No shame in watching “Shameless”

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Bob Werner, Voyager Staff Reporter

 Who knew a TV show could focus on the hardships of alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual identity, family troubles, and growing up in the slums, and still keep its viewers laughing all the way through.

  “Shameless,” the Showtime television series, is a difficult show to describe, because the series doesn’t follow just one character’s story. Throughout the series, you’re introduced to a variety of different, interesting characters who all have their own goals and unique narratives.

  Created by Paul Abbott, “Shameless” focuses on the daily struggles of the Gallagher family, living in the run-down streets of Chicago. Calling this family dysfunctional would be an understatement.

   Most of the series focuses on the drunken antics of Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy), the father of six children who basically live in a house by themselves. The oldest of the family, Fiona (played by Emmy Rossum), looks after her siblings and works to support them. In her pursuit to raise her brothers and sisters, the family runs into crazy situations and unthinkable scenarios that no family could even imagine.

  Watching the first season of this show was extremely entertaining, because each episode, the family faced a completely new, wacky task.

  For instance, one of the first episodes focuses on Fiona’s little sister Debbie when she steals a local baby. Then, while the entire town is searching for the baby, the Gallagher’s have to find a way to return the baby without getting caught.

  Another episode from the first season focuses on the Gallagher kids attempting to help their father hide from shady men that are trying to kill him. Throughout the show, Frank always manages to get his family into trouble for something he’s done.

  All these situations that they find themselves in sound awful and intense, and under different circumstances, filmed and directed a different way, they could seem to be very grim. But this show is the epitome of dark comedy. It’s written in a way where tragic events are made fun of, which makes the show refreshing and keeps the audience coming back for more laughs.

  Although it’s a comedic show, the season does have its realistic, heartbreaking moments. For instance, in the first season, a character is introduced in the middle of the show, and the presence of that character affects the entire family emotionally, and you really feel bad about the situation they’re faced with.

  Every character in this show, no matter how immoral or shameless they are, is a fun presence to watch. Whoever is on screen at the moment steals the show, which is a huge accomplishment for a show like this with such an abundance of diverse characters.

  None of these characters are innocent. Everyone of them has their flaws, but that makes them more relatable.

  Take Frank Gallagher: a horrible person who does awful thing after awful thing, but in the end, you still end up rooting for him. Macy plays the antihero role masterfully, causing most of the conflict through the show, he’s a man that is not easily humiliated. He loses a lot throughout the show, so you feel bad for that, but on the other hand, he definitely deserves most of it.

  Other standout characters include Lip (played by Jeremy Allen White) and Ian (played by Cameron Monaghan) who are two of Fiona’s younger brothers that both go through amazing story arches. Lip is a genius, stuck in the ghetto. He doesn’t always use his brains for good, and many think he’s wasting his potential. He’s a hothead who doesn’t always think things through, which always gets him into trouble. Ian, on the other hand, wants to be in the army but isn’t old enough to sign up. A lot of Ian’s story focuses on his being gay and the relationships that he’s involved in.

  Another great character in the show is Fiona’s boyfriend, Steve (played by Jimmy Lishman). Steve comes off as a nice guy, but as the series progresses, he proves himself to be a slimeball. But slimeball or not, he’s such an interesting and mysterious character that you love every scene he’s in.

  This show isn’t for everyone. Living in this harsh environment, the show does a good job of not censoring anything. And when I say anything, I mean NOTHING IS CENSORED. More conservative viewers might want to stay away from this.

  This mix of comedy throughout, sprinkled with truly tragic moments makes for outstanding television, but the aspect that really puts this show above others, are the colorful characters and the actors that portray them.

  Production just started this May on season 8 of the series, so it will hopefully air on TV sometime in the next year. The first six seasons of “Shameless” are all on Netflix for you watch on your own time, so go give it a watch.