If you’ve been following the Gallaghers over the last seven seasons on the hit TV show Shameless, then you’re well aware of how Carl Gallagher has grown into being a man from being a boy. Or rather a white boy into a brother, if you know what I mean. The second youngest Gallagher has always been the biggest rule breaker of the family and by far the most rebellious. Let’s not forget to mention, that while Carl was growing into a man, his looks sure began to prove that he was no longer just a boy, but that’s not the biggest surprise that we’ve received over time with this Gallagher.
Since the beginning, we’ve seen how this Gallagher show his true colors. He’s picked up the ladies on an electric wheelchair, learned to make meth, extorted the Make-A-Wish Foundation by pretending to have cancer, tried to murder his uncle with rat poison, became a drug dealer… There isn’t much this kid hasn’t done and the list doesn’t stop there for the one and only Carl Gallagher.
Within these last seven seasons, although Carl has a bit of a wild side, for the most part we’ve always been certain of what he brings to the table. But within these last few seasons it’s as if a whole new character has emerged. And this new and improved Carl Gallagher, really knows how to keep us on our toes by continuing to surprising us. So let’s get to it, check out the top 15 of Carl Gallagher’s greatest moments on Shameless.
15. Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned
This whole idea is just bad news, but it is tremendously funny and leave it to the Gallagher boys when it comes to doing a “sting operation” on a Catholic priest…who also happens to like little boys. The same priest won’t procure the license that Kev and V need to get “married,” so leave it up to the Gallaghers to save the day. Lip and Ian use young Carl as bate for the priest, and luckily our voluntary sociopath Carl can handle himself and no funny business occurs once Lip and Ian leave him to make all the right moves. We knew Carl was going to grow up to be a complete badass, but this stunt was just as funny as it was foul. It’s a complete success as the boys get the pervy priest to commit to the wedding and all is good with the Gallaghers, and the upcoming arrangements for the wedding are a go.
14. Happy Thanksgiving
Everything about shooting a bald eagle and planning on eating it is completely… shameless. And perhaps the most un-American thing you can do. However, the family was planning on eating spam that was cut out to look like the shape of a turkey until Carl had brought home a real piece of meat to devour. It may have been the symbol of America, but so is Thanksgiving. But of course, I don’t know if you remember Jimmy, he also went by Steve.., Well his rich ass comes to the rescue and saves the day by getting a real turkey for the family, but rest assured the eagle won’t go to waste because I’m pretty sure I heard Kev make a comment about storing it in the freezer for another day, something they’ll all be thankful for.
13. Hard Work Pays Off
Although Dominique is still currently Carl’s foxy girlfriend, back in the day when Carl was still convinced he was a real gangster, it was harder to score points with his girl. Once he dropped the white trash act and began to mold himself as a member of society by getting a real job and a real set of literature, Carl scores Dom after she places her lips to his, and not just the ones on her face. Tricking him into recording her track for music camp, Carl ends the day by playing her strings instead. This proves that once you stop giving a girl all the attention, she’ll repay the favor and start giving it to you.
12. Nunchucks And Condoms
Seems like a fair price for a mother to pay to keep her son safe, right? Well, it’s a fair price if you’re Chuckie’s mom Sammi Gallagher. After an easy negotiation with Carl, they strike a deal after he receives his payment of nunchucks and condoms in return for Chuckie’s safety at school. Carl isn’t a dumb kid, and he takes advantage of his opportunity to keep Chucky safe and makes him his own personal slave. Carl sticks it to some kid for trying to beat Chuckie’s face in, but as we’ve learned Carl’s end of the deal is far better than Chuckie’s, having each of his requests fulfilled by his nephew in exchange for his safety on school grounds. Carl Gallagher proves once again that he’s the man!
11. Cunnilingus Carl
If we want to be reminded of young Carl and the events that had him growing into a man, this is one where Carl Gallagher began trading in his swing trunks and trading up to board shorts. This “gangster” mentality had to have started somewhere, and his hood roots began to grow once he started to develop his game with the ladies. Even back in the day, Carl Gallagher had game, even when he was limping around on crutches or rolling around in his wheelchair, this hustler sure knew how to pick up chicks. His summer escalates as he hit base after base, never a full home run, but there was a reason he had a line of girls under the staircase referring to him as “Cunnilingus Carl” and it was because his new nickname had turned him into a stud, and so did his new tricks.
10. Bang Bang
Carl has showed us a lot of things on this show, but in this instance, he shows how he can apply the skills he learned in juvie and look damn sexy doing it. Carl’s real gangster kicks in here, once he begins using his new skills by applying them in his school halls by selling illegal firearms. An operation which is usually conducted out of a small stall in the boys bathroom, Carl has students making their way to him to put in their orders to lock down their safety and perhaps put their minds at ease. Carl racks up the “hundies” from his illegal trade business and is gaining so much attention he even catches the eyes of the school faculty, who flock toward him for their own protection and purchase the weapons to strap on their hips, because you can never be too safe on the Southside.
9. Drug Mule
Let’s be straight, we all thought Chuckie was a real dumb kid, but once the judge made him take an IQ test, I nearly felt bad for making fun of how stupid he was when, in fact, the court had proved that academically, he was actually really behind. In fact, I’m even surprised Chuckie remembered who strapped all the drugs to him in first place, and as we know using Chuckie to smuggle drugs had landed both Chuckie and Carl in juvenile detention. After Frank gives the idea to Carl, and also inevitably sets the two of them up for detainment, he tells Carl to strap the drugs onto Chuckie, because no one will suspect someone like him. And if Chuckie had no idea what was going on, it seemed pretty likely no one else was going to either. So, Carl runs with the idea all the way to the train station and nearly across state lines. That is until the cops pick up Chucky (no thanks to Frank), who rats on his Uncle Carl, landing them both in the investigation chair and inevitably in the big house.
