If you’ve seen the show, you know this is far from true.  On the contrary, the Gallagher’s are in the running for the most dysfunctional family on television.  Despite the dysfunction, very few families share this kind of strong love and familial bond.

I’m not talking about the Gallaghers of Manchester (the original show is from the UK).  I’m talking about the Gallaghers from Chi-town – the south side – the neighborhood of Canaryville to be exact. If you don’t know, Canaryville is one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago.  Predmoninately, Irish-American; a majority Poor.

"Based on a long-running British drama, Shameless stars William H. Macy as the alcoholic patriarch of a big blue-collar family in Chicago, the Gallaghers. The mother is AWOL, and with the alcoholic patriarch (Macy) usually passed out on the living-room floor, their smart but unpredictable 18-year-old daughter, Fiona (Rossum), is tasked with keeping her five younger brothers and sisters on the straight and narrow." sidereel.com

The Gallaghers are no Cosby’s; far from it.  Parents are unemployed.  Children fend for themselves.  Both parents are either intoxicated, inebriated, incapacitated, or recovering in rehab.  Despite the flaws, you will feel a special bond with the clan as you watch the characters navigate their extra-ordinary lives.  Watching their love and devotion to each other will have you questioning idealized perceptions of family relationships and the true meaning of “family”.

“Set in working-class Chicago, the Gallagher family, a working class family of eight, must survive the ups and downs of today’s recession. With a mother who is out of her element and an alcoholic father who usually ends up passed out on the living room floor, 18-year-old daughter Fiona is left with the task of keeping her five younger brothers and sisters on the straight and narrow. This series is based on the UK series of the same name.”  tv.com

Here’s a quick summary on the clan:

via showtime.com

Frank (William H. Macy): Father and partiarch; the classic alcoholic. Rarely is Frank lucid, but he always love his kids.

via socialanxietysupport.com

Fiona (Emmy Rossum): Daughter and matriarch.  Without Fiona, the kids wouldn’t get to school, the house would not be cleaned, there would be no family.  She’s the glue, she’s the balance.  Unfortunately, for Fiona, everyone comes first and she comes last.

via tvmsn.com

Lip (Jeremy Allen White) Family genius and math prodigy.  Lip eats calculus and physics equations like candy.

via afterelton.com

Ian (Cameron Monaghan): ROTC candidate . . . he may or may not be happy about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

via statictvguide.com

Debbie (Emma Kenney): Fiona’s right hand.  She’s only 11, but, she manages to run a day-care and bring home bacon.

via spoilertv.co.uk

Carl (Ethan Cutkosky): Please keep all lighters and dangerous tools away from Carl.

via tvguide.com

Liam (Brennan Kane Johnson & Blake Alexander Johnson): Little button.

 

The Showtime show is currently on hiatus. Season 3 will return in 2013. However, season 1 and 2 are ready to go on Netflix.

Season 1

“Frank goes missing and turns up in Toronto, tries without success to embrace sobriety, and bends the law to protect his disability checks; Fiona falls for Steve, a handsome player with a nice car, a fat wallet, and a big secret; Ian embraces his sexuality, much to the chagrin of his brainy brother Lip; lonely Debbie kidnaps a little boy from a birthday party; the errant Monica shows up and announces she’s taking baby Liam.” showtime.com

Season 2

“Frank and Monica rekindle their self-destructive relationship after Frank’s mother returns from prison to wreak havoc; Fiona is thrown for a loop when Steve returns from Rio with a Brazilian wife; Lip drops out of school and moves out of the house in preparation for the arrival of his and Karen’s baby; Karen and Sheila tussle over Karen’s new husband Jody, a good-hearted but weird guy she met in Sexaholics Anonymous; Ian tries to get into West Point; Debbie prepares for the onset of puberty; Kev and Veronica contemplate starting a family.The show is geared towards the adult market (a bit of caution for the little ones).” showtime.com