Thursday, 12 June 2014

TV Spotlight Thursday (2) - Shameless

Welcome back to my new feature! As you may know, I'm a huge TV buff, and want to share with you some of my favourite shows and some of the things that I like best (and hate most) about them.

Warning: this post contains a LOT of gifs.
This week's spotlighted programme is:

At the heart of Shameless are the Gallaghers, a chaotic, down-and-out family in the South Side of Chicago. Based on a popular UK program, Shameless is best known for its incredible sense of humour, but it can also be absolutely heart-wrenching. Surprisingly, the US version is better than the UK original. I know, consider me shocked. This never happens when it comes to American re-makes. The important thing to remember about Shameless is that after the first season, the two shows go in very different directions. Also, the US version has much higher production values, which makes it easier to watch (for me at least). 

Regardless, it is one of the best shows I've ever seen. It does have a lot of, ahem, adult content, so be forewarned. There's a lot of sex and foul language and nudity and violence. But good god is it worth the sense of corruption that you may experience whilst watching it. My favourite thing about Shameless is that it is absolutely realistic. Yes, it is over the top. Yes, these situations don't arise in most people's lives. But there is an undercurrent of realism in the show that allows for a truly poignant look at the underprivileged, and how privilege affects both those who have it and those who don't. 

Emmy Rossum as Fiona Gallagher
Warning: Fiona is never allowed to stay happy for long. I believe she's nineteen in the first season, and she is the glue keeping her family together. She is the only mother figure her younger siblings have. Fiona hasn't had an easy life, and she makes bad decisions sometimes. She tries to do the best thing for her family and her friends, but sometimes she lets her desire for fun overrule her logic. In the hands of anyone but Emmy Rossum, I don't think that Fiona would be nearly as sympathetic as she is. That said, she's a perfect example of the incredibly complicated characters Shameless has to offer. She makes mistakes, just like the rest of the world. The problem is that mistakes sometimes have harsh consequences. At the end of the day, Fiona is one of my favourite characters no matter how much she screws up.

Jeremy Allen White as Lip Gallagher
Lip is the second-oldest Gallagher kid. He's pretty much a genius, but he's also stupendously lazy when it comes to school. He just doesn't care about education - he'd rather get drunk and have sex and be a general fuck-up. There are a lot of things that I don't like about Lip, but sometimes he does something incredible and I just get a surge of joy for him. He can be very judgemental at times, and is somewhat of a hypocrite, but I think that's what makes him interesting. Like Fiona, he'd drop anything for his family if they need him to. 

Cameron Monaghan as Ian Gallagher
Ian is a very interesting character. I honestly don't know how to describe him. At the beginning of season one, he's a closeted gay kid who is having an affair with his (married) boss, but he's so much more than that. Ian is quiet and could easily be lost in the cacophony of his boisterous family, but he never is. You know what, let's not talk about Ian. If you want to learn about Ian, go watch the show. It can explain him so much better than I ever could.

Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher
In seasons one and two, Debbie is an innocent child. She's absolutely adorable, with her round face and unruly red hair. She's actually one of my favourite characters because she is so unlike everyone else. Debbie faces a lot of changes personality-wise as she goes through puberty around the third and fourth seasons. She is less innocent, wide-eyed child and more angry teenager, but I love her all the same. She wants so badly to grow up and to be like all of the other girls she knows, but she doesn't really know what she's asking for. She longs for the illusion of adulthood she sees in her friends - she wants to be seen as pretty and happy and confident, but doesn't realise that there is more to growing up than appearances.

Ethan Cutkosky as Carl Gallagher
Carl is a little hellion. He's unruly - his favourite activities are blowing things up and making shivs out of household objects. He's basically a juvenile delinquent in the making. In the first few seasons, Carl functions more as a background member of the family. He's there on the sidelines causing a ruckus, but it isn't until season three and four that he gets some real story lines of his own. While is kind of a nut job, Carl is in many ways the moral centre of the show. He's the only character left who hasn't been completely corrupted by his surroundings. He still has hope in the world, something his older siblings have long lost.

Blake and Brennan Johnson as Liam Gallagher
Liam is the youngest Gallagher. He doesn't really have much personality other than cute. He gets tossed around among the kids a lot, functioning mostly as a plot device and complication. But he's so cute that I just can't care. His role does increase in season four, as he's central to a VERY important event that occurs, though he has been important to many stories throughout the seasons. Nobody knows why he's black, considering both of his parents are white. He just is.

A few other highlights include William H. Macy as deadbeat Gallagher patriarch Frank, Shanola Hampton and Steve Howey as ever-entertaining neighbours Veronica and Kev, and Joan Cusack as the agoraphobic mother of Lip's girlfriend Karen.

Confession time: I don't actually have any particular ship on this show because all of the relationships are, pardon my language, absolutely fucked. In lieu of my own favourite romantic relationship, I'll briefly mention the most popular ship in the Shameless fandom.

Gallavich is Ian Gallagher and Mickey Milkovich. That gif-set makes them look way cuter than they actually are. They have their moments, but I'm pretty sure most of the attention they get is due to the fact that Cam Monaghan is a cutie pie and that there is a serious drought of gay couples on TV. And there's nothing fangirls like better than gay white guys. Am I wrong? Anyway, they have a super dysfunctional relationship because Mickey is so far in the closet that he literally beats Ian up at one point. Yeah. Not the healthiest couple. There is a lot of character development between season one and season four, which does make them significantly more palatable, but I have no patience for abuse.

Oooh! I just remembered that there is in fact one amazing super-couple on this show that everyone should (and I'm pretty sure does) love! Kev and V! 
They literally have the best relationship ever and I aspire to their love for one another. They are the epitome of soul mates, and kinky as fuck to boot! They're pretty much perfect, though they definitely have arguments and their relationship is put to the test on various occasions. 

On that note, Shameless is definitely a show you should be watching (have you downloaded the first episode yet? Go do it! Now! I'll be here when you get back!). If you watch Shameless or start watching it, talk to me about it on twitter or in the comments! If there's one thing I like more than talking about books, it's talking about TV.

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