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Shameless: Season 1
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Meet Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy): proud, working-class patriarch to a motley brood of six smart, spirited and independent kids who, without him, would be…better off! In Frank's booze-addled view, parenting just eats into his hard-earned bar-crawling and carousing time around Chicago – so he leaves it to eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) to hold down the fort. Bearing the de facto parent badge/burden, she makes sure her younger siblings do their chores, keep a clean(ish) home and feed the Gallagher family fund jar because the gas bill is due, and everyone (no matter how small) works to keep the house lights on, as well as food on the table. Brothers Lip, Ian and Carl use their intellect to break every rule in the book to survive and make the bank, while younger sister Debbie would sooner steal her share. Liam, the youngest, is just happy to be along for the ride. The Gallaghers are irreverent, endearing, resilient – and they're absolutely, wildly and unapologetically SHAMELESS.]]>
The estimable William H. Macy stars as Frank Gallagher, the drunken paterfamilias and all-around loser. While he may have a shred of a conscience in there somewhere (as one character says of him, "Deep down, I think Frank is capable of doing the right thing"), far more often than not it's his children (one of whom turns out not to be Frank's after all) who keep this family afloat. That's especially true of the oldest and most responsible, daughter Fiona (the excellent Emmy Rossum), who acts as de facto mom while balancing a complicated love life (the two main men in her world are a car thief and the cop who wants to nail him), and Lip (Jeremy Allen White), a smart and enterprising teen who makes money taking tests and writing papers for other students but also looks out for his younger siblings, who include Ian (Cameron Monaghan), Carl (Ethan Cutkosky), Debbie (Emma Kenney), and Liam (an infant played by twins), all of whom have issues of their own. These (and various others in the sizable cast) are the folks who, we're told, put the "fun" in dysfunctional, and along with a steady dose of raunch (nudity, sexuality, and profanity all flow as freely as the liquor at Frank's favorite bar) and serious issues such as school bullying, cancer, suicide, prison, and Ian's burgeoning homosexuality, Shameless does have a darkly comedic sensibility. Perhaps most striking is that the kids, against all odds, are generally far more mature and sensible than the grownups, who also include Frank's agoraphobic girlfriend Sheila (Joan Cusack), her very snarky husband, Ian's older lover (who happens to have a wife and children), and various others of questionable character. Indeed, it's the younger Gallaghers, not Frank, who are the most dedicated to keeping the family together, and the grit, determination, and guile they use to do that are Shameless's heart and soul. --Sam Graham
Top Customer Reviews
So how did Paul Abbott do in formatting his original creation for an American audience? I'd say that it's a qualified success. If you've never seen the original program (and let's face it, most people won't have), this incarnation of "Shameless" is likely to seem strikingly different from most American domestic comedy with its unabashed embracing of lawlessness and anarchy. Adhering to the British original, but expanding subplots or introducing them earlier as there are more first season episodes, the version sticks fairly true to the initial plotting. In the first few episodes, the show seems on incessant overdrive slapping you in the face with its over-the-top antics. As such, in my opinion, it lacks a bit of heart, subtlety, and precise comic balancing of the original. Despite its unruliness, the original made you care about its characters from the jump.Read more ›
This series contains some of the best, most powerful scripts I've ever seen written for broadcast television. Yet, I expect this very R-rated series to be heavily criticized for coarse language, for themes of sex, scenes of drunkenness, and under-age smoking. Nevertheless, this series is one of the most family-positive series you'll ever see.
Imagine the picture perfect family, the very embodiment of "family values". Then one day somebody in the family snaps and is revealed to be involved in criminal activity, or infidelity, or substance abuse or darker more sinister assaults on the body and mind of other family members. In short, this imaginary picture-perfect family is dysfunctional.
Now, envision the opposite, a family with all the trappings of being dysfunctional. The father is unemployed and alcoholic, the children thieve, smoke and swear. One child has to keep his head shaved because he's so prone to nits, and there is no mother in the home because she's taken the family van and run away. Yet, this family is supportive, loving, caring and more honest than the Brady Bunch ever was.
There are no skeletons in the Gallagher family closet. They are very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get group. Sometimes funny sometimes surreal and unlikely the goings on in this family are often moving and always entraining. While not promoting "family values" this is a very family positive series (but not for the whole family: R-rated I said). There is good reason why this show is called "Shameless".Read more ›
Basic plot: Single father Frank Gallagher [David Threlfall], whose wife disappeared about three years ago, lives (sometimes) on a council estate in Manchester (England) with his six children (Fiona, Lip, Ian, Carl, Debbie, and Liam), aged 20-3, respectively. Other central characters include the children's neighbors, a young couple named Kevin and Veronica, and Fiona's well-to-do boyfriend Steve [James McAvoy]. Together they deal with relationships, poverty, abandonment, their father's alcoholism, debt collectors, and the local police. It's not an easy life, but the family is determined to enjoy it whenever and however they can. There *is* some violence (fist fights), nudity, drinking, lots of swearing, and even one extremely inappropriate, even illegal, sexual relationship, but it is addressed and responded to reasonably (though definitely not in the PBS-broadcast sort of way). The younger children/characters really seem to peak in the second half of the season, as they become more integral to the plot. Their additional screen time is well-deserved, as they are all exceptionally talented actors.
As for the DVD itself, it is, of course, Season 1.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very funny show. Great storyline, good characters and each episode makes me binge a little more. Once you get going, you won't want to stop.Published 4 days ago by Jimbo
Hilarious uncensored comedy. The antithesis to the Cosby Show or Growing Pains.Published 12 days ago by m. b.
Only watched 1 episode so far and liked. Not giving higher rating until I see more.Published 15 days ago by PAC