User Reviews (198)

  • tomdavie21 March 2011
    10/10
    Keep Watching
    I have never watched the British version of this show so I cannot comment on the original. I was under the impression it was a new Showtime story.

    I have to admit that started watching because I have always been a fan of William H Macy. However, viewing Macy in this kind of role was startling . I had always seen him in more conventional-almost typecast - parts. I knew that Joan Cusak was a quality actress which lent the project some further credibility.

    At first the show seemed to be almost forced. The plot seemed bizarre, and unbelievable. It seemed awkward. Its quite common for shows to take time to develop chemistry when the actors haven't defined their characters yet. The same can be said for the writers.

    However, I had never seen anything like it. In that regard it was dynamic and worth the time. The young actors soon found their roles and by the 5th episode I found myself thinking about the show every day.

    Now I cant stop watching. Im addicted. The actors are fantastic. The plots are far more developed. The supporting players play a big part in the series, and new characters keep rotating in flawlessly. The show has evolved .

    And just for the record, Im getting really sick and tired of people trashing the show because in their minds it doesn't measure up to the original. Its not supposed to be the original. If you don't like it, stick with the British show.
  • clem myers19 March 2011
    10/10
    A triumph of American television
    I've grown up with the original Shameless. It's a fast paced Comedy-Drama like no other, in that it lends itself perfectly to both without apology or hesitation.

    Whereas the British original finds it's characters living, fornicating, screaming and jumping in the revelry of zero-expectation in a rigid class system, the American remake masterfully equivocates the triumphs and the tribulations of a lower class family existing on the edge of acceptability at the heart of society in a flawless, delicate and shameless manner.

    The pilot introduces the characters, much like their British counterparts, not in an effort to garner their sympathy but simply as a statement of fact. The aspiring teen marine struggling to hide his homosexuality only fears losing the love of his brother, the absent drunk dad who loves his children but through the haze becomes a heckling prophet - a Shakespearean fool who sees through the thin veil of sanity and order, a young woman struggling to keep the family together seeing a way out through a handsome highwayman. These people are not bad even if they do bad things. Society has forgot about them and for that they couldn't care less for it.

    The whole cast is tremendous but William H. Macy rises to the occasion with the father, a Frank Gallagher straight out of a bar in Memphis at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday, last orders, don't interrupt him because he hasn't finished yet, he's got to tell you what's wrong with the world before he wakes up and it all ends. You would believe this guy was a war vet or something with the confidence and delirium at which he pontificates.

    No matter what your race or background you can take something away from Shameless. Most television that likes to call itself Comedy, Drama, or both, tends towards a particular demographic, offering an escape fantasy for, say, the 'off-beat' teens in Glee or the sexually deviant young adults in True Blood or the repressed housewives in that show about the repressed housewives.

    As the designated guardian's new boyfriend takes a seat at the head of the table, he pushes Frank's legs aside as he crashes drunk on the floor. Shameless doesn't escape anything, it lives in the world it is given and every so often reminds you, during those joyously chaotic scenes, that the sweetest lemonade is almost bitter, so it's just as well every episode is only an hour for you to laugh, cry and enjoy.

    Moments of anarchic jubilation inter lap, run over and sometimes juxtapose flourishes of near-the-bone reality, served eloquently on a fresh platter to which America needs to to have the stomach for.
  • ssih29 April 2011
    10/10
    I've seen both. The American is better. (But not by a lot)
    I was halfway through the American series before I even KNEW there was a British series. I think a was a little disappointed that we didn't create it, but I was also happy that it was one of the few shows that we copied without ruining it. When I checked some of the user reviews, I was surprised to see how many thought the show to be appalling. OK, not everyone will share my love for the show, but to rate it SO badly? But when I looked, the author of nearly every bad review was a fan of the original show. This simply sounds like a case of liking what you know. "I don't care how good their cooking is. It ain't as good as my Mom's!"

