In ‘Shameless,’ William H. Macy (‘Fargo‘) plays the alcoholic patriarch of the Gallagher clan. With Dad often incapacitated by his inebriation and Mom missing from the scene, 18-year-old daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’) is left to mind the family’s expansive brood.
But even with such a solid lineup of talent, Wells and cowriter Paul Abbott (who created the UK series from which ‘Shameless’ is being adapted) face the tricky task of turning the all-too-real recession into TV the rest of us want to watch. As referenced above, Grammer attempted to play the economic downturn for laughs on ABC’s ‘Hank,’ portraying a downsized CEO, but the concept – and the so-so scripts that supported it – left viewers cold.
Working in Wells’ favor, however, is not just his proven pedigree but also Showtime’s own track record.
If ‘Shameless’ is picked up as a series, the Gallaghers would live alongside similarly edgy Showtime denizens as ‘Dexter‘ (forensics geek kills killers!) and ‘Nurse Jackie‘ (RN pops pills!). The pay cabler also provides safe harbor for ‘Weeds‘ drug dealer Nancy Botwin and ‘Californication’s‘ serial fornicator Hank Moody.
In fact, the more we talk about it and juxtapose ‘Shameless’ with its would-be on-screen neighbors, perhaps an engaging hour set in the recession would prove to be the least unsettling piece of Showtime fare. Bring it on.