Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thirsty Thursday: Shameless

In 2011, premium channel Showtime released a new showed called Shameless.  Based off of the show with the same name in the U.K., it revolves around a big family named the Gallagher's who do a lot of unapologetic-ally shameless things, hence the title.  The family consists of six kids living in a small house.  Kinda like Full House, right?  Well not exactly.  While both shows center around big families living in small places, Shameless doesn't hold the family friendly aspect that Full House is known for.  And in a way, I like that better.  I will get back to that subject in a few moments but let's first look at the show's plot-line.  In the show, Fiona, the oldest of the six kids, holds the house and the family together after dropping out of high school when her bi-polar mother left and her drunk father refused to take responsibility of his life.  
The show is extremely raunchy...a bit too raunchy at times.  The first episode alone contains multiple nude scenes, a graphic sex scene (borderline porn in some regards), horrific use of language, and shameless choices that make you cringe at how immoral these people are and it can be angering at times.
So why is it this week's drink on Thirsty Thursday?  Why did I pick a show that is seemingly really bad to watch?  Well, in is a great show to watch.

When I first began watching the show, I hated it.  I hated the characters and the choices they made and how the show seemed to consist of a bunch of losers.  But I kept watching and after episode three, I was hooked.  Why episode three?  Episode three was the first episode that I began to see depth to these characters.  I saw a young girl desperate for a mother, an older sister struggling to keep her unreliable father in check, a teen in danger for a crime he didn't commit, and another teen coping with the reality that his father will never love him as much as he loves boos and people who will take care of him.  These are things I can not relate to.  I was raised in a family with both parents who both had well paying jobs and who spent many many hours with me each day.  I was surrounded by loving people and a safe environment.  I never yearned for a mother or a baby doll because I had those things.  I never worried that my father didn't love me because he was always there.  I never had to carry the burden of raising a family before I graduated high school.  Suddenly, the show was humanizing these characters for me and I genuinely cared about what was going to happen to them.
The show takes no shortcuts and doesn't try to live up to typical television standards.  It doesn't try to have a cookie-cutter lesson by the end of the episode (Full House anyone?---not that Full House isn't a good show of course but that is an entirely different issue).  There is no stereotypical family feel
good moment at the end.  It is the story of struggle, love, bad choices, forgiveness, and family.  The plot is very open because the show is character driven which not only makes it more realistic but more "novel" as one of the cast members, William H. Macy, puts it.  Speaking of the cast, they are incredible.  Each one of them encompasses their characters perfectly. 
Now to answer the question, why did I choose Shameless for this week's Thirsty Thursday?  The show literally encompasses the human condition (terminology I feel I may use a lot in these TT have been warned).  It is a look at how messy we humans are!  And yet out of the chaos and heartache is beauty.  Underneath this tragedy of a family sits grace.  Each one of them is caught up in their own battle and doing everything in their power to figure things out.
As a Christian, I see the show as a representation of what life is like when you aren't living for something bigger than yourself - an ideology most people conform to these days.  It represents all the lost kids in the world who didn't have role models growing up.  It is a show about good people who do some pretty bad things.  I encourage everyone to watch it.  You won't be disappointed.
And as always, I will quote the Most Interesting Man in the World - "Stay thirsty my friends."  See you guys next Thursday!

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