    Once I finished the American series, I gave it about a month to settle in and then started watching the British series. But I'd like to think that I was objective enough to judge it on its on merits, and not simply that it's different than what I'm used to.

    Since, as many have pointed out, the script is nearly word-for-word identical, the difference lies mainly in how the actors portray the characters.

    So I'm going to give my character-by-character head-to-head appraisal of UK vs. US. I'm going to use the character names rather than the actors' names for simplicity. Starting from the youngest...

    Little Debbie: UK wins this one hands down. No contest. She steals every scene she's in. Who can not fall in love with this girl???

    Carl: This one's close, but the UK one is (at least in the first season) a little more deranged and fun to watch.

    Ian: Another close one, but this goes to UK, too. US Ian is somber and good looking, but UK Ian always seems a bit panicky, and the wide-angle closeups of his face make him look pretty bizarre.

    Lip: This is solidly with the US. I like US Lip's darkness. He seems more responsible and intelligent. UK Lip is just kind of impish and unsure. You can depend on US Lip and he offers some of the only real family support to Fiona.

    Kevin: Dead heat.

    Veronica: Very different performances by each, but in the end, I like them the same.

    Fiona: This was a difficult one to call, but I'm giving it to the US. And this is probably because I saw them first. I just like her better. Hard to put my finger on the reason.

    Frank: Sorry, UK, but I just don't like your Frank. I understand the character is usually drunk, but he seems that way even before he starts drinking. He seems clinically stupid. US Frank (Macy) is equally as obnoxious, entitled, selfish and deluded, but he only seems drunk when he's drunk. At other times, his pontificating is fun to listen to. You feel good about hating the guy, because he's like this by choice. With UK Frank, you have to pity him. I feel like I'm laughing at someone who's mentally challenged.
  • sagenegron6 February 2011
    8/10
    Absolutely, Wildly, Unapologetically Awesome.
    For the record, this review is coming from a person who has never seen the UK version.

    I think this show is very good. It has many great qualities. Great characters, touching story, and interesting plot. Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy are hilarious, and the rest of the cast is simply terrific. The story is very good as well. The family is so dysfunctional, its hard to resist. The characters are very well-developed and likable. Each episode is great and its interesting how many bad situations this family manages to get out of without getting in trouble.

    A lot of people don't like this show because of its minor flaws, but if you look past those flaws, you will find this very enjoyable.

    I highly recommend it.
  • skysaxon25 January 2011
    8/10
    Fluid direction, crisp script, helmed by trio of fine performances
    Note: I have not seen the UK version.

    I wasn't sure what to make of the first episode of Shameless. I wasn't sold on the characters and the direction seemed directionless. In fact, it wasn't until the third ep that my eyes were opened. It's as if the actors have found their mark and the characters have come to life.

    While the ensemble cast is solid, and Macy is at his irascible best, it is the performance of three of the actors which makes Shameless something special. Emmy Rossum, as the 'adult' glue that holds the family together, has rightly received the most press. Her role requires a combination of strength, resolve, humour and vulnerability - qualities that would thwart a lesser actress. Rossum is able to convincingly bring it all together with fire and sexuality in addition to her other qualities.

    Equally effective in his role as the younger brother Lip, Jeremy Allen White brings a world-weary innocence to his character. Blessed with a malleable physiognomy, White is at once rascal and protector of the brood. White makes us want to know Lip better. That's rare.

    In a smaller role but probably my favourite is Emma Kenney as little sister Debbie. Her deadpan wisecracks supply the laugh-out-loud moments while her heartbreaking scenes of longing for parental love bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened soul. She can act toe-to-toe with Macy and still steal the scene.

