Our Pages

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shamelessly Biding My Time...

Everyone knows that I am a huge HUGE fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Love it! Probably my most favorite television series ever! Thankfully it is returning to HBO April 1st… And if that is an April Fool’s joke, someone will be pulling a broadsword out of their back (I’m looking at you HBO execs.)


But I’m not going to talk about GoT or mention certain co-workers who have read ahead in the series and are put out with me that I don’t want to talk about what happens next with them. I want it to be a surprise, people! NO spoilers!! Sheesh!!!

No, I’m not going to talk about any of that. I’m going to talk about what I’ve watched while I’ve waited for Winter to finally freakin’ come.

I’ve become mildly obsessed with PBS’s Downton Abbey and Showtime’s Shameless. Sooo much has been said about Downton Abbey with all of their awards and accolades. And I truly do love the series, everything about it.



















But today I’m going to focus all of my attention on Shameless, I think mainly because it’s not a series I would think that I would like. Everyone from the alcoholic father (played by the supremely skilled William H. Macy) to the smallest Gallagher (OK, not the baby) is someone I’m fairly certain I would run screaming from in real life. (The exact opposite of the noble Starks I love so much in GoT, and the honorable characters I love in Downton Abbey *don't get me started on the not-so-honorable ones however.)


The Gallaghers are dishonest, promiscuous, and downright shameless in every way. Yet, there is a vulnerability and general likability in each and every main character, and I can’t help but care about them. They resonate with me for some reason, and I find myself thinking about their plights from one episode to the next.

Shameless is masterful television.

From the oldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) who does everything she can to provide for her five siblings, be it honest or otherwise, all while sorting through her romantic woes (who knew there were soooo many frogs to kiss without a single prince in the bunch?)

To Lip (Jeremy Allen White) the brainiac oldest son who spends more time getting high and pining for the not-so-girl-next-door girl to keep his mind off the unlucky stars that and made him a Gallagher in the first place.

To Ian (Cameron Monaghan) the gay ROTC second son who struggles with his own identity nearly constantly, often in a very self-absorbed sort of way.

To Debbie (Emma Kenney) the good-hearted youngest sister who is still a little naïve about the world, but who is a fast learner and isn’t above blackmailing anyone to keep her family safe.

To Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) the juvenile-delinquent-in-the-making third son who is everyone’s go-to man for all firearms needs.

And finally to Liam (played by twins Blake Alexander Johnson and Brennan Kane Johnson) who is more of a pawn than anything else at his tender age.

The cast is rounded out with the family’s friends, neighbors, Fiona’s suitors, Lip’s love interest and her bizarre family, and many others that find their way into the Gallaghers’ world or the other way around.



I still scratch my head a bit at the show’s ability to make me care for and about each member of this shameless family (and make me hope that this time everything will turn out all right for them.) As far as the writer in me goes – Shameless is an excellent example at characterization. It makes you care about these people on many different levels. And as far as viewer in me goes – Shameless is an excellent series that transports you to a place you would otherwise avoid like the plague, yet you yearn for it until the next new episode anyway.

The cast is amazing. The scripts are phenomenal. Shameless is masterful television. I know I said that before, but it is worth repeating.

I don’t personally know anyone who is watching this show, but I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you are watching it... Yay! I can’t wait to talk with you about it. Which Gallagher is your favorite and why?

If you’re not watching it and have Showtime – start watching it immediately and report back to me later! I promise you'll be hooked!

If you don’t have Showtime, what sort of shows do you like? What else should I be watching until April 1st when I will finally get my GoT fix again? Because - as of this moment - I'm all caught up on Shameless too.

33 comments:

  1. I don't have Showtime and the only show I have seen of those you listed is Downtown Abbey. I don't really watch much television these days but I do make a point to record Grimm and Once Upon a Time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do watch Grimm and Once Upon a Time (I think it's the Lydia Dare aspect of my personality). They're both fun, but not quite as enthralling as Shameless (and certainly not as gripping as GoT)

      You have got to catch up to me, Jane!

      Delete
    2. If you have Netflix, you have the pleasure of watching the UK (eh-hem, original…) version of Shameless. I am absolutely hooked, despite multiple requests for me to cease and desist.

      Delete
    3. I don't have Netfilx, Susie.

      LOL - for those of you who don't know. My good friend Susie keeps watching the nearly decade old UK version of the show (starring James McAvoy) when she knows we're going to get together to watch Showtimes' version. Grrr...

      Delete
  2. I don't have Showtime, even when we did have cable. :( But Shameless sound fascinating. My favs to watch on Hulu are: Modern Family and New Girl. And I try to keep up with Glee and Once Upon a Time, too.

    But honestly, I *forget* about shows until someone mentions it on facebook or Twitter. :}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! I got 4 hours of sleep last night. So just ignore any sentences that don't make sense. :\

      Delete
    2. Everyone says Modern Family. I've never watched it and I worry I'd be lost coming in so late to the series. How long have you been watching?

