Rutgers Students express 'Shameless' obsession with award-wining TV show


The Showtime series "Shameless," which depicts the narrative of a chaotic family living in south side Chicago, has been shamelessly grabbing the attention of Rutgers students for the past several months.

“Today’s TV fan spends a lot of time subconsciously managing a personal tolerance for despicableness,” said Hank Stuever, TV critic for The Washington Post.

The polished production of a demolished and dysfunctional cast of characters recounts on several issues that are relevant to Rutgers students as well as people of all ages and walks of life.

“I feel like Shameless is relatable to a lot of people. It's brutally honest about circumstances in life, like drug addiction, mental illness and alcoholism. What's great is that it adds humor and sarcasm to serious situations, which makes it easier to talk about,” said Mikka Plaza, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

The multifaceted and mutually experienced narratives in the show touch on both conventional and controversial matters that are so diverse that just about anyone could relate. On the off chance that one couldn't relate, one could certainly enjoy the debauchery that is "Shameless."

Struggles with mental illness and issues faced by the LGBTQIA community are brought to life by the character Ian Gallagher. From the first few episodes, Ian struggles with discovering his own sexual identity. It isn’t until midway through the series when it is evident that Ian has inherited his mother's bipolar disorder along with paranoia.

Almost every episode brings to light the reality of living in a home plagued by drug abuse and alcoholism. These issues play out by the antagonist and the family’s despicable patriarch, Frank Gallagher, played by Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy.

The consequences of Frank's antics weigh on the shoulders of the show's protagonist Fiona, played by Emmy Rossum. Both characters, though, revel in being their own worst enemy over the course of the series.

“Shameless cuts out the classic 'American Dream' and white picket fences and brings its viewers a reality check. Within its comedic and entertaining attributes, 'Shameless' shows how the other half lives, with both the many negatives and positives of their lives,” said Jacob Green, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

Throughout the course of the series, we embark on each of the six Gallagher children's journeys through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The agelessness of the show touches on the wide age spectrum of Rutgers students.

In a blossoming era of television as well as the current gloominess and glorious age of politics and culture, "Shameless" tells a story that’s raw and uncensored.

The program is run on Showtime, allowing it to display the nudity and vulgarity that appears in each hour-long episode.

“I've no shame in watching that show. Guess you could say I'm shameless,” said Brandon Govin Ramdayal, a Rutgers—Newark School of Arts and Sciences first-year.

Though the characters live in the same house, their wide array of experiences and stories differ. 

Over the course of the series, we get to see Lip Gallagher go through the typical college struggle like students at Rutgers. Struggling with binge drinking, a history of alcoholism, excessive sexual activity and trying to keep up with work, school and scholarship, Lip portrays a relatable tale for students and young adults.

Debbie Gallagher, the middle child and only other girl in the bunch, deals with teenage pregnancy with spice and fight. Debbie’s narrative gave insight to the moral implications of abortion, adoption and young love.

In comparison to Fiona, Debbie has yet to go dark and bitter when it comes to love. It is through her romanticism and hard-headedness we are reminded of our first loves. The way Fiona’s love life foils with Debbie’s flips the coin on love, telling a more modern and mature tale about adult relationships.

Whether you enjoy watching the characters make a mess of their lives or you feel personally connected with the many stories being told, you can easily find yourself shamelessly consumed by the Showtime series.


Brielle Diskin

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