    The rest of the cast is almost as good. Their performances would be wasted, however, without a tight script and fluid - but not frenetic - direction. The third episode brought all these pieces together in a fascinating show. Whether the writing and direction can sustain this level of quality over a season we don't know. What we do have for now is some of the best ensemble acting you will see on TV or on film.
  • ruffneck54325 February 2011
    9/10
    Awesome Show
    I don't leave reviews very often but I had to for this show. I have not seen the UK version and don't really care to because this show is just top notch. I had never heard of this show since I work overseas but ended up catching the 5th episode and absolutely loved it. I told all of the guys in the fire station about it and ever since we have had to catch up on all of the previous episodes. Everyone in the department loves this show and that is a hard thing to do. All of the characters are just great and have so many flaws. William H. Macy does an awesome job as the dysfunctional father. I gave it the highest review I think a show can receive because I don't think there is a perfect show, but this comes darn close. I definitely recommend this show.
  • imazombie17 January 2011
    10/10
    For those who've never seen the original
    Many of the reviews on here are complaining about how much the U.S. version copies the original. I've not seen a single episode of the original and, to me, the U.S. version is well acted, entertaining and perhaps one of my new favorites. I could care less that it's word for word from the original because this is all new to me. The actors portray the characters amazingly and I feel the storyline represents struggling families realistically. Each character will remind you of someone you know or have known. So for those who are like me and you've never seen the original, I absolutely suggest checking out Shameless, the U.S. remake. I look forward to seeing the rest of the season and maybe one day I'll even check out the original.
  • lucky_ducks10 January 2011
    8/10
    Great Cast and Great Plot
    I'll start by saying that if you have watched the UK version of this (Which by the way was made by Channel 4 and Company Pictures and NOT the BBC as these other reviews suggest) You probably won't enjoy this first episode. Its a straight transition of the script with some adjustments.

    However having seen shows that were changed beyond all recognition I can say that is a good thing.

    The cast are excellent in their roles and the story which is far from the usual tame fodder of American drama is handled with honesty and realism. The characters mostly have their own interests to consider as well as the kids trying to keep their family together.

    William H Macy is ideal in a role which doesn't allow him much initial screen time but I'm sure future episodes will focus on him since Frank is such a fascinating character. Can't wait for episode 2.
  • basketkasexo10 January 2011
    10/10
    not as bad as you think it is.
    I cant seem to understand the hate for the American version, i am a huge fan of the Original series, actually the preview for this got me into the original series! after watching the pilot of this, i can say its gonna be good, and its something America needs, besides another "reality series" whether you're watching the original or American remake its still a good show. however there are a few things changed in the American remake and they are very subtle changes, like Ian being interested in the military and Liam being black, those are the only huge changes. there were allot of drastic changes made to the original series which made it much better, such as getting rid of some characters and adding a bunch of new ones. lets just hope this remakes gets to live 7 seasons.
  • ImADorkOfCourse27 November 2012
    Addicting.
    Warning: Spoilers
    I watched the first 2 seasons of Shameless in one month. It's that good. Shameless is witty, funny, fresh, and just overall, amazing, and all because of the characters. You have Frank, the alcoholic father of six, Monica, the bi-polar mom who split long ago. Then there's Fiona, the early-twenties oldest child, who dropped out of high school and works odd jobs to support the other five kids. Lip, short for Philip, is the genius teenager, Ian is the gay one, who desperately want to join the Army. Then Carl, who likes to light road-kill on fire, and Debbie, the "little-mother" type, and Liam, the half-black infant. Fi does her best to take care of her brothers, and sisters, as well as balance some sort of social life. Shameless combines issues of alcoholism, crime, juvenile delinquents, gay teens, mental disorder, drugs, alcohol, foster care, polygamist colonies, teen pregnancy, illegal immigration, and it deals with these issues in an appealing way. Overall, Shameless is one of the best shows currently on TV.
  • Adam Brown8 October 2012
    8/10
    Pretty damn good for an American remake
    the original British version is one of my favourite shows on TV and when i first heard that they were remaking it in the states, i like many others had serious doubts of it translating well, especially if you think of how glamorous American TV is and how unglamourous a show like shameless is. However i can safely say that John Wells and Showtime really have nailed it in adapting the show for the US audience. this can be said with how successful the show has been in America, which is great because it sort of mimics the same success the UK version had when it debuted in 2004. Despite there being some flaws, Showtime have overall done a terrific job in adapting shameless.

