If there’s one thing I’ve discovered during this (probably the best) season of Shameless yet, one of the most significant running themes is that opportunities are fleeting for the Gallagher’s family and connections. So many of these characters scramble to keep their grip on the little pieces of hope or stability that they find, and they either get fried or completely destroy themselves. The problem is that constant sensation that everything has been falling apart, which has left me with some sinking feelings all season long. Here are my thoughts, hopes, and fears for the season finale and season 5.
There’s something about the way women swoon over gay relationships on television. Shameless has drawn a great deal of romantic attention for Mickey and Ian’s tumultuous affair. Whole Tumblrs are devoted to their moments together. I cannot help but wonder why I, and so many other women, are drawn to what is objectively a damaged and abusive love-affair constructed from internalized homophobia and slowly loosening repression. I have to wonder if observance of tortured gay relationships provides a means of satisfying a deeper desire for male tenderness while only proximally experiencing the abuses of that relationship. It makes me think back to the last Showtime-based gay relationship that ever got this dark: Queer as Folk’s Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor.
Surprises come in strange packages. Sometimes you think it isn’t worth watching a show based on the subject. After all, most people wouldn’t watch a show about something they’re not interested in. But history has showed, time and time again, that the more people broaden their horizons, the more they find happy surprises. A perfect example is the BBC juggernaut Top Gear.
Poor people are what make America great. Poor people are the best schemers, toughest fighters, and craziest drunks in the country; nay, the world. There is no show that capitalizes on the hilarious antics of poor people like Shameless. The Gallaghers are like the MacGyvers of poverty, only instead of turning paperclips and gum into small arms, they turn crappy situations into extremely funny crappy situations.
I am not a purist. I should define what I think a purist is. To me a purist is someone who always believes the original is better than the remake, and that some things are sacred and should never be changed. A movie purist is someone who believes the new Star Trek wasn’t good because it wasn’t campy. A television purist is the guy who thought House M.D. jumped the shark when the original team left at the end of season 3. It wasn’t. It was when Kutner killed himself so Kal Penn could work in politics. Anyway, purists think the book is always better than the movie. That all cover songs are bad, or at least not as good as the originals. Or maybe that changing the opening credits signals the beginning of a show’s downfall, or losing a principal character is a death sentence. I’ve fallen into the trap of believing these things, but not anymore.