Last season of Shameless had an ambivalent finale that was more bitter than sweet and had an acidic palatableness, sitting disagreeably once settled, even by this show’s standards. Lip was headed to rehab having seemingly finally succeeded in thoroughly laying waste to his genius. Carl, having learned an unprecedented life lesson at the hands of his best friend, a hammer, and a stolen bicycle, appeared to be rid of any remaining innocence. And worst of all, what looked to be Fiona’s best hope for a life of happiness was incoherently shredded by her always under-the-influence and devilishly unpredictable father Frank, who was promptly tossed into the Chicago River, adding to his already substantial list of troubles. Yes, it was a rough year for the Gallaghers no doubt. Nonetheless, a new season brings with it new opportunities for superabundant sums of unbridled sex, the consumption of copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, and odd, yet decidedly strengthening family mishaps.
Season 7 opens on Frank, drowning in an ocean of his many, many mistakes. Blurry, ethereal seabed visions of his teenage daughter Debbie freshly anointed with motherhood. Ian, Frank’s second son, looking spiffy in his army apparel on the receiving end of oral stimulation. And Fiona, floating helpless and alone against the unceasing current of time, strapped with her anchor-like burden that he had inexcusably thrust upon her at an early age.
Truly, it feels as if a real breakthrough is about to be made. Perhaps Frank, at long last, is ready to atone for his many, many sins. But true to the Shameless brand, getting fellated by a large-mouth bass then waking up in a hospital bed (where have I seen this before?) to a nurse cleaning his undercarriage until he promptly gets an erection, we willingly accept that Frank Gallagher and Shameless have returned.
The brush with death, which is probably the first and only time I’ve actually seen Carl shocked and, perhaps most disbelieving, looking his age, doesn’t seemed to have fazed his libido. Carl and Dominique’s relationship has…matured, to say the least. True to form however, he isn’t untroubled for long. Debby, still wrapping her head around being a mother, isn’t quite ready to give up her teenage years, even if it’s at Frannie’s expense. Lip’s fresh out of rehab, still sporting a smug, snobbish, blameless aura, and Fiona’s day-to-day remains utter hell (shocker). The real scene-stealer though is Kev, Svetlana, and V’s polygamous relationship, which is paying immediate and hilarious dividends.
MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB
Despite the vulgarity and the extremity of which in the show’s sweeping subject matter, Shameless might be the most tolerant, pro-egalitarianism show on TV, giving everyone a fair shake. It expertly balances the bizarre and the crass by periodically returning to the incredibly human characters at its core, which is what keeps me tuning in every week when all’s said and done.
At the show’s barebones, its antiheroes “learn and cope,” rooted in fundamentally relatable circumstances equipped with universal emotions, values and morals. It might not always be pretty, but it’s an unforgiving world that relishes teaching inescapable lessons and the only thing that harbours some sort of relief are the people you hold close. There isn’t a show that better understands or conveys this certitude than Shameless, even if it has to utilize extreme measures to do so. Although only a single episode old, it seems like season 7 echoes this triumph.
Coming off his third Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, there’s no denying that William H. Macy is the show’s catalyst, whether it be facilitating his offspring to conspire against him or embodying the driving force behind a large chunk of the show’s entertainment factor. You’d think Frank’s schtick would have gone stale after six seasons, at the very least slowly hardening and bordering on unappetizing, with all the substance abuse and selfishness, largely radiating singularly from Frank Gallagher and Frank alone. The rest of the Gallagher clan aren’t nearly as sociopathic as their father and at some point, Frank’s escapades will run their course, surely concluding in a much-celebrated demise. Until that day however, Macy’s dedication to Papa Gallagher…let’s call it, individuality, will overcome redundancy and outlive all us upstanding folk.
On a side note, it continues to baffle me that Emmy Rossum has yet to earn any sort of credible recognition for her portrayal of Fiona, who is, without question, the most complex and sympathetically-deserving of the Gallaghers. Her performances throughout the years have been consistently stupendous despite the show shifting to more of an ensemble-propelled story arc in the later seasons.
After bouncing back in a big way with its strongest showing yet, season 6, Shameless returns in all its heartfelt, bizarre, black-comedic glory for its seventh season slated in a cozy new fall slot. Continuing the life stories of Frank, Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debby, Carl, and Liam, this year finds the Gallaghers continuing their crawl out from the gutter with plenty of room to grow.
Glue huffing, fish fellatio, and a savant Russian prostitute have Shameless off to a typically ridiculous start that’s embarrassingly entertaining.