Shameless is the car wreck of cable TV. This Showtime series spotlights a fictional family that is so repugnant in so many ways that you can't help but watch it. William H. Macy leads the cast of talented actors who bring this spectacle to life. He plays Frank, the patriarch of the Gallagher family that resides in Chicago. Inside this dysfunctional family are all types of people who scrape by. But -- and this is the saving grace -- they are fanatically devoted to each other. If one Gallagher gets in trouble then all the rest of them ride to the rescue.
Emmy Rossum gets the "What's a nice girl like you doing in a show like this?" award. She plays Fiona, Frank Gallagher's oldest daughter. She is the de facto parent in the home as Frank is usually away from the house on a bender or getting into trouble. It falls on her to take care of her siblings and lord knows there are a lot of them. Frank has sired a lot of children and somehow has ended up with them all at his house. Fiona manages to keep them all alive and seemingly healthy -- at least physically.
Viewers can never pin down exactly what are the moral boundaries of this family. They appear to have some code by which they live but it isn't clear where the lines begin or end. Even Fiona has a flexible type of morality. Still I know there is a code of conduct if I can only find it.
This season Frank is still looking for ways to make money so he can score more drugs and drink more alcohol. He is still living with Sheila (a shrill Joan Cusack) who is agoraphobic but making small steps of progress. Fiona has a new potential boyfriend named Adam (a bewildered looking James Wolk), and a new BFF named Jasmine (Amy Smart).
Once you watch an episode of Shameless you will swear you aren't going to watch any more, but then there you are -- following each and every episode. It is addictive; once it grabs you, it won't let go. You might as well just surrender and go with the flow.
The program is strictly for adults as it contains nudity, sex scenes, drug use, violence and gross language. That is what you expect from cable channels these days and this one delivers the goods.
Season Two of Shameless premieres on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 9 p.m. Go on and set the TiVo for the entire season. One episode is all it takes to hook you.