8. One In The Pink, Two In The Stink
Oh god, Carl Gallagher is just the most delightful big brother ever. He comes to the rescue when Debbie calls him in need of some serious help. As you can probably recall, Debbie is trying to take one for the team so her and her baby will have somewhere nice to live. And without any previous experience with playing for the other team, Debs phones Carl for advice on how to have “lesbian sex.” Carl’s there with the best advice he can provide for his older sister with all his experience with women and lesbians apparently. He gives it to Debs real simple: “one in the pink, two in the stink,” and accompanies his directions by sending Debbie a really classy pic on how to position her fingers to get the job done right. Thanks Carl, you’re a real lifesaver… god bless the Gallaghers.
Although Bonnie was unlike any young girl we’ve ever been introduced to, and she’s totally a badass, I still think of her as the devil who ruined Carl’s innocences… or rather broke his heart. But she also deserves some credit for turning him into the badass he grew into. Robbing stores for their cash and their candy, driving underage, hot wiring cars, Bonnie showed Carl the ropes to the outside world. She even becoming his very first girlfriend, stayed the night at the Gallagher house and even gave Carl his very first kiss. This girl was a total joy ride and her and Carl had a connection on a whole different level, but she still managed to break his young heart. Carl may be a total gangster now, but back in the day, her sure got played real hard by a girl he had been falling for even harder.
6. Brother From Another Mother
Once Carl had gotten out of juvie, his whole story has been comedic relief compared to all the other crazy s*** happening, but when Nick is introduced and we begin to learn about him and see their friendship flourish, we also witnessed one of the darkest and most powerful scenes this show has ever produced. Everything about the scene was terrifying: Nick sitting there covered in blood, the hammer, the mother’s horrific screams, Carl’s reaction to looking in the house, the sirens approaching in the distance. Ethan (the actor who plays Carl) delivers such a powerful performance from just a few words, it perfectly captures Carl’s transition from cocky thug to scared child in that moment. This is when the game quickly falls apart for Carl.
5. School Bully
This scene is a perfect portrayal of the famous quote, “dont f*** with the Gallaghers” and Carl proves it. Because everyone knows, if you step over the line by making fun of one Gallagher to another, you’d better watch your back… or better yet, your front. Carl gives it to the bullies at school after they make fun of Liam for his recent cocaine accident with Fiona. But, leave it to the Gallagher who has no problem setting these two straight by introducing them to two of Liam’s friends (his fists) and serving justice to the Gallagher name. Something about Carl so shamelessly sticking up for his little brother by putting the school bullies to shame obviously gives him street cred, but it also gives him credit for being a kickass (literally) brother. And with the Gallaghers, we all know family is what matters to them the most.
4. Lawyer Up
While Carl is smirking up at the officers in the investigation chair, the rest of the Gallagher clan is shouting from the other sides of the station reminding him to not speak without a lawyer. The event turns into a full family affair as they’re banging on the window hoping Carl won’t say the wrong thing. We weren’t all that shocked to find Carl landing in this spot, especially when his favorite pastimes included blowing things up or lighting them on fire. Most of which was to help his family, especially his father and biggest role model, Frank Gallagher. But not shockingly, this young Gallagher stood his ground: “I want a f**king lawyer, motherf**ker.”
3. Getting Out Of The Game
The thing about Shameless is that it is absolutely shameless in any instance. Yeah, Carl is a funny kid, but just like anyone else, I think the audience forgets that that’s just it, he’s a kid. And after he sees Nick get twisted up enough to kill someone, he decides he wants out of the game. He makes an attempt by not doing his rounds and receiving the punishment of a pistol whip, and then finally going to the top dog to remove his title, which ended with Carl and Sean both walking home in their socks and underwear, but what’s so important about Carl getting out, is that he realizes that if he stayed in the game he was only going to see more people get killed. And damn it broke my heart when he opens up to Fiona, but the viewers needed that, we needed to be reminded that just like anyone else Carl is human too and he’s allowed to get scared. I applaud Carl in this scene, for having the strength to let go of the money and the lifestyle because he had recognized the ugly truth.
2. White Boy Carl
Once Carl Got sentenced to juvenile hall, the audience was left speechless. Carl Gallagher took no hard hits in juvie, in fact he came home a stronger and even smarter man. This seemed to have been the take off point, and with this act I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Carl Gallagher. However, this scene was tremendously funny and Carl certainly kept his promise of making juvie his b*tch. He was a whole new person with a whole lot of street cred and an education that couldn’t be bought, it had to be taught in the most cynical way. I applaud Carl for his character development and his growth into a stronger more confident character, but if you think back on it, we all certainly saw this coming. It makes sense because this is the kind of thing that you can expect from a kid who looks up to Frank Gallagher.
1. Carl’s Crib
Okay, although Carl likes to act like a thug, just like any other Gallagher, he takes care of his family. And this scene had to be by far my favorite Carl scene. He goes out past the tracks of the L train and drives his shovel into the earth to collect his rainy day fund from all the dirty money he made selling firearms. After digging up the duffel bag of cash, he hauls it across the counter at the diner to Fiona telling her to buy the house back.
This proved to the viewers that Carl was making his own decisions now and that he was really growing into a spectacular man. Before Fiona could even utter a word to him he leaves because he knows this time, Fiona can’t dismiss his offer. They both knew this was the kind of money that the South Side ran on and whether she supported Carl’s way of making money or not, she had to support her family. And that started with keeping a roof over their heads.