By Matt Goldstein
William H. Macy stars in the new Showtime series Shameless as the white trash drunken alcoholic Frank Gallagher. As Frank is a complete waste of life and space, the characters that drive the show are Frank Gallagher’s family, daughter Fiona who takes care of the family with Frank basically incapacitated, sons Lip, Ian, Carl, daughter Debbie, Fiona’s love interest Steve and neighbors Veronica and Kev.
Fiona has the thankless job of cooking, cleaning, assigning chores and taking the role of mother and father in the house. Ian, a gay teenager who’s in the army is sleeping with the neighborhood store owner Muslim who’s married with a family. Lip, older brother and best friend of Ian, tutor’s the local bad girl Karen and receives extra special treatment from his prized student. Steve, Fiona’s love interest is a high level car thief and although skinny and good looking, can knockout a bar bouncer with one shot. Veronica, who is the neighbor and best friend of Fiona, is dating the bartender Kev and has a very wild sex life.
While a bit fun and entertaining, the snappy dialogue and cliché character bios fill the plot line but fall short of anything real. For one, white trash people don’t have snappy dialogue! White Trash starts and ends with a good college education and none of these characters should know what they’re talking about at any time.
William H. Macy overacts his way through a character he knows nothing about. Maybe typecast a bit as a middle class wimpy neurotic nerd in other movies, Macy is overdramatizes the life of an alcoholic.
The tutor receiving a study time BJ, the gay army teen sleeping with an Arab Muslim, the high profile car thief Steve who steals nothing but Ferrari’s, the drunken out of work dad who spends every dime on alcohol and nothing on the family, the oldest sister as the motherly figure, all add up to a cliché, overdone glorified FX biker/fireman show with more sex, nudity and cursing. But hey, whack snappy dialogue and overtly surreal artificially complex characters are exactly what America loves, especially with sex, drugs, alcohol and partying.
We’ll give this show a few more episodes but don’t expect much.