By Nina Franco
So, you’ve just finished Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and you don’t know what to do. You have been watching episodes of Friends or One Tree Hill over and over again, just to feed your Netflix binge watching habits. Your dad is telling you to watch House of Cards and your mom is obsessing over Stranger Things. However, there is a show people are passing right over under family drama: Shameless, starring critically acclaimed and seasoned actor, William H. Macey, Phantom of the Opera star Emmy Rossum, and a whole entourage of talented showbiz “newbies.” I can’t remember how I found out about Shameless, but I would be missing out on one of the most moving shows I have seen to date, portraying heavy topics such as alcoholism and mental disorders without sugarcoating them while adding an element of humor in the midst of all the sadness. The plotline features five Irish, Catholic kids growing up on Chicago’s economically slummed South side, raised by their oldest sister, Fiona (Rossum), who has dropped out of school to care for her siblings, Lip, Ian, Debs, Carl, and Liam, because her egotistical father, Frank Gallagher (Macey) is a useless alcoholic, and their mother is a bipolar, drug addict. If that doesn’t interest you, maybe the constant prescene of weed and narcotics and the”bare it all” sex scenes will.
The show is currently in its seventh season on Showtime, and the other six seasons are available via Netflix or Hulu. Warning: spoiler alert, I am currently on season five, and so far, I have watched everything from poignant and moving scenes where character Mickey, a typical South Side crackhead gang-banger, comes out as gay to an entire group of people and his conservative father at The Alibi Room, everyone’s neighborhood bar, shouting it out to declare his love for Ian to downright hilarious scenes. It may sound raunchy, an overabundance of sex scenes, inappropriate, crude remarks, and tons of illegal sh*t, but it is just the opposite; it’s real. It gives viewers a glimpse at life below the poverty line. I doubt many Miami students have ever experienced getting their water and electricity shut off because they couldn’t pay a bill, had to resort to leftover cafeteria food for dinner because they couldn’t afford groceries for the month, and/or had to struggle with finding a job on a criminal record. It’s scary, yes, but it’s happening, not just on your TV screen in your dorm while you’re eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Half Baked,” but right here in Butler County, your hometown, and all across the nation.
Moreover, next time you are thinking about watching Friday Night Lights again just so you can get angry all over again when you see Tim Riggins turn himself in to protect his brother, or cry watching Chuck and Blair’s wedding scene on Gossip Girl for the 900th time, switch it up, and give Shameless a shot. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry, but most importantly, it will make you feel grateful for what you have and give you insight into people in your own backyard’s life.