Shameless brings the heat in season 2

By Melanie Greenberg
January 31, 2012

Think you have it rough? Take a walk in the Gallaghers’ undoubtedly hand-me-down shoes and re-evaluate what a tough life is. In Showtime’s adaptation of the British hit, “Shameless,” viewers get to experience what lower-class Chicago has to offer during the summer in season two.

Frank (William H. Macy), the patriarch and deadbeat father of six, continues to spend his days drunk, manipulating any person he comes across. Living off dwindling disability checks, we get the chance to see Frank prostitute himself to try and pay off a debt; a debt in which the youngest Gallagher, Liam, becomes collateral.

Fiona (Emmy Rossum) continues to care for her younger siblings this season while struggling with her decision not to run away to a tropical island with her ex-boyfriend, Steve (Justin Chatwin). Without a mother or father around to support the family, Fiona works odd jobs while her siblings manage to scrape enough juvenile money together to keep the family afloat.

Lip (Jeremy Allen White), the genius 17-year-old dad-to-be earns his share by taking SAT tests for other students. The surprise pregnancy of his former flame Karen is sure to be a focal point during season two. With the Gallagher house bursting with their own clan, Veronica and Kevin’s foster child, former cult member Ethel along with her son and an ever-growing daycare run by 11-year-old Debbie, another child would create more responsibility for Fiona.

While Debbie deals with an immense fear of death and acting like a middle-aged woman, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) struggles less with his homosexuality this season and more on being accepted into West Point Military Academy.  None of the Gallaghers seem to realize 9-year-old Carl is a serial killer in the making with his habit of blowing objects to pieces, killing stray animals and now drinking liquor with a bad-influence friend. Season two is seemingly setting up for every character to begin to fall apart.

Fiona’s promiscuity and unraveling mental state will hopefully be short-lived this season. While the pressure Fiona feels from keeping the family as stable as possible is understandable, sympathy for her character is hard to come by when she’s homewrecking a family of five due to a high school crush, in the back of his mini-van no less.

As Sheila (Joan Cusack) continued to make strides, about 500 steps outside the house over her agoraphobia, it is likely after the landing gear nearly fell on top of her that she will regress back to square one. Luckily for Frank, who has been freeloading off of Sheila for a majority of the series now, but not so lucky for viewers who enjoyed seeing a genuine character truly overcoming a strange but real challenge. Since Sheila has absolutely no problem with her daughter Karen marrying a 35-year-old jobless man named Jody, I’m not expecting much reaction about her child with ex-friend-with-benefits Lip.

Most anxiously awaiting Steve’s return bringing back some of Fiona’s sanity, fans are finally beginning to see how very little the apple falls from the tree, the disaster that is Frank Gallagher. Slowly his children, no matter how diligently they attempt not to, are mimicking their father’s mistakes and unlikable qualities.

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Melanie Greenberg

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