01/11/2014 04:17 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2014

'Shameless' Shows Dysfunctional With a Capital D

Shamelessis beginning its fourth season on SHOWTIME and it has collected some diehard fans over the years. If you have not yet sampled the pleasures of watching the dysfunctional Gallagher family in action then you are missing a real treat, or perhaps you are missing nothing important. Observing the Gallagher family is a matter of taste, and just about everything the Gallaghers do is in bad taste. Each member of the family is on a downward slope and most seem unable to see the slide or stop it.

In this new season daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum,who is the caretaker of the family, has a job. This will give the family some financial stability and also give them health insurance. This is a step up all the way round, but Fiona being Fiona has to jeopardize it. She does this by starting to date her boss Mike (Jake McDorman). It's fine as long as the relationship is going good, but what happens to her job if she breaks it off with him?

Meanwhile father Frank (William H. Macy) shows up once again. He is still an alcoholic and still needs and wants to be taken care of. Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is the child most sympathetic to him. He tries to enlist Fiona's help but Fiona is beyond caring about Frank. He has made his bed and now he can lie in it.

Oldest son Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is now in college. It is a chance for him to break loose from his family and make something of himself. For Lip, however, old habits die hard. He is still slacking off in all areas and is always looking for the easy way out. His brother Ian (Cameron Monaghan) has disappeared but nobody is really looking for him.

Then there is Debbie (Emma Kenney). She is acting way too old for her age and this might lead her into trouble. She is looking for a boyfriend and in the Gallagher family a boyfriend means more complications.

All of these "problems" are front and center in this new season. The acting is still above average, but viewers may wish that somebody in the family would show some sense. Still if they did then Shameless would not be shameless, and that seems to be what viewers want to see.

Shameless premieres Sunday, January 12 at 9PM on SHOWTIME.

To view the first episode of this season go to

Jackie K Cooper