20 Things Wrong With Shameless We All Choose to Ignore

When fans tune in to Shameless each week, they know what they're getting. It's a show about the crazy antics of the Gallagher family. It's a show filled with shameless actions and shameless characters. It's a show where many, many things that are wrong are ignored because it's the norm. Despite breakups and jail time and problems in the family, most of the ridiculous behavior doesn't have long-term consequences. Things that happen in the earlier seasons that should probably never be forgotten about are. It's easier instead to move on and let the next member of the family do something to make the list.

There's so much wrong with Frank as a character that fans have to ignore it. Otherwise, it would be hard to watch the show. There's only so much suspension of belief a person can give one character. Frank isn't someone who should have survived or evaded authorities as many times as he has. That's why he's the perfect example of why Shameless gets away with so much. Somehow, things manage to work out for the Gallaghers time and time again. Illegal actions result in paydays. Bad decisions do lead to fights and conflict and distance for a brief time. However, the family always comes back together.

Then there are behind-the-scenes moves that lead to fans having to accept a change in direction on-screen. An actor couldn't return, but the show needed that kind of character. A main character is leaving, and viewers are expected to accept the show shouldn't end.

Here are the 20 Things Wrong with Shameless We All Choose to Ignore.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Frank Gallagher smoking and drinking from Shameless
Start Now

20 Frank's Continued Survival

Frank Gallagher smoking and drinking from Shameless

If Shameless was at all realistic when it comes to Frank, he wouldn't still be alive after eight seasons. He's had drinking and substance abuse problems. He's done all kinds of sketchy things. He constantly is in debt. His health has never been that great. Yet, Frank manages to always luck out at the right moment. He got a new liver when he needed one (not that he stopped drinking even though he should have).

He's evaded people (including the police and Canadian Mounted Police at the border), and he even survived his family throwing him off a bridge.

You would think at some point his luck would change and his lack of care for his body and health would catch up to him.

19 Fiona and Gus' Marriage (and Divorce)

Shameless Fiona Gus

Fiona and Gus were dating for a week when they decided to make it official and get married. Their relationship and marriage may have happened quickly, but it wasn't the worst romance in Fiona's life — at first. However, after everything fell apart and they moved forward with a divorce, it got worse. He wanted his ring back, and things got messy. Her boyfriend Sean helped her pay for the ring. He then proposed to her, in front of Gus, during the divorce proceedings. Fiona really should have taken some time for herself and been single after her marriage. She was even ready to do just that. Maybe if Fiona hadn't rushed into her marriage, none of this would have happened.

18 V's Mother's Pregnancy

Look, having a baby isn't easy. Some people just can't have kids. Finding a surrogate isn't easy (or cheap) either. When Veronica and Kev needed a surrogate, they ended up turning to Veronica's mother. They wanted the baby to still have both their DNA, and her mother was their way of ensuring that. They tried a less personal route. However, when that didn't work, Kevin was intimate with his girlfriend's mother. That was wrong enough. It got worse when it turned out Veronica's mother liked being with her boyfriend. She had been lonely and it felt good to feel wanted. It's probably best to not remember when Veronica became involved past the point of just knowing it was happening.

17 All the Relationships on Shameless

No one would ever dare to make the mistake of saying any of the relationships on Shameless are healthy.

Almost all have had their moments that leave fans wondering just why they should be rooting for a couple.

Just look at Fiona's relationships. There was Fiona's involvement with Steve/Jimmy/whatever his name was. There was her marriage. There was Sean. There's Ford, and while her relationship with him may not mean falling in love like a teenager, he's honest. Perhaps that's the best shot she has right now, especially with Emmy Rossum leaving the show. Fans wanted to see Ian and Mickey get a happily ever after, despite how twisted their relationship was and how it started. They used each other, and Mickey had problems accepting his sexuality.

16 Liam Getting Poisoned

Fiona has tried to take care of her family in their parents' stead over the years. Even she has made mistakes, including one of the worst ones on the show. She left illegal substances out in a house where kids lived. The worst part was the youngest child in the family, Liam, consumed some. He had to be rushed to the hospital, while Fiona suffered the consequences of her actions. She was locked up, but she did return home. Liam, fortunately, didn't suffer any long-term effects from the poisoning. However, it never should have happened. No matter how hard things were for Fiona at the time, Liam should not have been the one who had to suffer like he did.

15 Frank Being Somewhat Successful at an Honest Job

Shameless Frank job

No one would ever dare to call Frank an honest, hard-working man. Really, it's just a surprise that he's survived eight seasons of Shameless. Yet he decided to be Francis in Season 8 and got a job at a hardware store. Not only did he manage to find a place that hired him, he managed to get promoted to manager. He had a solid work ethic, which was just wrong to see on the Showtime series. For a short period of time, Frank wasn't that bad of a person. However, that just doesn't work for the show or for the character.

Furthermore, it just didn't seem right that Frank didn't lose his job because he reverted back to his old self.

Instead, he became unemployed again because of downsizing.

14 Lip's Professor's Drinking

Shameless Youens Lip

Lip found a mentor in Professor Clyde Youens, both in academics and to help with his drinking. However, Professor Youens had his own problems with drinking, ones that he couldn't overcome. He got into trouble with the police and still couldn't stop drinking. He lost his life in prison. What didn't work about this storyline was Lip's reaction when he found out other students liked the professor at the memorial service. While he may have been the professor's favorite, going by his recommendation letter, the storyline was soured by the drinking. Because viewers saw so much of those two together, it was wrong not to see Lip speak. Plus, Youens' daughter was the one who deserved sympathy. "I'm so glad you were well parented by my dad," she said to Lip.

