends to their home and her siblings. She even manages to become their legal guardian, as long as she’s able to provide “food and shelter” for all of them.
Frank’s eldest son, Phillip “Lip” Gallagher, is of above-average intelligence and a great student. Unfortunately, he basically squanders these qualities in pursuit of easy money. You can see him earning cash by helping others on their SATs or selling beer and weed from an ice cream truck. Like his father, he also abuses drugs and drinks a lot, while chasing various women.
The third oldest child of the family is Ian. A closet gay, he works at a local shop and has a secret love affair with his manager, a man with a family of his own. Just like his mother, Ian also has a bi-polar disorder. And if that’s not enough, Ian realizes in his teen years that Frank isn’t his biological father.
The next in line of children is Deborah. A quite resourceful child who manages to find her way around various situations, always managing to turn them to her favor. However, she became a teenage mother when she gave birth to her daughter Franny.
Then comes Carl, basically a good kid, but corrupted by the dysfunctional nature of his family. With interests in weapons, explosives, video games, and death, he cares deeply for his loved ones, especially his father. Ultimately, he ends up playing the tough guy and spends six months in a juvenile correction facility.
The youngest in the family is Liam, an African American-looking child, believed to be a result of one of Monica’s affairs. As it turns out, he actually is Frank’s biological son, thanks to genes from Frank’s father, an African American musician with whom his mother Peggy had a brief affair.
Phew! Such a mix up, right? With all these colorful characters, it’s no wonder why Shameless is the longest-running series in Showtime’s history, and one of their most successful.
A Retread of the Original British Show
Showtime’s Shameless is actually an adaptation of the English black comedy of the same name. Set in Manchester, it explores the culture of British working class through the lens of the alcoholic father of six, Frank Gallagher.
It aired on British public service television network Channel 4, from 2004 to 2013. In 2005, the show won BAFTA TV award for Best Drama Series, as well as British Comedy Awards’ Best TV Comedy. With eleven seasons, the show had such an impact that it’s been adapted not only in the US, but in Russia and Turkey as well.
The Genius of Frank Gallagher
Frank may be an alcoholic, a drug abuser, and an overall bad influence on his family, but he’s also a secret genius. Incredibly eloquent for a person in such a state, he uses his overwhelming intelligence to abuse both the people he encounters, as well as the system that pressures him.
As such, he manages to get exactly what he wants from (almost) every situation. Using his street smart and witty language, he somehow finds a way out of predicaments he gets himself into.
One of his most notable rants is when he appears in his grandson’s school to argue over Chuckie’s anti-Semitic presentation. Reflecting upon the First Amendment, he calls out the school’s attempts to censor a child so they can obtain a forced inclusive environment. He uses this opportunity to point out how capitalism will conquer all cultural, religious, and racial divides, ultimately leaving only two sides: the rich and the poor.
No Shame in Watching
With the final season coming later this year, it’s definitely been a fun ride with the Gallagher family. Regardless of Shameless being fiction, it’s always heart-warming to watch people find their way in the face of adversity. Hopefully, the show will end on a happy note.
Have you seen the latest season of Shameless? How would you like for the show to end? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.