Shameless is an American comedy-drama, which airs on Showtime. The show has completed five seasons and the sixth one is set to premiere on January 10, 2016. The show is in fact a remake of the award-winning British series of the same name. The show, which was originally created by John Wells, is brought to the American audience by John Wells. Both John Wells and Paul Abbott are also the executive producers of the show. The other executive producers are Mark Mylod, Andrew Stearn, Christopher Chulack, Nancy M. Pimental, Davey Holmes and Sheila Callaghan.
Gallagher family is completely dysfunctional. The main reason for this is the father of six, Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy). Frank is an alcoholic and is in a perpetual stupor. That is to say that he is far from anything that resembles a responsible father. For all practical purposes, he is completely absent from his children’s life. Against this background, the children are left with no choice but to learn the ways of the world by themselves. Like a headless chicken left to wander, the children have no one to look up to and each of them is evolving through the series in a complex manner. Sometimes their antics draw laughter, while at other times, the audience is left to wonder whether it is even okay to laugh at them. The fact that the Gallaghers are poor, does not help their situation either.
Academy Award nominee William H. Macy dons the role of Frank Gallagher. He is the father of six children, although technically he is not the biological father of Ian. He is almost always found in his drunken stupor without a shred of care for his children. But, he can and has displayed a remarkable degree of care and concern for his children in times of need. Despite talking big and taking moral authority on social issues, his primary source of income is cheating the system, or people for money.
Frank’s oldest daughter Fiona is played by Emmy Rossum. With her father being completely hopeless at taking care of the family, the responsibility of the family fell on her. This made her a strong, selfless and a completely giving person. She quit her high school so that she could take care of the family by working. She has worked a number of dead-end jobs just to pull her family through another day of survival. She does have a wild side to her, but the pressure of taking care of her family usually keeps her in the reigns. Her selflessness is the reason why she is often manipulated and taken advantage of.
The second eldest child in the family is Philip “Lip” Gallagher, portrayed by Jeremy Allen White. He is a smart guy with an above average intelligence. But, he is hooked on to marijuana and casual sex, and even steals vehicles when he can or needs to. The third sibling is Ian. He suffers from bipolar disorder, a condition that his mother was diagnosed with as well. When he was underage, he used Lip’s identity to register with the military. His gay relationship with the neighbor, Mickey Milkovich has been one of the highlights of the show. The fourth sibling, Debbie, played by Emma Kenney, has been a character in development. She is still in her early teen years, and has been eager to lose her virginity for quite some time. While she is quite mature in many ways, she was usually the innocent one in the family, until recently.
The second youngest Gallagher sibling, Carl, is a 13 year old kid, who is struggling to find his identity. He expresses some psychopathic tendencies, often such as mutilating his dolls, fighting with his classmates, and a general disobedience to rules. However, unlike other family members, Carl has a soft side for his father after Frank convinces Carl that he (Carl) has cancer. Eventually Frank tells Carl that he is cured. Carl is portrayed by Ethan Cutkosky. The other members of the cast include Justin Chatwin (Jimmy Lishman), Shanola Hampton (Veronica Fisher), Steve Howey (Kevin Ball), Joan Cusack (Sheila Jackson), and others.
The idea to create an American version of the Shameless TV series was first considered by HBO. The network, in fact, signed a deal with John Wells in January, 2009. However, by the end of the year, the show found home in the lap of Showtime. John Wells Productions produced the pilot for the series in December of 2009, after which it got a nod for twelve more episodes. Among the first people cast for their roles were William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, and Justin Chatwin. Both Emmy and Justin had previously worked together on Dragonball Evolution. The pilot version had Allison Janney playing the role of Sheila, one of Frank’s love interests. However, she was replaced by Joan Cusack, starting with Season 1. The filming of the show began in mid-September. The show is filmed in two different locations. While the interiors are all shot in Los Angeles, the exteriors are mainly filmed in the North Lawndale community area of Chicago.
Shameless has widely received critical acclaim for its hard hitting portrayal of the everyday lives of the people, who are rarely given a second thought by the society. The audience too has had a positive growing response to the show. When the show debuted in 2011, it started with a viewership of only 0.98 million. At the time, it was Showtime’s biggest turnout for a sales premiere in over 8 years. Over time, it even reached a viewership of 2 million.
The show has received a number of awards in various categories. Both the show and the cast have won awards such as a Primetime Emmy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, BMI Film & TV Awards, multiple Prism Awards, and so on. Apart from these, Shameless has received innumerable award nominations, including the likes of Golden Globe Awards, Critics’ Choice Television Awards, the Satellite Awards, and many more.