      AND if you want to borrow my Season 1 of Shameless, just say the word.

      Delete
    3. Let me start by saying, I <3 The New Girl! How much more awkward can she get, right? Hilarious. And if you are like me, along with the joys of HuluPlus, I also have Netflix to supplement the absence of cable. Netflix has the UK (again, original) version of Shameless, and I have absolutely fallen in love with all the characters. The writer did an amazing job, making the act of being shameless so endearing. If you do have Netflix, it’s worth watching the first 3 episodes, you will know whether you love or hate it by then.

      Delete
    4. @Susie-I just have regular Hulu; I'll actually wait out the week to watch. ;)

      @Ava- We *just* started watching and haven't seen it from the beginning, BUT it's hilarious and I don't feel like I'm really missing anything. The kids love it too! Of course Hot Builder watches for Sofia Vergara (and the Married with Children dude). But I'm okay with that b/c I have a girl crush on Sfia. hee!

      Delete
    5. Marquita ~ OK. You talked me into it. I'll add it to my DVR. :) Thanks for the suggestion.

      Delete
  3. I do not have Showtime, and I hadn't even heard of Shameless until your blog. Hmm...what should you watch while we wait for GoT? Ummm...everything I'm watching right now is reality TV (two singing competitions, even, and I know how you're not such a huge music fan) and hockey, so I don't know that I'll be all that much help to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have Season 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey soon, though, so we can talk about that. :)

      Delete
    2. Oh, we've got to talk about that. Strangely enough, I think I ordered Seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey the same day you did.

      Delete
  4. Ava,
    I love Shameless! I started watching it from the beginning and have loved every minute of it. It's funny, but as a writer, I too have contemplated how amazing the writing on this show is. To have such a cast of downright SHAMELESS characters that I have ended up really caring about is nothing less than superb writing. The writers have managed to show something vulnerable and likable in each character. It's hard for me to pick a favorite character. I love Fiona's vulnerability, Lip's desire, though sometimes hidden, to do the right thing, Debbie's struggle that we have all been through to be seen as someone other than the little girl, Ian's battle to show the world he is someone worth knowing while struggling with his identity, the Gallager patra familia, William H. Macy, is brilliant in his continuous way he stumbles from one amazing screw up to the next, and I cannot say enough about Joan Cusack. She gives a great performance as a woman afraid to step out of her house and into life. I too highly recommend this show. Call me, Ava, will talk Shamelessly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie!!

      I am soooo glad someone else is watching! You are right on every point. I *think* I like Lip the best of the Gallaghers. There's something I really get about him being stuck in a situation he is better than, but falling back on what's comfortable. More than anyone, I think my heart aches for him the most.

      Joan Cusak is amazing!!! And William H Macy is so brilliant, I have to remind myself he's not really drunk in the scenes. He's just an awesome actor.

      I think their neighbor Kev is my most favorite on the show though. (Probably not a coincidence as he's the least Shameless of the bunch.) LOL.

      Delete
  5. No Showtime, but you've completely sold me! I have to check this one out. It's no small feat to make us sympathize with non-sympathetic characters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb ~ I completely agree, which I think is one of the reasons I'm hooked on this show. I never know from one episode to the next what sort of trouble they're going to find themselves in; but I know that I my heart will go out to each and every main character as they struggle through it.

      Psst - I've got the first season on Blue-Ray. ;)

      Delete
  6. Like many others, I do not have Showtime. However, a friend recommended it and so I looked it up on Netflix view-it-now, and there it was! After the first few minutes I realized it wasn’t the same show, due to the absence of William H. Macy being replaced by an incoherent Brit. The writer for the UK (eh-hem, original…) version of Shameless is brilliant. I am absolutely hooked. I cannot speak on the US version, YET, but it will have big shoes to fill as UKShameless did an amazing job of making the act of being shameless so endearing. You can’t help but to love, sympathize, or feel sorry for each and every one of them. Yes, even the father.

    As to my favorite, I am compelled to lean towards Steve (James McAvoy is in the UK version, who doesn’t LOVE James McAvoy!). His character is absolutely enamored with Fiona, their love for each other is virtually unbreakable, despite his MANY flaws. I cannot say more on that without giving anything away.

    Despite Lips misfortune, he manages to push himself to do better, if only academically. I look past all of his flaws and root for him every episode to succeed and make it out of the Gallagher Bermuda Triangle, as it seems to be an inescapable fate.

    Ian, poor Ian. So responsible, holding down a job to help out where he can. Of course, there is a reason he loves his job so much. His character is a good example of the struggles that gay teens must go through. His heart is always in the right place.

