Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 09, 2011 on Showtime

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
158 votes
  • We meet the highly dysfunctional Gallagher family in the pilot episode

    There are some instances where dysfunction can be hilarious and others where the dysfunction can become so out of hand that it's unbelievable and takes away from the realism. For me, "Shameless" is one of the funnest shows I've seen in awhile, has great acting and the writing zooms along effortlessly. However, at times, the dysfunctional family comes across as a little too dysfunctional and makes the show seem a bit of a joke.

    Luckily, the show has so many things going for it that it's easy to overlook something so minor. First off, the characters are all memorable in their own way, even the most minor ones. For a show that has William H. Macy, a titan among TV and movie actors, he's barely in it, which leaves room for the other characters to shine. There's the daughter Fiona, who takes on the role of mother in the absence of her own mom or the dad, Frank, who is a massive drunk. From there, we get introduced to Lip, a sarcastic, intelligent guy who is constantly chased down by police. There's Ian, a seventeen year old who is gay but hides it from his family. After that, there's minor characters who don't get as much attention: Carl, Debbie and Liam.

    There are other characters here, including Steven, a guy that has been keeping his eye on Fiona for awhile and finally had a chance to make a move after a guy stole her purse. There's the neighbors to the Gallagher's and a family that is dysfunctional in a different way (Joan Cusack guest-stars in this role)

    What works best about the episode is the characters themselves. Despite the ridiculous nature of some of the episode, the characters themselves are each given something to remember them by. Most of the time, I struggle to remember the supporting characters of certain shows, but in this show, I can remember each name of each character without having to look it up or figure it out some other way. I particularly like the trio of Fiona (Emmy Rossum) along with Lip and Ian. Those three got the most scenes, even more than William H. Macy, and we've already been introduced to key plot points that can be carried on throughout the remaining eleven episodes.

    The show itself doesn't seem to necessarily have a plot; mostly, it's a series of scenes that show the ongoing nature of their lives. Because of that, it can seem aimless. The show bounces from plot point to plot point without really letting us have any quality time with certain characters. And there's a plot involving the family of Lip's fellow student and the father who has a clown obsession and a mother who has some sort of OCD tendencies. Joan Cusack is sort of a dud here and the plot has no connection or relevance to the rest of the show. It's a huge anchor that weighs down parts of the episode.

    However, the show has potential. I find myself intrigued by every character and completely willing to invest my time with them. I hope that William H. Macy gets some more substantial scenes besides getting drunk all the time and I also hope we learn more about the past of the family, before they were completely screwed up. But there's still time, and as long as supporting cast remains strong, we should have another strong Showtime show on our hands.