    while the story lines for the first season are pretty much americanised versions of the first series of the British version, there are several episodes that have there own story lines and the whole of season 2 completely deviates from the British story lines, in fact while watching season 2, the show felt more of a completely different show rather than a remake. the acting from everyone is very good, especially from Emmy Rossum, Joan cusack and William Macy. the story lines that the US writing team come up with are generally very inventive and have that same tongue and cheek humour that the British series has. the chemistry between Lip and Ian as well as Fiona and Steve is one of the strongest aspects of the show. the music is also great and fits into the show well.

    Now i am going to talk about the flaws of the show. even though i am from the UK and am not entirely familiar with American culture and how people live, there doesn't seem to be that much poverty to the show. the show just seems to be too glamorous and clean as opposed to the grittiness of the original UK version. another problem i have is William Macy as Frank. to me, David Threlfall IS Frank and while Macy isn't bad in the role, he just doesn't have that same quality that Threlfall delivers in the UK version. many fans of the UK version may also find the deviations in this version to be quite off-putting.

    Overall, do i prefer this version to the original? the answer is No, i don't. while the acting, the story lines, the music and the overall feel to the show is great, this version just doesn't have the same spark as the original one has and i can also relate to the UK one more. if you are a fan of the UK version, you may find this remake hard to enjoy, however if you are able to ignore the fact that it is based on a British show and treat it as an entirely different show altogether, Shameless USA can be a very fun and entertaining show. if your American and haven't seen either version, then you probably will enjoy the US version more than the UK version.
  • Kev6 August 2011
    9/10
    Loved the British Original...US version tops it
    I've followed the original version in the UK since it started and it's still going strong (to correct an earlier reviewer it wasn't aired on the BBC, it's a Channel Four series). I therefore approached this with apprehension. To take a loved UK program and set it in the US has a history of failures but I liked the look of the trailer and gave it a go. I have to admit that throughout the first episode I was constantly thinking 'oh she's not as good as so and so' or 'I much prefer David to William'. However there was a lot packed into that episode and the script was pretty good. Come episode two I was hooked and to honest much prefer this version.

    It has cleverly achieved what the UK version has in taking a subject and a group of characters that most people should loathe and turned them into a lovable group, all beautifully portrayed. Real, rounded, believable characters and so many of them too. Many people will have been turned off this by the trailer and thought it's not for them which is a shame. It really is extremely well written with great pace and some superb performances. I love Emmy Rossum and her portrayal of Fiona is astounding. I agree that William H Macy's Frank is more likable since he isn't always drunk and Joan Cusack is perfect as Sheila (I found the UK Sheila quite annoying).

    We are only up to episode 7 of the US series here in the UK and its top of my weekly viewing. Great to see they are making a second series in the US and in fact given they have plenty of material to use, since we are up to Series 8 here in the UK, I hope it has the same longevity.
  • Sil6 April 2012
    4/10
    A series that will make you suffer
    Warning: Spoilers
    /* Update Season 4 - warning spoilers*/

    I am absolutely disgusted by season 4.

    Am I the only one to think the evolution of most characters doesn't make any sense at all?

    Fiona, a paragon of responsibility, strong enough to support a family of lunatics, juggling between so many jobs suddenly does drug, lets drug in range of her baby brother and most of all refuses to take full responsibility for the incident? She dates a brother and sleeps with the other one many times ?

    Lip destroys a handful of cars in front of the university but isn't expelled or investigated in any way ?

    Seems only Carl acts like he always had.

    Medically, we have one miracle after the other. Frank survives despite having been diagnosed by two doctors as being days away from his death. Kevin and Veronica having babies in spite of a 99,999 % odds against.

