‘Shameless’: the most addictive show on TV - The Daily Athenaeum: Opinion

‘Shameless’: the most addictive show on TV

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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 12:09 am | Updated: 12:11 am, Mon Apr 14, 2014.

As any dedicated fan knows, the season finale of a beloved series is a big deal. Prior to the big event, there is usually some casual stalking of every single cast member on Instagram, Twitter and whatever else we can get our paws on. We might even watch old episodes to get excited. Then there is speculation with our friends on what could possibly happen. We try to debunk what the producers want us to think and concoct our own brilliant theories.

Sunday night saw the finale of season four of “Shameless,” a Showtime series whose name accurately reflects the characters’ actions.

“Shameless” takes place in the South Side neighborhood of Chicago and follows the dysfunctional antics of the Gallagher family. Father Frank Gallagher takes the word alcoholic to a new level, leaving oldest siblings Fiona and Lip to care for themselves and the other four kids.

Anyone who watches the series for five minutes can tell you that it contains enough drinking, drugs, sex and vulgar language to top any show on television. But is the vulgarity the sole reason people are so obsessed with “Shameless”? I believe it is only one of the many fascinating aspects of the show.

“Shameless” was the best performing first-year drama on Showtime and only continues to grow in popularity, as the show is signed for a fifth season. There are so many reasons for the adoration of this incredible series. “Shameless” is real – as real as it gets.

No, it’s not reality television; which tends to be extremely detached from most people’s reality, ironically. It’s not a show about spoiled kids in Beverly Hills, plastic-looking housewives or any other of the hundreds of shows depicting wealth and drama. In a society that exaggerates political correctness and stifling speech so as not to ever offend, this show couldn’t care less.

It’s addictive to see what will come of the characters’ mouth next – nothing is off-limits.

The Gallagher kids are far from one-dimensional. The characters are so deeply developed, and the difficult times they face strip them down to the core, making viewers truly connect with them.

They’ve grown up with a mentally ill mother who abandoned them and an alcoholic father who does nothing to help them in life. We see not only the financial burden that shackles the family but also the emotional baggage each Gallagher carries throughout all the drama of daily life. The show is a true portrait of how addiction affects every member of a family.

The fourth season of “Shameless” has been especially dark.

We’ve watched each sibling hit a rock bottom and grapple with self-destructive behavior as Frank is on his death bed. Viewers find themselves emotionally invested and rooting for all of the siblings to get their acts together.

Although the show gets heavy, there are even more times when it leaves you crying in laughter. Joan Cusack is brilliant playing the hilarious role of Sheila, whose comedic timing couldn’t be more perfect. The Gallaghers’ neighbors, Kev and V, also provide comedic relief.

Just when you think the show cannot get any more ridiculous, something comes out of absolutely nowhere that leaves you speechless. “Shameless” is an absolutely twisted series that will leave you on the edge of your seat every single time.

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