Bad things happen. People do "shameless" things all the time. The real world is confusing and sloppy and filled with animosity and remorse and affection. And Shameless isn't afraid to bring these things out of hiding and it certainly isn't the "feel good" show to reassure the viewers about their lives. This fierce south side Chicago family breed hardship and hostility and a vile or uncomfortable joke can be the release. The ideas are never showy or without reason. It's becoming obvious that the show's purpose seems to be making a statement, especially since it's established there is no line it won't cross.
These Gallaghers have always skirted the fine line between good taste and too far, it's the very foundation of this show. Showing us that every decision has circumstances, they're real and honest and they're not afraid to show what happens when you f**k up. It's so easy for this show to go back and fourth between a sense of dark comedy and a heartbreaking drama.
Don't get me wrong, as many excuses as I seem to be making, sometimes I can virtually hear a room full of writers for this show saying “Oh my God, you know what would be the craziest thing ever?” then overstate until the story no longer represents actual human behavior. Some of these things are so drastic that they seem unreal. But I suppose that's where we posses this idea of the Gallagher family and stepping over the line. They do still very well have the ability to accomplish this due to their poor decisions. So let's get down to it, check out the 15 times Shameless went too far.
15 Cancer Camp
Let me remind you that alcoholism is a terrible disease that leads parents to do horrible things to their kids, but sending them off to cancer camp when they aren’t actually battling cancer sure is a new low even for Frank Gallagher. I did find myself feeling sorry for Carl after Frank hands him amino acid's telling him they were "magic pills" to cure his cancer and Carl's hugs Frank and tells him he loves him before getting on the bus to camp. But the pity party for Carl ends once he becomes an entitled brat at camp. You begin feeling more sorry for the attractive redhead counselor Wendy he’s giving a hard time to than you do for the kid whose dad told him he had cancer because he thought it could get him an autographed Bulls basketball that he could sell on eBay. Either way, counselor Wendy finds herself being more of a pleaser than an enforcer of the rules. She allows herself to be manipulated into a plot that eventually sends her riding home on the bus in tears. I must give Carl some credit here, as he was only trying to be “helpful” by granting a wish to Henry, a friend he makes who is actually dying of cancer.
14 "Retard Nation"
How can I begin feeling bad for Karen Jackson in any circumstance after the hell she put Lip (not to mention everyone else) through? Once her son arrived (who isn't Lip's) and has Down Syndrome, her mother Sheila takes her to a support group, which seems like a good idea until all the kids are fighting to bring back the slur "retard" and begin campaigning for "Retard Nation." They are arguing that “the gays took back the word Queer…why can’t we…” and not to mention the "n-word."
This episode was a bit controversial, considering the idea that maybe the show was bringing light to a word that is flung around too loosely or instead that it was one of the most offensive episodes currently on the air. Even when in this show, we've already encountered a young boy who goes to cancer camp without a true diagnosis and his young sister pointing the finger at her uncle for molestation when it comes to saving her house. This may have not been the classiest episode of Shameless, but we should know by now that what they're good at is crossing the line.
13 Frank And Bianca
Now, I don't think Frank and Bianca's plot crossed any lines, except in one instance. I was a big fan of this storyline right from the start. I loved the idea of a young woman (who just so happened to be a doctor with a lot of cash) who was inexperienced in the most radical parts of life. And for the first time I had felt like Frank wasn't a complete good for nothing, degenerate asshole. To actually care for Frank was a refreshing feeling and we had seen a different side of him as he aided Bianca on her new journey before her untimely death, one Frank had known plenty about. I did however find it pretty disgusting when Frank found himself mourning over his love with her bra and panties laid in perfect formation on the grass next to her tombstone and Frank taking things into his own...hand...if you know what I mean.
