The latest series of Shameless has recently finished on Channel 4 (well, the first half of the latest anyway, we are apparently getting the second half later in the year).
The conservation status of the Gallaghers on the Chatsworth estate has to move to ‘nearly extinct’ now, as this series saw the departure of Carl. The only Gallaghers left now are Frank and Stella. Frank isn’t in as often as he used to be, and Stella is an infant so she can’t really do much (but please don’t have her ‘talking’ to people telepathically again). In fact, while the Gallagher household has always had people coming in and out of it and randomly staying, it’s become more of a hostel than a family’s house nowadays. Who’s living there now? Frank, Stella, Patty (who only moved in because Libby did, and she’s gone), Aiden (who only moved in because Patty was there), and now it seems Kelly and Marty also live there.
Speaking of those two, I’m still not buying them as a couple. It’s weird for long term fans to see that Kev’s sister and Veronica’s brother have hooked up, especially as they never really acknowledged each other’s existence before. But they’re a very odd pairing, it comes off like a result of a random couple generator. I suppose they have been suggesting that Kelly desperately wants to escape her old life, and maybe sees some common ground with Marty, who also wants to start again. I wonder where they are heading with Kelly. Her miscarriage at the beginning of this series couldn’t have been any more clearly signposted (knowing the gender of the baby, Shane saying he wishes Kelly and Marty the best, them both saying how happy they are going to be when the baby is born and it will change their lives for the better), but I’m not sure where they are going on with her. If anything, it seems like they may be building up to her making an exit. I don’t want her to leave, but I’m not sure where they want to take the character.
We have already seen two high profile departures from the cast this series, those being Carl Gallagher and Mickey Maguire. I actually haven’t missed Mickey as much as I thought I would. He is one of the best characters the show has ever had, but there has been a feeling that he had run his course at this point. I really liked his final scene with Mimi, it was nicely understated. He was going to come out to her, but she gently implied that she already knows he’s gay and wanted him to go out into the world and live a life out of the shadow of his family. Carl’s exit with Frank was similarly understated, but had more of a feeling of he and Frank don’t like each other much but they are still family. I actually miss Carl more than Mickey, because with Carl there was a lot more that they could still do with the character. I like that he has evolved to become so responsible from when he was kind of “the stupid one” when he was growing up. There is also his friendship with Chesney, who is one character that is getting better as the series goes on. Aiden is very similar to how Carl was when he was a kid, and as Carl is, sort of, an older brother for Aiden that could have been quite interesting to explore, especially as Aiden himself has been given some strong storylines this time round.
There have been some newcomers to the cast. Brassy hairdresser Gloria has been a very good addition. While her integration into the show was a bit Remember The New
Guy Girl at times, she’s definitely made her mark and has been central to a few of the big storylines. Her brother Dominic is… fine. Mimi’s niece Ruby is… fine. I still don’t see why they chose to make Billy a regular character though. He’s been around for a few series now and he still jars a bit. I get that he’s supposed to be a bit stupid and irritating, but why try and give him such importance? I just don’t think there’s enough there in the character to justify it.
As has been said countless times by many people, the heyday of Shameless is far behind it, but it is still an entertaining show and better than a lot of TV is. This series has been an improvement from the last so far. The plot which had X Factor style auditions for Lillian’s brothel was admittedly ridiculous, but the previous series had far more daft stuff like that in it, and I think for the first half of this series they have delivered quite well.