I’ve spent much of the last few years singing the praises of Showtime’s Shameless and complaining about the lack of awards attention it gets. Season one and four are two of the best seasons of any show in the last ten years and there isn’t another cast quite like those who make up the Gallagher clan and friends. However, even I can admit that overall season five was a sour note for the series, even compared to the inconsistent nature of season’s two and three. With the first episode of season six available online (but no spoilers here) me and my fellow Shameless fan and TYF writer Bri have written about the five things we think the show could change to get it back on track.
Get rid of Frank’s crew:
Real talk: Frank is often the most obnoxious character on this show. Sure, he’s pretty much been scum from the beginning, but his storylines used to be tolerable compared to what they are now. Rather than a mild nuisance that sometimes wrecks havoc over the entire family, Frank has become a constant source of ridiculous, pathetic drama that brings around characters who have overstayed their welcomes. Sammy, Chuckie, and even Sheila aren’t bringing too much to the table these days–or in Sammy’s or Chuckie’s cases, ever. Time to step aside and make some breathing room for the relevant characters, folks. – Bri
Make Ian engaging:
I’ve never found Ian’s storylines interesting. Or, I guess to put it more plainly, I’ve never found Ian that interesting because it’s hard to deny that the show hasn’t gone out of its way to find rich material for the character for years now. The fact is that Ian (Cameron Monaghan) has been given quite the leg up in the past two seasons (four in particular) in the form of Noel Fisher’s Mickey. Ian on his own, no matter his personal battles, is never as interesting and Monaghan lacks the effortless delivery and physicality that many of the cast had in the very first episode. The show either needs to spread the storyline wealth out a bit more or double down in their efforts in making Ian an engaging character again. – Ally
Get the gang back together again:
Shameless is at its strongest when the characters, especially members of the Gallagher clan, band together in their ridiculous antics or last-ditch problem solving. Last season, almost every character had their own individual storyline, spreading them far away from each other and removing the collective Gallagher charm from the show. Without the Gallagher dynamic, what is Shameless? Time to get the gang back together again, writers. – Bri
Give Fiona a storyline that doesn’t have anything to do with who she is dating:
Remember when Fiona was, unquestionably, the strongest character on the show? Aided by Emmy Rossum’s terrific performance, Fiona was a character who was beautifully nuanced; she was fragile but tough as nails, flirtatious but responsible, carefree by carrying the burden of her family’s world on her shoulders. Even when she was single handedly making a mess of her life in season four she was always compelling. But then, season five happened and it was hard not to pick up on a familiar trend. Almost ever major storyline she was in involved a man she was dating or sleeping with. Fiona is more than interesting enough on her own and certainly capable enough to warrant carrying a storyline that isn’t a romantic one. If only the writers could remember that as well. – Ally
Also, give Lip storylines that matters:
Sensing a trend? As my two favorite characters and performers on the show, Fiona (Rossum) and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) as of late always seem to be saddled with storylines that are either a. meandering, b. frustrating or c. don’t utilize the actors gifts to their full potential. Lip sleeping with his professor isn’t a storyline, it’s another way for the show to remind us that Lip is a “womanizer”. I like angry, self-destructive Lip. Considering he is likely the Gallagher who shares the most similar makeup to Frank, it’s something that should be explored and could finally give the actor a chance to sink his teeth into a narrative. – Ally
Shameless returns January 10th on Showtime. What do you want to see in season six?