    Debbie. Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. What an amazing character. She can go from quiet, to charming, to mischievous, to downright possessed! I fell in love with her right at the beginning, and even as I discovered her shameless mannerisms, at the end of each episode I still see the adorable daughter I fell in love with (as I imagine most parents still love their bruiting teens).

    Carl is pretty much ignorant to what is going on around him, as long as he has his video games or something shiny to keep him occupied. I am interested to see how his character grows as the season continues, or how he is presented in the US version. The same goes for Liam. He is just along for the ride, with no choice in the matter. However, he is loved dearly by all.

    And the winner is, FIONA. She couldn’t have been more that 18 when she was left with 5 siblings to care for, and a drunken father that is more work than help. What an amazing person to step in and take on such responsibility at an age where most teens would cut their losses and get out while the gettin’s good.

    There is also a well rounded community of friends and acquaintances who are equally shameless in their own right. I will definitely take Ava’s recommendation and watch HBO’s Shameless. I look forward to seeing how they reinvent these characters. From the comments above, I believe I will not be disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Susie ~

    I don't want to say much about Steve either to avoid any spoilers. James McAvoy is great and Justin Chatwin in the Showtime version is great as well. He is actually my least favorite character, however. Shameless I can deal with (liars not so much, but that's probably my own personal baggage coloring the character. The actor is certainly not to blame for my distaste for the character.)

    I look forward to hearing your take on the US Version.

    Bit of trivia.. James McAvoy actually met his wife Anne-Marie Duff on the set of the UK Shameless. He was Steve to her Fiona.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very sad to learn that trivia, that means James is off the market! I look forward to sharing my opinion on the US version.

      =)

      Delete
  8. I love Downton Abby. I have Showtime so I'll have to check out Shameless with such glowing reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel soo confident that you will love it. Thanks for stopping by!!

      Delete
  9. I watched one episode of Shameless and it didn't hook me. But... I often have to be in the right frame of mind to get into a show. I will consider giving it another try based on your recommendation, but it reminded me too much of when I worked as a child casemanager.

    Game of Thrones, on the other hand, I love. And I really enjoyed the first season of Downton Abbey. Oh, and I'm hooked on True Blood. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samantha ~ I can totally see you not liking it, considering your day job. I know some Italian-Americans who had a difficult time with The Sopranos and an ex-Mormon who couldn't watch Big Love. Not that they didn't think the shows were excellent, just maybe a little uncomfortable to watch. ;)

      Luckily that isn't a problem with Game of Thrones. I don't know anyone who grew up in Medieval times, nor anyone who works in that sort of environment. LOL.

      Delete
  10. Ava you crack me up with your love for Game of Thrones. However, I don't have Showtime. I started to watch Downton Abbey on Netflix. Maybe one day I will be caught up with you.
    I don't really have any real obsessions for any shows, cause we have one tv and my husband tends to hog the remote. But that will change when we move to Montana. However, I do like watching The Big Bang Theory, Whitney, and Bones. I would love to watch New Girl. Oh well, I will get the remote one day till then I should be happy I get to watch some of my shows.
    So far I do like Downton. I'm up episode 3 on Netflix. I hope you are able to find another show that will keep you entertain till the Game of Thrones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melody ~ Are you loving Downton Abbey. I find the character of Lady Mary to be so complex. She's not a character I think I would normally like (kind of like the Shameless cast) but I do care about her; which says something about both the writing and the acting.

      I think for your birthday someone needs to give you a master remote so you can watch whatever you want. :)

      I've never seen the Big Bang Theory, Whitney or Bones. Same question I asked Marquita... Do you think it's ok to come into those shows late? (I don't like to be left out of inside jokes.)

      Delete
    2. Ava Big Bang Theory you can start anytime. Bones I got into it watch reruns on TNT, so I got sucked into it. I really think it depends on the show if you jump in the middle of it.

      Delete
    3. Melody ~ That's good to know. I'll take a look. :)

      Delete
  11. I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan. My favorite TV show too. I'm trying to be patient!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck, Wendy! I'm re-watching the series right now, to get ready. ;) Are you watching anything good in the interim?

      Delete
  12. I still haven't caught up on all the other shows you've recommended to me. Of course, we don't have showtime or HBO yet. But perhaps soon we'll be able to get it. I'm really looking forward to watching GOT's though. Other than that, I really don't watch that much tv and it may be because I'm a gamer. I spend my "free time," what little I get anyway, playing a game of some sort. But GOT looks amazing and it looks like it is right up my alley. I really need to get HBO soon!!! Sorry I'm late to posting, Ava. I took some time away from the pc to spend with my kids for a week and it was great. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzie ~ GoT is right up your alley! You would probably love it more than anyone else I know. Next time you're in Raleigh, I'll have to get you to watch an episode. :)

      Delete
    2. Yes! Let's do that! Omg it's a date then! So cool. It really does look awesome.

      Delete