Shameless, with the flawless William H. Macy as a hugely flawed layabout father of six, wraps up its season on Sunday. When it began, it was overshadowed by Showtime’s smart Matt LeBlanc comedy Episodes, but If you haven’t kept up with Shameless you’ve missed how strongly this American version of the British series has come into its own. This droll comedy has created a unique identity for each member of the Gallagher family, whose affection is matched only by their capacity for cheating the government and stealing from the rich (or less poor).
They’ve survived the temporary return of the mother who deserted them, coped with the idea that Frank is not necesarilly the biological father of every one of the children, found humor in Frank’s anti-social behavior. And thanks to the razor-sharp peformances of Macy and Joan Cusack, Frank’s relationship with his agoraphobic girlfriend Sheila has become extremely touching, far more than in the British version.
As this season ends, the police have picked up brothers Lip and Ian in a car they borrowed from responsible sister Fiona’s charming thief of a boyfriend, Steve. Even the Gallaghers can’t escape the law forever; maybe.
Season 2 arrives in 2012; plenty of time to catch up before then. Here’s a quick scene from Sunday’s finale.