by Julia Vaccarella ’20
After the rather somber conclusion that closed out season seven, Showtime’s award-winning series, Shameless, is now back once again for a highly-anticipated eighth installment. It was announced that the show would be renewed for an eighth season with 12 episodes just days after the season seven finale in 2016. Shameless, which is based on a series by Paul Abbott, resumes exactly where it left off with a major character’s untimely death and the aftermath of how the family will deal with this loss.
Previous seasons of Shameless have focused on the members of the dysfunctional Gallagher family: Frank, Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, and Liam. Frank’s consistent absence forced his children to learn how to subsist on their own. The Gallaghers’ personal, family, and financial struggles while living in the South Side of Chicago have often driven them to engage in illegal and criminal activity to make ends meet.
With a lack of parental guidance from Frank (William H. Macy), the family’s oldest, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), takes on the responsibility of caring for her five siblings, despite having to consistently grapple with personal problems of her own.
It seems that season eight will encompass the theme of responsibility, a value that until now has been of unfamiliar importance for the Gallagher family. Fiona claims to have taken a break from dating and has instead assumed a role as the tenant of an apartment building.
Meanwhile, Frank is making yet another attempt to get his act together, but this time tries seeking out forgiveness for his past behaviors. Lip deals with the heavy issue of struggling with his addiction and Ian attempts to save a relationship that he now realizes he may have ruined in season seven.
Executive Producer John Wells indirectly confirmed that the idea pervades the new season. He says, “We’re not trying to do it with exactly a theme, but it’s true: as you grow older and you move from childhood into adulthood, you realize that you have responsibilities to more than yourself if you’re going to be successful.” Bringing up the complex maturation of such dysfunctional characters has sparked some conversation about how the show will conclude, and if this is, in fact, the final season.
With a steady increase in the show’s popularity, there is a chance that new episodes of Shameless will remain on Showtime for several more years. The first seven seasons of the show are available to Netflix subscribers, making Shameless more accessible to those who may not have Showtime. Despite this, each live episode continues to draw in over one million viewers.
Whether the overall plot that underlies season eight will result in these dramatic moral changes for the Gallagher family or cause certain characters to simply revert to their old ways is unknown. One thing for sure is that people will be watching to find out. Episodes of Shameless air weekly on Showtime, Sundays at 9 p.m.