12 Baby Gallagher
And right on the kitchen table too, just like the rest of the Gallagher family, a tradition created by Monica herself, having all 6 Gallagher kids born in the Gallagher house. And I found it so vile that Debbie had named the baby Francis after Debbie's dad, Frank. I understand he supported Debbie and was the one to really hold her up when she was feeling low during her pregnancy, however I didn't find that to be a good enough excuse to completely forget how he has acted in the past and all the mistakes he's made. Yet she still names her f**king baby after him. Not to mention, the way she dismisses Fiona from getting into the ambulance drove me wild. Debbie was so closed minded throughout her pregnancy, like when she decided not to abort the baby even though she was 15 and she knew damn well they could not afford another mouth to feed. I wanted to support her so bad, but inevitably I rode this one out with Fiona.
11 Baby Mama
Alright, check it out. We cannot possibly forget the time Kev and V came up with the great idea of using V's mom as their surrogate. This entire situation wasn't just crossing the line, it was downright uncomfortable. Sure, at first it didn't seem too bad, they played it a little less vile with a few failed attempts at the turkey baster to inject the baby bullets, until Veronica suggests a different method because stuffing her mom with Kev's mojo like a Thanksgiving turkey just wasn't working. Once V convinces them, Kev and Carol agree to have sex with each other. Her mom! And her husband! Finding it difficult, V places a sheet over her mom and get's Kev to focus his attention on her to make the entire idea feel less weird and also to make him speed up the process. Nonetheless, we find Carol gets impregnated by her son-in-law and the three are expecting a baby.
10 Love And Jealousy
With this stunt, we nearly got to enjoy the idea that Karen Jackson was going to be gone forever, but like I mentioned it was only an idea. Plenty of people will convince themselves that Mandy's attempted murder of Karen was an act of love, although I'm not a fan of Karen, I'm still not one of those people. I can't accept Mandy's destructive behavior and overbearing jealousy to convince myself it counts as love, when in fact, it counts as being psychotic. Perhaps even more so than Monica, which we are all aware Lip does not need, nor does he yearn for. Mandy didn't think twice when it came to taking someone else's life because she viewed Karen as a mere threat to the boy she thought she loved. Although I'm aware that the Milkovich name screams the word "murder" I was still taken aback by Mandy's jealousy and how it completely got the best of her and pushed her to new extremes.
9 Going Going Gone
Sheila Jackson is as nice as she is nuts. At first, her and Grammy Gallagher continue to trade insults, until the two soften up towards each other and Sheila decides to help Gram with her suicide attempts, finally suffocating the old lady with a pillow while shouting, “Go to the light!” successfully smothering her to death. It wasn't murder, it was just an attempted suicide, it was motivated by mercy, not malice as Frank's mother couldn't wait to escape her hell on earth and enter the real thing by asking for Sheila's assistance. Sheila straight up Dr. Kevorkianed Frank's mother! Calmly sitting atop of the pillow that suffocated the eldest Gallagher, she peacefully looks at Frank with innocent eyes and manages a simple "Sweetie, your mother has passed..." as if she wasn't the one who had taken care of the deed.
8 Finger Bang
Fiona, the sex addict. Okay, it's old news, but we still have to agree that Fiona really crossed the line when it came to receiving a little dittle on the L-train from her boyfriend's brother, slipping his hand between her thighs was more about the excitement and the tremble of his touch, than for the pleasure. Don't get me wrong, it was bad enough it was with her boyfriend's brother, juggling the role of being a girlfriend and being a cheater. Although it was a first for Fiona, it wasn't exactly crossing the line, not for Fiona at least. What a thrill to know Fiona must obey Robbie's agreement if she doesn't want Mike finding out about the affair they've been having with each other. I could’ve told you the agreement would have the two of them continuing on with their new fun together. The agreement included Robbie slipping into Fiona on the train.
7 Liam With Just The Right Dose.. To Put Fiona Away
Happy Birthday Fiona! Liam's in the hospital for getting into your coke and you're going to prison! Sounds about right. How could we forget the time Liam gets into Fiona's birthday stash? Although, we have to admit, we saw something this horrible happening sometime soon considering Fiona had been on such a destructive path, only now she will be facing the justice system. After Liam ingests the cocaine that had been lying around the house, the family learns that he could suffer brain damage and Fiona being in prison is put on the back burner. This episode is so hard to watch because Fiona's actions have finally caught up to her, but unfortunately it needed to be something so harsh to put her back in her place. Into a place where she would realize that she had been wrong and when in her corner, she had no one left to blame.
