When Love Turns Rotten: Shameless

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We all know that feeling of loving something to bits! We would think about that feeling, and those things or people would be constantly on our minds. We would wake up in the morning, and wonder when said object or subject of our love would be in our arms. We would feel empty without them, we would feel incomplete without it. I know that I have loved not only things but people with such capacity, but I also know that life sometimes sucks and things become shit. But the title “When Love Turns Shit” didn’t really have that ring to it, so “rotten” it is and here is the first victim of said phenomena: Shameless US.

• SHAMELESS •

The show that inspired this feature is the show I want to dissect first. The reason is simple – Shameless US managed to make me literally angry at its plot. Not just in regards to one character, no, it gradually lost me by destroying characters season by season. And to do that, to characters that were quite broken to begin with, is simply unforgettable.

When Shameless first came to my radar, I thought I’d watch its original version which was made in the UK. I didn’t get past the first episode and was afraid to see the US version because of it. Well, luckily I fought that fear and discovered that Shameless is a rare example of how sometimes the American Dream is just a tiny bit better… than the original.

But what was a strong opening season, and a good follow up season, slowly started to descend into the rotten territory and before I knew it, I became to hate this show with all my heart. There were three internal problems, one external, that caused my love for it to rotten, and here they are in no particular order but kind of in a most important order:

• ONE NOTE FRANK•

Now, once you get to season 2, Frank’s character sort of becomes a one note character. He is a drunk, and he will do anything to get drunk – and because he drinks, he gets into trouble. Having such a character like Frank is always a troublesome for a main character because it can’t really go on forever. At one point, you would be tired of it and it happened to Frank pretty early on for me. I kept watching because William H. Macy is a brilliant actor and he managed to keep Frank relevant for much longer than his character arc itself. Unfortunately, one actor can’t really keep the show going.

• RECASTING OF JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN •

When season 4 ended, I was still very much excited about Shameless and a little bit in love still. But then the downhill slide begun the day Jeffrey Dean Morgan was said to have been recast… and the plot of his character was given to Dermot Mulroney. Now, I like both actors, I admire both of their style, but honey, if you have Jeffrey Dean Morgan, you don’t swap him for Dermot Mulroney! Imagine the fuck out of that story line with Jeffrey! OMG! Like, that was what I was doing in between season 4 and season 5 up until the recasting news hit me. Imagining the possible love fest happening between Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Emmy Rossum. And it was glorious! Yet, it is all in my head because he was recast and I apparently can’t have nice things.

• FIONA’S BAD CHOICES & LACK OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT •

That brings me to the leading lady of Shameless, who as an actress, I have nothing against! I think Emmy Rossum is a brilliant woman and an actress, and she did tremendous work with Fiona during the first seasons and probably still does tremendous work, but I wouldn’t know because I don’t watch Shameless anymore. And part of that reason is the sheer lack of respect towards Fiona as a character.

I get that she’s not the parent in this show but she has served as a parent for her brothers and sisters from the pilot episode onward. But somehow her character regresses rather than develops, which makes no sense. If she is getting older, shouldn’t her mistakes happen earlier on in the series? Sure, she’s not perfect in the beginning but doing stupid things like marrying a guy she dated for a week! I just.. that moment was so difficult for me to witness because it didn’t suit Fiona at all. It felt like a slap in the face for loving her as this strong and independent woman (despite all that Steve stuff), and I just felt cheated and robbed as a viewer. I never did finish that season because…

• ENDING IAN & MICKEY •

I will try to refine from harsh language but this hurts the most. Not just because their relationship ended, but how it ended, and how the writers treated Ian as a character, and how they ruined Mickey’s character development right before he quit the show. I didn’t watch the episodes it actually happened, I saw it coming a mile away and I quit before it truly happened. But I’ve seen clips, and I’ve read the storyline, and I’m honestly so mad that I can’t really put it all into words.

Part of the reason why I think the ending for them was so rough was how ungrateful the show was towards the character development of both of them as individuals, as well as them as a couple. Rather than give them a proper goodbye, maybe even leave them without a future by killing Mickey off (I would have been far more okay with that, actually!), they dragged them through shit and tried to wash it off later on with a couple of episodes of Mickey trying to win Ian back. Well, fuck doodle doo, it didn’t work, I didn’t tune back into Shameless and I’m sure as hell ain’t going to ever again.

With movies, sure, you can do that, but not with television shows where viewers have invested in characters. We have seen them grow and become anew, so throwing them back into the beginning by destroying the relationship that helped them both grow as characters, is simply shit writing. And it hurts, which is the worst part of this because you’ve invested so much of your time and attention to a show, to a character, and then somewhere a guy thinks, how can we write an actor off the show.. oh I know, let’s give the other one a mental illness and break them up in a horrible manner.

• THE FINAL ACT •

I can’t really remember the exact moment I quit the show but I remember clearly just waiting and refreshing the Tumblr tag for Ian and Mickey gifs and finding out about their faith in gif form. So I saw it coming, a mile away, and stopped before I could see that relationship, developed over multiple seasons, crumble. And not in a manner that would have made me proud, or content in a sense that… I would have been sad but would have understood. Had they grown apart, gradually, or had one of them died (Mickey obviously), it would have been less shit, less rotten.

But there you have it, four reasons why I think Shameless turned rotten and while I do think these are very subjective reasons, the over all take from this is the following. Television shows have a very huge responsibility towards its characters. Yes, you can’t have a show called Shameless without the characters being shameless, but you can’t destroy character developments viewers have invested in for seasons. It literally can turn a fan into an enemy, and I say this from personal experience because Shameless is just the first of many where love turned rotten!

 

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  • Reply
    Brittani
    September 30, 2017 at 9:51 PM

    Great post. I’ve never watched Shameless but I know how it feels to fall out of love with TV shows that you were really into. That happened to be with True Blood and The Walking Dead.

  • Reply
    Kat Impossible
    October 1, 2017 at 11:44 PM

    I agree on EVERYTHING!!!! I have to admit that I just gave up after season 5, I couldn’t do this to myself anymore because they destroyed so many plotlines and characters. I get that the family is super messed up but the way they are treated on that show is horrendous. Also, Lip, Ian and Mickey used to to by my faves and now I can’t even look at what they have done to the characters. And I hate recasts more than anything. It worked out for the better with Mickey’s sister I think, but I NEEDED Jeffrey Dean Morgan in this *sobs*

  • Reply
    sati
    October 6, 2017 at 6:54 PM

    I used to love the show, I think I quit sometime around Frank got new liver. They ended Mickey and Ian? That’s awful. The show really went downhill fast, what a shame.

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