|L-R: Debbie, Fiona, Liam, Frank, Lip, Carl and Ian|
Meet the Gallagher's: a financial struggling and dysfunctional family from Chicago where the issue of money is just the tip of the iceberg.
Frank (William H. Macy) is the alcoholic father who's rarely ever home to support his six children and spends all of this money on alcohol, drugs and more alcohol. He's always in trouble, running away from something or someone, scamming others for money and getting involved with psychotic women. The things he gets up to will shock you and have you shaking your head in disbelief. He's a horrible character you will hate, but you can't help but like him at the same time.
Fiona (Emmy Rossum) is the older sister who takes care of her siblings, acting as the mother/guardian of her family. She works hard to support them and pay the bills, but struggles to keep her siblings (as well as herself) out of trouble.
Philip, known as Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is the second eldest in the family. He's extremely smart academically and takes over his father Frank when it comes to scamming people for money. He loves to smoke weed and he is seen as a bit of a caring womaniser throughout the series and always finds himself in trouble with the girls he has sex with.
Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is the third eldest, and although their family (minus Frank) are pretty close, he is closest with his brother Philip. As a teenage boy hiding in the shadows of being gay, his dream is to become an officer in the army, but due to his age, he can't register until he turns 18. Ian's character and story becomes quite complex during each season which is one of the main reasons why he is my favourite character in the show. Not only is he worried about what people will think about his sexuality and his trouble-making boyfriend Mickey (Noel Fisher), he also later on struggles with a serious issue that will tug at your heart strings.
Debbie (Emma Kenney) is the youngest sister who goes from being the cute, smart dorky innocent girl, to a young teenager struggling to fit in and making bad and stupid decisions. I will admit during the beginning of the show, I really liked Debbie's character, however during Season 4 and 5, she becomes somewhat frustrating (especially at the end of Season 5).
Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is the second youngest boy and the most troubled. He loves getting into fights, torturing animals (not seen in the show thankfully) and bullying kids at school. He is seen as a psychopath with a tendency to become a serial killer/criminal. Although most people would hate a child like Carl and his ways, you see another side to him when he helps his father. Like Frank, you will have a love hate relationship with Carl.
Liam is the youngest in the entire family. Not much is to be said since he's so young and in his early toddler and child years, but he definitely has purpose on the show.
There are many more interesting and twisted characters in the show such as V and Kev, a couple addicted to sex who live next door, and Ian's boyfriend Mickey who bring a lot more to series, but I won't spoil anything else.
The Good (Overall: Season 1–5)
- Addicting to watch
- Shocking to the point that it's funny or tragic
- A show you'll never forget
- Seasons 1–3 had a decent storyline (they were the best and strongest seasons)
- Enjoyable to show
- Likable characters
- Amazing actors (especially Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher, Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy)
- Has its fair share of drama and romance (apart from comedy)
- Isn't afraid to cross certain lines unlike most TV shows
- Leaves you wanting more.
The Bad (Overall: Mainly Seasons 4–5)
- A lot of plot holes
- Certain things happen and it's never spoken of again (eg. Lip with the assault rifle)
- Some situations serve no purpose or effect
- Storyline weakens in Season 4 and 5 (poorly written in terms of narrative)
- Most characters suddenly change and become somewhat unlikable in 4 and 5 or disappear
- During Seasons 4–5, I found Debbie, Fiona and V became annoying and frustrating
- Certain character's stories and character arcs lacked, didn't make sense, didn't have much effect, weren't relevant and most of the time they get off easy for criminal offences.
Although there are a mix of pros and cons, I went into this show not expecting much and found it to be surprisingly good. As I mentioned in The Bad section above (the cons), Seasons 4 and 5 noticably lacked so many things and went a bit downhill for me. They were still enjoyable to watch though, but I found myself at times mentally going:
Shameless definitely isn't a show for everyone, it's definitely not a family time show either. Some viewers may find it offensive, overally sexual and outrageous, but if you don't mind a bit of dark and crude humour, you will definitely enjoy this one! The best way to describe it would be a bittersweet treat to watch and a trainwreck you just can't turn away from.
Highly recommend, awesome TV Series!