6 Gay Is O.K.
You may collide on differences, but you cannot take on city hall with a fight, but by the grace of god you can drunkenly insult it. For those of you who missed it, Frank Gallagher is now the face of the gay rights movement. Of course for selfish reasons, Frank comes up with the brilliant idea of getting him and his new roomie Christopher into a domestic partnership so Frank can get government funded healthcare. Typical Frank Gallagher, becomes the face of a big important movement, one where names are etched in stone with no intention to carry the same possible reputation, but to get free healthcare because of his new cancer scare that neither the Gallaghers nor Sheila care to take any interest in. Frank isn't steering too far from him normal habits, but we were still surprised.
With no limits in Frank Gallagher, he certainly crosses the line when he comes on to his oldest daughter (or rather, she comes on to him), Sammi Gallagher, in exchange for the hopes of a new liver. Knowing she'll be the perfect match, he does whatever he has to do to get what he needs. Frank hasn't ever been opposed to crossing the line, but this stunt really had our stomachs curling at the idea of the two of them playing incest, Sammie unknowingly. I can't exactly feel bad for Sammi considering what she has done since this gruesome experience. Introducing Sammi to the rest of the Gallagher's could've very easily been crossing the line as well, as she tells the army where Ian is (when he's on the run), threatens to shoot Frank, and after all that, gets her dumb ass put into jail. Phew, at least we knocked her off our TV screen in some way.
4 All Hail Hitler
Where do I even start with Chuckie? The Michelin Man look-alike nephew of Frank Gallagher who, as the judge lets us know, has an IQ low enough to be considered slow, or rather below average when it comes to academics. Anyway, we remember how our wannabe hood rat Carl straps pounds of heroine to his nephew and lets him get caught by the feds all by himself, driving his mother to tattoo a swastika on his forehead before sending him into juvie with some new ink and a new family to take him under their wing. The white supremacy rages on inside of him as he reads "Mein Kampf" as his fourth grade book report, and this highly uneducated little sh*t calls Adolf Hitler one of America's greatest leaders. He's nearly as dumb as his mother.
3 Officer Tony
As far as I remember, Officer Tony was madly in love with the oldest Gallagher, Fiona. But as Ian makes his way to the baseball field with his new firefighter hotties, he discovers officer Tony playing along with them and discovers his new sexual identity. He admits to Ian that his sister turned him gay and he's now swinging for the other team and has no problem identifying himself with the gay cops. I certainly did not see this coming, but the write off was pretty funny! I think it was inevitable for Fiona to screw over one of these guys so bad that they threw their hands in the air and turned right around to play for the other team, convincing themselves that the same sex is easier to understand. I guess Tony is looking pretty strong in his uniform!
2 Take One For The Team Debs
And she would have. The kind of commitment Debbie Gallagher possesses is nearly as aggressive as her father's. Once she leaves the house in search of a new home for her and her soon-to-be-born baby, she takes Frank's advice and lets him steer her in the wrong direction. Debs fills a nanny position for a family with a mother dying of cancer and plans on steeling her husband from underneath her, until she finds out she's in remission. Thinking she may have a crush on Debbie, she has to take one for the team by swinging for the same side. And Debbie's commitment to this idea gives her crazy eyes and she spreads this woman's legs apart, ready to munch apart the carpet until Frank's text saves her and she jets home. Oh Debbie...
1 Insurance Policy
God damn you Frank, there you go again opening your big mouth and making bets you cannot afford. Once Frank gets himself into a sticky situation of owing a fellow patron at the Alibi $10,000 dollars, he's takes Liam along for the ride until the fellow bar patron takes him as collateral for the money and Liam spends time with strangers as Frank's insurance policy to not cause him harm. And you guessed it! The rest of the Gallaghers had to pay off his debts in order to get their little brother back, putting their winter funds at an all time low, with Frank not feeling bad for any of it, because at least he's still safe and has the $6 left in his pocket that he came in with.
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