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Why is This on My TV: Shameless
About two weeks ago I finally had to get rid of my cable provider Time Warner Cable and started up a new service with Direct TV, and while the verdict isn't in yet as to whether this was a great move or not (my wife really isn't thrilled with the change yet) it's certainly affording me the chance to catch some new series that I otherwise would not have been able to catch thanks to a three month free trial of a few added channels such as Showtime.
Welcome to another edition of Why is This on My TV and I want to introduce you all to the dysfunction of one Chicago family named the Gallaghers.
The Gallaghers are your untypical, down and out and barely making it work American family. The family's patriarch and less than stellar father figure is one Frank Gallagher played by Oscar nominated actor William H. Macy.
Frank is not your typical father...he's an alcoholic of the highest order, selfish, narcissistic, and all around sleazeball. Frank works the system, collecting disability checks that he doesn't deserve and in his own twisted way passes along very tough life lessons to his family of poverty line little urchins who also try to work the system, if not at a more reputable level than he does.
His oldest daughter Fiona (Rossum) had to take on the responsibility of raising her younger brothers and sisters and had to leave high school to do this. She works a few different low wage jobs to help feed her family and pay the bills.
The rest of the ensemble cast include Jeremy Allen White, Cameron Monaghan, Emma Kenney (who plays Debbie Gallagher and is fast becoming my favorite Gallagher), Ethan Cutkosky, Brennan Kane Johnson & Blake Alexander Johnson(who take on the acting chores of portraying little baby Liam Gallagher).
The show also has a supporting cast including Shanola Hampton, Steve Howey, Laura Slade Wiggins, and Joan Cusack.
I think what first caught me about the show was just it's undeniably twisted look at an American family that begs, borrows, cheats and steals (with no compunction in many cases) about what they're doing to survive life as impoverished Americans...and that they make it look like it's just your average day living life on the bad side of the tracks in any city here in America.
And this is what I took away from watching the first episode of the second season!
I've watched the second and third episodes now, and I've seen some really heart warming moments such as Veronica (Shanola) taking her nursing home patients on their weekly outing (with no changes in routine, because she has to stick to a schedule) and taking them to a nearby park and letting them actually enjoy a little slice of life that (and let's be blunt and brutally honest here) that they would almost never get to enjoy ever again.
When Veronica gets them back to the home, one of the patients passes away...for me it was a poignant moment and a reminder that there are no guarantees in life. And this moment was juxtaposed for me in the same episode, because Frank was trying to actually marry ex-bar patron Dottie played by actress Molly Price.
And to further make me shake my head at the TV screen in the awe of Frank's huge set of cahones, he actually answers a call meant for Dottie that meant her getting the heart that she needed to actually "Live" and get the rewards that she was entitled to and get her pension.
The scenes of Franks giving Dottie her last wish to die having sex (but with him, really!) and going to a church and lighting a candle for her, and then actually pilfering the donations box just cements the character in the minds of the show's viewers.
Other highlights for me from the first three episodes is the gigantic "Bonfire" of pot plants that are burned in some local park to the delight of many, Fiona trying to do the right thing after taking money out of a purse mistakenly left on the "L" train by a woman who is just as out of luck as she is...and the ensuing name calling that happens between the two when Fiona tries to return the money that she had taken from the purse, and Frank actually appropriating an engagement ring that was meant for one of his daughters...to give to Dottie, and of course that ring didn't fit Dottie's finger.
I'm not sure how many families there are here in the United States that are quite like thge Gallaghers, but I hope not too many, because I don't think America could survive more than one Gallagher family at a time.
Oh and I'm downloading the rest of season two to see what else the Gallaghers have in store for me to ponder, and that's why this show is on my TV folks!