I’m from a large and polygamous family fully fitted with all the incessant bickering, unrequited love, and the best set of nephews and nieces that life has on offer. To an extent, I’ve always gravitated towards shows that celebrate the previously mentioned themes. I’ve watched and re-watched Brothers and Sisters, I’ve struggled to watch Parenthood but I haven’t backed out yet and I read Mario Puzo’s The Family with the utmost attention I’ve ever devoted to any book. I feel I’m authority on what dysfunctional families are supposed to be, and what not.
I have since relinquished that authority ever since I started Shameless, and breezed through all three seasons in less than 72 hours; it tethered on reality and went beyond it and back. It’s real, quirky, and edgy and serves as a manual on the vices that a young man/woman should indulge in before he/she clocks 30. People are often skeptical about shows remake considering Shameless already acquired an iconic status when it first aired in the UK, the US version went beyond that iconic status and spiced it with everything American.
Shameless chronicles the life of a family residing in a Chicago suburb equipped with an alcoholic and ‘no-collar’ father (Frank Gallagher) who’s never home and being kept together by the eldest sister (Fiona Gallagher), a guardian in every sense of it and complimented by the rest of her gang, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, Liam. The characters are well-formed with every one having an excessive weakness with their strength struggling to dominate, for some of them, the strengths never dominate.
Lip is a straight A-student who gets by, writing SAT’s for people who clearly can’t pass the exam. That’s where it ends. The weakness takes over at that point; he’s a chronic smoker, a ‘tea-bag’-enthusiast, and a sex-maniac. Ian is a soldier-to-be, currently enlisted in ROTC. He’s gay, and in the history of gay-sex on TV, none has had as much as he’s. Debbie, as described by her dad, Frank, is God-sent. Carl is pretty much the male kid or nephew you probably want to escape, there’s no such thing as strengths, all he’s are the skills required to survive in such a neighborhood as theirs, larceny, shooting and mutilating animals, and he’s dumb as you possibly can imagine. Liam, at his age already has masturbation on lock-down, for perspective, he’s 2-years old.
The average Nigerian home is not where to watch this, there are no strengths to sell when it’s your dad and mom that you’re trying to sell the show to. Unlike Game of Thrones, where you can tell Christians or religious bigots to over-look the sex and focus on the several plot lines that adorn it. This show is not where you can do that. The sex is more real than all the ones you’ve previously had, and will possibly have.
So, why am I watching? Or rightly asked, why should you watch this show?
Most shows are usually about a character that’s an over-bloated status of who we usually aspire to be, or hope to be. I’ve watched quite a few, and even as much as I can relate to them, it will take a couple of years to be in that place they are.
Shameless isn’t that kind of show. I’m never going to live in the suburb. I haven’t lived in one. And I would never have half the kind of father Frank Gallagher is.
It’s a peek into the workings in the suburbs, on the several things that are absent there, and the tenacity of the people who live there to make their own life count as well. They are part of the system, a system that nothing works through no fault of theirs, and their escape route is usually stealing, violence and sex. Any kind. Anal. Gay. Oral.
If this review still doesn’t sound convincing/coherent enough, plan a night with friends, and watch. If you find it boring after, revel in whatever brand of alcohol, and drink the wasted time off.
Submitted by Oluremi in Lagos, Nigeria