By Ally Fleming
Co-Written By Bri Griffith
If you’re looking for a new show to binge-watch on Netflix, why not “Shameless?”
“Shameless” tells the story of the Gallagher family. The show focuses on Frank Gallagher, single dad from Chicago, Illinois, attempting to raise his six kids, key word “attempting.” Frank Gallagher spends entirely too much money on bar tabs, and time “passed out on the floor,” (Showtime, 2016). The unapologetic Gallagher children learn to grow up and live without his love and support. With “Shameless” season seven approaching, viewers are left wondering, “What else could possibly go wrong for the Gallagher family?”
Touching on important topics including poverty, gender roles, sexuality, mental illness, and addiction, “Shameless” succeeds in showcasing what it’s like growing up without stability, resources, and support.
The oldest Gallagher child, Fiona, essentially raises her younger siblings because both parents lack responsibility. From drug abuse to alcoholism, Frank and Monica Gallagher prove themselves to be unfit parents throughout the series. Monica Gallagher is rarely on the show—she’s absent, though the children claim she’s made attempts to come back into their lives and repair relationships.
Later in the show, viewers find out Monica Gallagher struggles with Bipolar Depressive Disorder—she’s constantly switching medications, and makes frequent trips to the hospital. Though Frank is present, he’s troublesome, and needs taken care of when he should be taking care of his children. Frank involves his family in strange, completely avoidable shenanigans. For example, Frank’s responsible for a Social Security scam, because he chooses to bury his (dead) sister in their backyard. He continues to cash her checks in order to benefit financially.
Fiona Gallagher wants to be a free, independent 21-year-old, but knows she has to be there for her five younger siblings. She’s always working odd-jobs—she dropped out of high school to raise them. Toxic relationships affect Fiona emotionally as well, which makes it increasingly difficult for her to be around her siblings, considering they’re all young and impressionable.
Lip (short for Philip), Ian, Debbie, Carl, and Liam are the other Gallagher children. Lip is the eldest son, and is considered to be a genius. He knows how to con people, and he also has the highest SAT score out of everyone living in their Chicago area. Ian is younger, enrolled in ROTC, and questioning his sexuality. Debbie is the only other girl, besides Fiona. She sympathizes with her parents, even though they don’t help her. Carl melts objects in the microwave, and once “accidentally” shot down a Bald Eagle for Thanksgiving dinner. Liam is the youngest Gallagher, and is unlike the rest. Liam is “mixed” and nobody can quite explain why—both the Gallagher parents are white according to a paternity test. The Gallagher family is truly a wild and colorful mess at times…well, all the time.
If you want to watch “Shameless,” know that the show may tug at your heartstrings. “Shameless” is raw, emotional, and showcases a realistic family dynamic considering unfortunate circumstances. There are six seasons currently available on Netflix, and season seven will premiere on October 2. You have plenty of time to catch up and obsess over the madness that is the Gallagher household.