Oftentimes, the old adage is true: there really is a silver lining to every dark cloud. For the seemingly ceaseless tempest of the Great Recession, that silver lining has been a flowering of class conscious-entertainment that highlights and upends the expectations of a world that’s still learning the painful lessons of economic downturn. Recent cable television series have especially taken to these themes, and none so effectively (and pathetically; and hilariously) as Showtime’s Shameless, the import saga of an alcoholic father and his neglected children.

After two successful seasons, the shiftless Gallagher clan will return for season 3 of Shameless in January of 2013. The combination dark comedy/class drama debuted a short trailer for its new run of 12 episodes today, which shows off the new highs – and undeniable lows – of a dysfunctional family’s quest for the American Dream.

Judging from the new series trailer the increasing desperation of the Gallaghers will take them to ever darker places. Perpetually-sauced patriarch Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) looks to continue his halfhearted attempts to make good for his family by becoming a deeply uncomfortable drug mule – even as the eldest and most responsible of the Gallagher brood, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), may be getting involved in some shady dealings herself. Meanwhile, the other Gallagher kids and family friends scheme toward riches both legitimate and (mostly) ill-gotten.

As has been noted on Screen Rant before, Shameless is the American adaptation of a very similar (and quite successful) British television series of the same name. That series continues to this day on Britain’s Channel 4, currently airing its tenth season. Series creator Paul Abbot adapted Shameless for American television and remains the stateside series’ showrunner through season 3.

Shameless is emblematic of its era: at once exploitative and sympathetic, the series shows life in the lower class as a ceaseless, thankless struggle. It can be over-the-top to the point of parody, but like many dramedies of the 21st century class struggle (see also: Breaking Bad), it contains a painful core of hard truth. It will certainly be interesting to see just how Shameless maintains these themes throughout season 3.

Shameless returns to Showtime on January 13, 2013.

Source: Showtime