I love good UK television. Perhaps it’s my English heritage trying to find its way out of this 5th generation American. Or it’s a born curiosity about how other people live. I’m not sure which, but I do know I’ve been fascinated by the genre for as long as I can remember.
Not long ago I got hooked on Downton Abbey. It’s a phenomenal Masterpiece Theatre production of a turn-of-the century English castle with the whole upstairs/downstairs storyline – the aristocrats vs. the working class. SHAMELESS is quite definitively about the lower-class. It’s set in modern days, but some of the storylines between the two shows are familiar.
Meet the Gallagher family as they experience life on the edge in a blur of sexual adventures, triumphs, love, scams and petty crime on a Manchester housing estate. Just be thankful they’re not your neighbours.
First let me preface this by saying SHAMELESS would be R-rated on American TV. There’s full frontal nudity of both the male and female actors and there’s lots of sex. Lots and lots of sex and it’s not always between two consenting adults. There is a warning at the beginning of each episode that it’s for Mature Audiences only; however, with the exception of having a Hulu Plus account, there’s no way of verifying age. If you have children, you may want to know that content is available there. That said, that’s not the whole make-up of the show and that’s not why I love it. It’s the characters, the acting, and the storyline that I love.
SHAMELESS – Season 1, Epsiode 1
Mature Audiences Only
While SHAMELESS has been produced since 2004 and it’s still running in the UK, only the first 4 seasons are currently available on Hulu Plus. Each episode is 1 hr. long and I loved it from the first episode. The series is centered on a drunken single father, Frank Gallagher, and his six misfit children. There’s so much dysfunction in the family it’s hard to know where to start and yet at the very core there’s a wonderful family relationship between the kids who survive despite their horrible excuse for parents.
There are the wildly crazy and yet in this neighborhood somewhat stabilizing presence of the next door neighbors. Plus there’s the new boyfriend of the oldest daughter who’s a black sheep in his own right, but in this mess of a family he comes off as a white knight. And there’s the lover of the youngest boy who’s a married man with a family.
If you’re looking for hours of a weirdly entertaining and a perfectly disjointed and dysfunctional family, give SHAMELESS a try. With its suggestive themes, sex, full nudity, and children smoking, drinking, and having sex, there are so many reasons why I should find it offensive, but I truly enjoy it.