Along with the return of the morally corrupt (and incredibly fun to watch) characters of Californication this January, Showtime is premiering a new series called Shameless. Adapted from a popular British show of the same name, Shameless chronicles the exploits of the Gallaghers, a family of degenerates who seem to be constantly breaking laws and moral codes just to get by. The US version stars Emmy Rossum, Joan Cusack, and William H. Macy, and if the first 20 minutes is any indication of what’s to follow, it certainly looks promising.
Frank, played by Macy, is the drunk patriarch, acting as a single parent to six children: Fiona, Ian, Debbie, Carl, Lip, and Liam. In actuality Fiona (Emmy Rossum) takes on the day-to-day responsibilities, which include determining who gets dibs on the single pre-paid cell phone, operating a washing machine that requires a wooden chair, paying the bills, and taking care of baby Liam, who appears to be half-black (“I’m no biologist, but he looks a little bit like my first sponsor. He and the ex were close,” Frank explains easily). Macy is largely absent from the preview, leaving Rossum’s Fiona to steal the show with a mix of brutal pragmatism, cute motherly sayings, and a willingness to have kitchen sex.
But don’t let the picture of a quaint family pulling together to overcome adversity fool you. As The Sly Oyster notes, there’s a boob shot, a heavily-implied blow job, S&M sex involving a strap-on, gay porn and, for the old fashioned, a straight sex scene all packed into the sneak peek. Are they guilty of trying too hard to shock us by how edgy this show is? Maybe. But if this series continues to smartly explore issues like poverty, alcoholism, and gays in the military, it could be great.
Watch a 20-minute preview of Shameless, which debuts January 9th, below.