This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Shameless being covered here wouldn’t exist.
I missed the Shameless craze when it was on the air. And it was sheer curiosity and the current Hollywood strike, which I totally support the WGA and SAG in their fight for adequate pay, that I decided to hit play and jump on the show that I’ve heard so much about. While I am only in season 3, I’ve got some strong opinions. Fiona definitely needs to put herself first. Lip needs to stop self-sabotaging. Sheila is an absolute mood. Veronica and Kevin are goals even when they’re doing weird ass shit. But most importantly, Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) is the biggest piece of shit I have ever seen on TV.
This assessment comes from a fascination with shit characters and how they push the boundaries of storytelling and the human experience. And I thought that the characters on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia were the worst kind of people on TV. But here comes Frank Gallagher to put every single one of those characters to shame. Because he embodies the title of this show and is a self-centered asshole who doesn’t care who he destroys if it means he has a roof over his head, alcohol and his stomach, and a lead on the next bit of money he can make.
On Shameless he centers himself as the father of the Gallagher children and intercedes on their lives consistently. He also fights Fiona for custody and acts like he has a say in their lives. But he never acts as a parent. He uses his children to get what he needs and has no shame. And he has abandoned his children on the side of the road, left them with no food or roof over their heads, called child services on them, and made one of them believe that they had cancer. Let’s not forget that he lied about their aunt dying, buried her in the yard, and collected her disability for 14 years without giving a cent to his children.
Frank being the biggest asshole on TV goes far and beyond the way that he treats his children. To keep a roof over his head he enables cheaters, liars, and criminals. As for Sheila, he continuously used her fears and mental condition to get her to stay in the house and be dependent on him while she was paying for everything. At one point he even took the money that Sheila gave him for a pediatrician appointment and went to a bar. He then asked the bartender for a thumbtack, a shot, and a Band-Aid. He then proceeded to prick the baby as proof that he took the baby to the doctor so he could lie and drink all day.
And this is only up to season 3. Shameless goes up to season 11 and I cannot even fathom the debauchery and shit show that Frank Gallagher is going to get into to live up to the name of this show. Because he is literally the biggest piece of shit and everyone on this show would be better off without him. But then we wouldn’t have a show so here we are. So I’ll continue watching and ranting about a show that I clearly missed out on the hype while supporting the WGA and SAG as they fight for adequate pay that honors the work that they’ve done, including what they’ve done on Shameless.