    I sure hope season 5 reverse the trend or I'm done with the series.

    /* End Update Season 4 - warning spoilers*/

    After all that happens she has no other idea than violate her house arrest to almost overdose with the brother that destroyed her life ?

    Shameless is a TV series with lots going for it.

    The excellent cast makes the many relationships (love, romance, brotherhood, friendship) credible, interesting and even addicting.

    The writers manage to intertwine many stories at the same time with different views and outlook on life, from kids to elderlies, which is quite refreshing.

    While it relates quite a hard and sometimes horrendous reality, the ever present humor helps make it palatable, as well as the drive, the courage and the sense of community of most family members and friends.

    It is quite heart braking to watch Monica and Frank though. While most characters in spite of their darkness have some redeeming qualities (the grandmother for example who in the end gives the money to her sons and even wants to get additional city money by trying to get run by a bus) it is very hard to find anything positive about the parents. They are absolutely selfish and one episode after another is a show of how they constantly bend everything to their advantage.

    Frank in particular is a tough sell. He will go so far as to kill for money (preventing a heart transplant) and thinks of only one thing: himself.

    It is a testament to the brilliance of the writers as well as the formidable acting of Macy that one still cares about his character.
  • mendie225 January 2011
    8/10
    Hanging out with the Gallaghers
    I don't know if you can call 2011 the year the BBC invaded American television, but it comes darn close. The first of the shows to premiere in the new year will be Showtime's version of the British award winning Shameless. Shameless follow Frank Gallagher, played by William H. Macy, and his not quite normal family. For instance the youngest of the Gallagher clan is quite obviously not Frank's yet that isn't even the family's biggest concern. Nor would it be the fact that in order to make ends meet and keep the electricity from being turned off all the kids chip in including the youngest daughter who takes up a collection that is supposed to be turned into Unicef. Yeah those are problems alright, but like I said they aren't the Gallagher's biggest problem. Their biggest problem would be Frank and his inability to stay sober long enough to pay more than his bar tab at the neighborhood pub.

    With that being said the first 21 minutes of Shameless doesn't detour much from the British version and that's OK. Instead of feeling as though I had seen it before (which I had) I just felt as though I was being introduced to a new slightly (overly) dysfunctional family. This was mostly in part to the cast who not only owned their roles they owned whatever scenes they were in and I don't say this lightly. Not once during the preview did I feel as though this was a family I was supposed to pity and feel bad for. This was a family I wanted to know and to hang out with. Luckily for me starting Sunday January 9, 2011 I get to hang out with the Gallagher family.
  • wleongittens-111 March 2012
    9/10
    A Must See
    I watched a lot of television, and this is the best show on TV!

    Excellent cast. writing and direction. Engaging, thoughtful and entertaining, every moment of each episode. More happens within the first 30 minutes of this program than a full hour of most other programs.

    William Macy is at his very, very best and Ms. Rossum is a pure delight! If he wasn't a star before this, Jeremy Allen White is someone you better pay attention to because he is magic.

    But no one gives me more joy on this program than Ms. Joan Cusack. If she doesn't win an Emmy for her performance as the reclusive, bewildered and wacky Sheila Jackson then there's no justice in the world. Performances by Emma Kenney and Steve Howey are two more stars of this excellent ensemble enterprise that are not to be missed.

    This is appointment television at it's best and you know that because when each episode ends, it leaves you wanting more.
  • Dick Clarke22 April 2012
    8/10
    Outstanding! Outrageous!
    Outstanding cast, writing and direction. Too bad that it's audience is limited to cable. But certainly only suitable for adult viewers.

    Perfect blend of pathos, outrageous comedy and drama.

    It is amazing and disappointing that William Macy has not won a major award for his portrayal.

    Joan Cusack is priceless.

    Louise Fletcher's performance as the grandma is awesome and deserving of a major award too.

