“Shameless” Season 9 Premiere
By Christina Reavly
The show “Shameless” follows the Gallagher family as they try to navigate life with little to no parental guidance or structure. Emmy Rossum's character, Fiona Gallagher, acts as a parental figure to her younger siblings while living through her early 20s. During this time, her father, Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy), struggles with multiple addictions and a failure to assume adult responsibilities. The drama and antics of the Gallaghers have been key to Shameless’ record-high ratings and is why it has been a fan favorite on Showtime. The show explores serious topics such as drug abuse, mental illness, and sexuality, through a humorous lens to help explain them to the viewer. The adult content and language has had little harmful effect on the show’s views, and if anything the content actually attracts a larger audience. The show having viewers much younger than their recommended age of 17 or older.
At the end of season eight’s finale, none of the members of the Gallagher clan were in a good place. The closing scene showed Frank running from authorities, Debbie (Emma Kenney) losing three toes, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) adopting a God complex, Lip (Jeremy A. White) taking in a 10 year old child, Liam (Christian Isaiah) separating himself from Frank and his criminal background and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) leaving for military school. On the surface, Shameless may only seem to be a comedy but the lives of the recurring characters become important to viewers. Viewers watch the characters battle problems of poverty, hunger, substance abuse, and mental health. Today, the cast of Shameless has built an enormous fan-base because of their depictions of irresponsibility, recklessness, and honest representation of struggle and poverty.
Despite the show’s success, Emmy Rossum has announced that this will be her final season on the show. This announcement left many fans confused about the future of “Shameless" and why exactly she chose to leave. Rossum is one of the main characters of the show and has been since the show started seven years ago in 2011. Because such a major character will be leaving at the end of season nine, it has also been announced that this season will run 14 episodes long instead of its normal 12 episodes. The increase in the number of episodes is to ensure that Rossum’s character leaves the show in the best possible way.
Following the announcement of Rossum’s departure, the season nine viewing ratings are down from the previous season. On premiere night, Shameless delivered 1.68 million viewers, down from 2.17 million last year. The season nine opener did not steer away from its normal shenanigans with violence and debauchery. The first episode of the season focused on Frank’s recklessness and the importance of sexual health when the Department of Health and Human Services gets involved to rid Frank and rest of Holy Trinity's PTA of multiple STDs. Fiona begins the process of refinancing her property in order to bail Ian out of jail, but questions her decisions when it becomes apparent that Ian is not being properly medicated for bipolar disorder. Debbie is used as an example to show gender pay-gaps in the male dominated welding industry. Carl is still trying to better himself in military school while attempting to separate himself from ex girlfriend Cassidy (Sammi Hanratty). Lip works to stay sober while being responsible for a 10 year old and Liam is proving to be a much better person than his father Frank. With the ongoing season, “Shameless” fans will have to continue watching to learn if the Gallaghers will get their lives on track.