Showtime’s Shameless returns on Sunday, and if you’re worried about being conflicted out on your DVR because of the Golden Globes, Downton Abbey, True Detective, and whatever else you watch on Sunday nights at 9 p.m., there’s good news: The season premiere is on YouTube now. If you’re not watching Shameless, you should be. It’s something akin to the drama version of Raising Hope or Roseanne. It’s darkly funny, but wildly entertaining, one of those shows that’s easy to watch, where an hour feels like 20 minutes, and where what’s happening plot-wise is not as important as simply spending time with these characters. They feel famliar, and familial, and though I wouldn’t trade places with any of them. there’s is still the kind of family with which I aspire.
Basically, it’s Parenthood on the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, and it is every bit as warm and cozy as Parenthood, only there’s more drinking and butt plugs in Shameless. They are my favorite kind of characters: Good people, trying to do good things, for good reasons. Unfortunately, life, as it so often does, gets in the way.
If that’s not reason enough to watch, maybe these 12 reasons will be:
1. Because if you like this, you’ll like Shameless.
2. Because Joan Cusack is a goddamn zany — and often heartbreaking — delight.
3. Because Emmy Rossum’s character is a beautiful flirt.
4. And so is Cameron Monaghan’s character, and he can deftly remove a shirt.
5. Because everyone on this show is a liberal user of profanity.
6. Because no one on television drinks like William Macy’s Frank Gallagher.
7. Because, trust me, this is not an empty threat.
8. Because Shameless understands women …
9. … and men.
10. Because this show has an answer for every question.
11. Because anyone who has grown up in an environment like the Gallagher household knows that “this time” is always the same, and part of what makes Shameless so brutally, heartbreakingly real is the fact that the show understands that sh*t luck follows you around when you’re poor, that poorness begets more poorness, and that you get kicked in the ass twice for every small triumph. It’s a cycle that never breaks.
12. Because, in the end, who cares about success, because all that matters is family, and there’s no hardship or obstacle that can’t be overcome if you just stick together. The Gallaghers are wildly dysfunctional, alcoholics, sex addicts, fuck-ups, and deadbeats, but they come together for one another, they protect each other, they succeed together, and most importantly for a family like this, they fail together.