    The other members of the cast constantly surprise with their acting abilities.

    This program is not to be missed!

    I cannot wait to see season 3.
  • matthew-mciver5 September 2011
    10/10
    Loved it!!!
    It is an absolutely awesome show, a lot of American remakes of British TV shows suck, i.e Skins, but than you get the good ones like Being Human and this. This show pick a bunch of actors who are well suited to their rolls, including Joan cusack, who hasn't seen much lately, but she found her way as a crazy Agoraphobic. The show is entertaining, also includes a great comedic side, but holds it's family drama genre in place, it's interesting to see the outcome of each episode.

    It has good music, intriguing themes and great use of a comedic look at an alcoholic father unlike a lot of other dramas. can't wait to see more.
  • Phil Parker16 August 2011
    10/10
    Surprisingly excellent remake
    I am a big fan of the UK series and expected the US remake to be a diluted and sanitised version of the original.

    I'm surprised to find I'm enjoying it as much as the original.

    The cast members have been brilliantly chosen and the show has lost none of its edginess and originality.

    The conversion of the setting from the UK to the US is treated brilliantly. The only thing that seems strange is that the original character names have been retained which don't always seem to very American (but maybe that's just me).

    I'm looking forward to season two and will be interested to see if it starts to divert from the original story lines.
  • Carlee Smith26 July 2011
    10/10
    The Rating says it all
    I saw Emmy Rossum's interview with Chelsea Handler & decided to give it a watch. My hopes weren't that high because the USA hasn't done too good a job of bring UK shows over and keeping everything that made them great in the UK. This show demolishes that stereotype. The characters of Veronica and Kevin are definitely the funniest characters on the show. Frank's character makes you hate him to the core but not enough to destroy the show. Fiona is the one you all love and hate you love her for everything she does but sometimes hate her for some of her decisions she makes them for the good of the family not necessarily for the good of herself which isn't what we've come to expect from TV. This show is just amazing & is killing me for making me have to wait until 2012 for season 2.
  • stone field26 May 2016
    9/10
    You should watch this, I mean it
    I really enjoyed watching "shameless" because the of the great play of actors, and also because of the interesting story. The series feel so alive and real, with all these problems always coming up with the Gallaghers. This family is so messed up and fun to watch, that I can't have enough of one episode at a time, I need like two at once to get satisfied. This poor family, always stealing, cheating and lying to survive, doing drugs and so on, one can never get bored with their chaos and dysfunction. I am planning to watch the original version so that I can compare the both, it's really interesting to see all the characters in another way. A great thanks to the guys that shoot this series. I have not yet watched the original version of "shameless", but I am sure that if I do watch the British version, I will still love the both of them the same.
  • blueleperchaun21 February 2011
    9/10
    This show rocks
    This show put me off at first, but I got hooked because the characters are so likable that I watched Dragonball Evolution. I never had any desire to see that movie before. I've never heard the theme song "The Luck you Got" before this show but I really do dig it though. I think this show is very well cast and I can never tell what is going to happen next. It's a very effective break from real life. I suppose the main reason that I like it so much though is because I identify with one of the characters and it reminds me of my crazy ass family. Anyways I'm just trying to raise the rating of Shameless because I want to see more episodes. So watch the show.
  • arabelamargean1 April 2014
    10/10
    Living a show...not watching it! It's that real!
    Warning: Spoilers
    This show makes you feel the hard stuff they are feeling right down to even crying or feeling guilty for anything wrong you might have done. It is a show that makes you think about life and helps you make choices. It's like the characters are doing the wrong ones so you don't have to. So sit tight, for you may feel guilty for being in prison from your own couch and then cry at the sight of freedom! The casting director is a genius man! Sheila, Lip and Fiona are a fresh breeze of new acting, while all the rest are simply delightful! All the actors in this series are excellent. Some may say that the script is exaggerated, but once you've seen 3 episodes you will soon realize it's really not! Discover for yourself why!
  • Ben Fouts2 April 2012
    10/10
    Fantastic, great story, and completely addicting
    This is one of my all time favorite shows, I have watched the UK version and the US version and both have their own taste.People who complain about how the story is exactly the same as the UK version is half correct. The American version has characters each person can relate to rich or poor but the premise and reason for connecting with this show stems from the UK story plot. Much like the US version of the show skins (A terrible remake of the amazing British original) (Not supporting it, simply awful) it makes you feel like you could be in it/live like them. If you are reading reviews to tell you if you should watch it....don't, explore for yourself. I love to agree with people and show my opinion that I hope it is picked up for a third season with the same cast. Acting and scene cuts are fluid, and it is simply easy to watch by far nothing new or groundbreaking, just a great time. Other shows I really enjoy are. (no specific order)

