Acclaimed Emmy® Award-winning television and film producer John Wells (ER, THE WEST WING, SOUTHLAND, THIRD WATCH, FAR FROM HEAVEN, SHOWTIME's AN AMERICAN CRIME) debuted SHAMELESS (based on the long running British series) on Sunday night on Showtime starring Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar®-nominee William H. Macy (Door to Door, Fargo, Pleasantville, The Cooler).
Chicago's West Side Homan Square neighborhood and follows the dysfunctional family of Frank Gallagher, a single father of six children. While he spends his days drunk, his kids learn to take care of themselves. William H. Macy stars in the lead role as Frank Gallagher.
In this new version of Shameless, the sprawling Gallagher family has been transplanted to working class Chicago during the challenging times of today's recession. And the Gallaghers have no lack of challenges with a mother who is AWOL and an alcoholic patriarch -- played by Macy -- who usually ends up passed out on the living room floor. 18-year-old daughter Fiona is left to the task of keeping her five younger brothers and sisters on the straight and narrow, a task that usually proves impossible.
Just take a peak at the Trailer and you may be hooked, Appears you will not be alone. According to the LA Times:
'It may have divided the critics, but in the ratings "Shameless" scored another win for Showtime's programming strategy of banking on antihero star vehicles.
The drama, an Americanized version of a British series, stars William H. Macy as an abusive, substance-abusing father. It delivered 982,000 total viewers, according to the Nielsen Co. — the pay-cable network's biggest drama premiere in seven years, since "Dead Like Me" scored 1.1 million.SPOILER ALERT!!
WHAT FOLLOWS NEXT ARE SOME OF MY OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE SHOW AND MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
I like how with all their differences, the Gallaghers love each other so much as a family. As messed up as things seem they are a family with so much heart and fun. They are a family I would want to be a part of. They show you a family where each of them would do anything for the other; but, yet, they are all survivalists who are so hip and still know how to have fun.
I thought it was brilliant how they show booze, pot and drugs are humans coping devices. Rather than simply vilify or glorify the use of booze, pot and drugs, they show it with all of its very human complexities. They show people just trying to get by and find a way to be happy. In a society that uses so many prescription pills to solve every malady (real or imagined), is it so hard to see that people might seek out booze, pot or drugs as a means of self-medication?
The older sister (Emmy Rossum as Fiona Gallagher) is a very talented actor. Her complex and multi-layered performance is mind blowing. I enjoyed the twist when it turned out that her seemingly "perfect" new boyfriend was really a bad ass car thief. I thought her portrayal of how she is afraid to be hurt but yet so wants love is acted superbly.
I found it intriguing how they are taking on issues of Muslims and religious people who are just trapped in some different culture they learned simply because they were born into it, and that we are all really the same inside - usually just doing something because it was passed down through family. No different than say Catholics. I enjoyed how the Gallaghers seemed free of any defined religion.
And what a multifaceted character Cameron, as Ian 17, gets to play. Ian is the only member of the family with a steady job. Cameron said that he wasn't afraid to take on the role of gay teen Ian Gallagher in Showtime's "Shameless." "I'm always happy to represent the gay community, especially with a really strong, realistic role like Ian," the 17-year-old TV and film veteran said, "so no qualms really."
In Sunday's series premiere, his older brother, Lip (Jeremy Allen White), discovers that Ian is gay and having an affair with his married boss, Kash. In a series of honest, touching and funny scenes, the tight-knit brothers clash before Lip eventually comes to terms with his brother's sexuality and Ian learns that he could have trusted Lip with his secret all along.
What a great message for our times!
Joan Cusack is hysterical as the nutty mother of the cool high school girl who likes to give blow jobs while tutoring. The scene where the mother offers the kids cocktails like an "easy screw" or "slow gin" was the funniest scene I have seen in years.
And the Gallaghers' neighbors, Shanola Hampton as Veronica and Steve Howey as Kev, are amazing. Kev and Veronica have a crazy hot sex life and he's totally into her, as long as she's not implying that he's stupid.
Watch and you may be shamed less!