    -Game of thrones -Southland -Southpark -Archer -House of Lies -Skins (UK) -Californication -Bobs Burgers (occasionally, some episodes are not funny similar to southpark) -Mad Men -(Sometimes**) The Big Bang Theory -(Sometimes***) How I met Your Mother -Parks and Recreations -30 Rock -Up All Night -Tosh.0 -(Only watched one episode) Smash -And others I am probably missing I am an 19 year old male so obviously take the demographic into account.
  • elevationus28 March 2012
    9/10
    the first season is brilliant, the second is a waste...
    I really enjoyed the US version of Shameless Season 1, good humor, interesting characters, I watched all episodes in one day, really breathtaking and enjoyable experience, it became one of my favorite series to date. I have never been a great fan of William H. Macy's roles but I feel he has born to be Frank Gallagher in Shameless. So I recommend season 1 for anyone who want to spend some good time. Season 2 is really uninteresting, as if I am watching a completely different show with different plot and characters. I was really eager to find out what happens with the Gallaghers next, but not anymore. The jokes are not funny, the drama is boring and cliché
  • LAmitch22 March 2012
    9/10
    This is excellent TV, but not for children or the easily offended
    Confession first - I usually like British TV shows, but have always found US adaptations lacking. For Instance, I really like the UK version of Being Human, and cannot make myself watch a complete episode of the US version; I would perhaps feel differently if I hadn't seen entire UK version before watching the US version.

    Well I'd never seen or even heard of the UK version of Shameless, and I only started watching the US version from the beginning of season 2. Somehow I stumbled across an episode earlier this month, and read largely favorable reviews, save some who'd seen the UK version first. I then used Showtime On Demand to watch the entire second season.

    I highly recommend the show, but believe that some people might be offended by the harsh language, nudity, and sexual content as the show is full of all three. If this were a movie playing at the cinema, it would likely be rated NC-17; as it's on subscription TV, it's rated TV- MA (Adult Content, Graphic Language, Nudity). If such content offends your sensibilities, you will not like this show, and should just avoid it; this is no show for children.

    Shameless is a good title for the program; an alternative, more descriptive title might be "Social Dysfunction Olympics: One family's race to the bottom". It's listed as being a Drama and Comedy, but the comedy is usually of the tragic or dark variety. The core family, their friends and neighbors are multi-generation families in a poor neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. The current generation of siblings have largely raised themselves because the parents are too busy chasing their next score, whether that be money, booze, or drugs; you quickly realize that sex is often a tool used to score.

    The father and mother are perhaps the most reprehensible people one could imagine, but the way it plays out, they usually show just enough humanity to allow the audience to not want to kill them. The children are better people than their parents, and the parents are perhaps slightly better than the grandmother. It's all so tragic, but there are also heart warming scenes. Each episode is like an emotional roller-coaster ride, eliciting concern, fear, frustration, and laughter from the audience.

    If you have not seen the show before, there is a writeup at wikipedia which gives plenty of background on each of the characters, but also contains significant spoilers. Make sure to lookup the US version as the UK is different and also listed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shameless_(U.S._TV_series)
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