13 Frank's Business at the Border

Shameless Frank Border

Frank has had one honest job, in a hardware store. That didn't last long, due to downsizing, though he did manage to get a promotion while he was there. But that just isn't who Frank Gallagher is. It's more fitting to have him do sketchy things, like sneaking people across the border into Canada. Of course, he wasn't doing that out of the goodness of his heart. He was making money as part of a prescription smuggling plan. Still, it was absolutely ridiculous that this was something that even just briefly worked. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't suffer any consequences for his actions, because it's Frank. Shameless seems to just love to put Frank into crazy, impossible situations and have fans accept it. And they do.

12 The Diner's Manager Was Basically Recast

Shameless Charlie Jeffrey Dean Morgan

At the end of season 4, Fiona Gallagher got a job at a diner. The manager was an ex-bad boy recovering from substance abuse problems, Charlie Peters, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. However, due to a scheduling conflict, Morgan couldn't return for season 5. There still needed to be a manager at the diner, so the series brought in a new character.

Dermot Mulroney joined the cast as Sean Pierce, an ex-bad boy recovering from substance abuse problems.

Sound familiar? Yes, these were two different characters, or at least that's what Shameless wants fans to think. The characters were basically the same, which fit for the diner. However, it felt like the series was really recasting the manager introduced in season 4 and pretending it wasn't.

11 Fiona's Dog's History

Shameless Fiona dog

Fiona discovered one of the people living in her building had perished. When she found her body, she also found the tenant's dog eating her. It just kept getting worse. The dog ran into Nessa's arms and started licking her face. Animal control rightfully wanted to take the dog because it had tasted human flesh. Instead, Fiona ended up with a dog. Then the homeless family squatting in her apartment had her dog and Fiona crawled through a hole to steal the pet back. By that time, it was as though Shameless just forgot the awful way Fiona came to have the dog in the first place. What mattered was Fiona getting the dog back and getting a win on the squatters.

10 Frank Demanding Money He Donated Back

Shameless Frank money

Frank received a large insurance settlement in season 5, but it shouldn't be surprising to anyone he spent it. It also shouldn't be surprising he couldn't remember how he spent it. Really, nothing Frank ever does should surprise anyone anymore, except when he does something nice. That was what happened here. He spent his money on drinks and a car — and donated some to help disabled children get prosthetic limbs. Frank had the nerve to try to get that money back. When he found out the man already spent it, he grabbed the prosthetic leg of a young girl. Yet, seasons later, fans are expected to still root for Frank to at least stay alive.

9 Debbie's Solution to Her Foot Injury

Shameless Debbie Foot

Debbie needed to make money to take care of herself and her baby in Season 8. She got a new job and started night school to learn to be a welder. However, she wasn't exactly taking legal jobs. One was so sketchy and dangerous that injury was a real risk—and she did end up getting hurt. The injury was so bad, she either needed reconstructive surgery or to be willing to lose three toes. Both options would have cost money she didn't have. (After all, she took the job for a reason.) The Gallaghers tend to find a way out of their messes, and that was exactly what she did. She decided to have Liam — yes, the youngest member of the family — remove her toes for her. Frank had to step in, but the job was done.

8 That Time Carl Got Married

Shameless Carl Kassidi

Carl stumbled into a lucrative detoxing business, which all started with him kidnapping someone. From there, he ended up meeting Kassidi. She might be crazier than most of the characters on Shameless put together.

The thing is, he didn't even mean to propose. However, she took the ring he bought her as an apology gift as just that.

The crazy thing is there wasn’t even really an engagement. The two got married, despite how young they are. What was even crazier was the fact that he did it knowing he planned to return to military school. Kassidi was clearly going to freak out over that, and she did. She went so far as to handcuff him to the bed.

7 Why Debbie Got Pregnant

The Gallaghers aren't the best family by a long shot, on TV or on Shameless. So, it's not hard to blame Debbie for wanting another family. However, she went about trying to get that in the wrong way. She thought if she had Derek's baby, his family would take her in, like they did his brother's girlfriend. In order to do so, she lied to her boyfriend and told them they were safe to be intimate. This is something that happens often on the Showtime series. The Gallaghers' actions directly affect someone else. In this case, Debbie decided Derek's future, as well as his family's, would include a child without letting him have a say. It was wrong.

6 When Carl Used Chuckie as a Smuggler

Shameless Carl Chuckie

Carl has turned his life around somewhat, except for getting married. Before that, however, he was dealing illegal substances—and enlisting the help of Chuckie. At that point, Chuckie didn't have a choice because he was Carl's slave as part of a deal. So, he just stood there while Carl taped the substances to his body. Thanks to a tip from Frank, police dogs found them at the bus station, and Carl of course ran. He didn't escape for long, since Sammi was more than happy to tell the police about him. Both boys were sent to juvie, though Sammi did try to prepare Chuckie for it — in all the worst ways. There was so much wrong with this storyline, and it all resulted from Carl's initial action.

5 Frank Enlisted Liam to Plan to Rob His Friend's Family

For a (very) short period of time, Frank was trying to do the right thing. He had a job. He got Liam into a private school. It's just too bad the school cared more about using him to make prospective parents think they were "diverse." It's also too bad that Frank eventually reverted to his illegal ways and used Liam. That included wanting him to get him information about the wealthy families in his school so he could rob them.

He even planned to rob his friend's family while they took Liam on vacation with them. Poor Liam actually did the reconnaissance his father needed.

However, the code he gave him didn't work, yet Frank again somehow managed to evade the cops. Let's just hope Shameless doesn't expect fans to watch Frank use his son ever again.

4 Carl Detoxed People in the Basement

Shameless Carl

Carl cleaned up his act (somewhat) and went to military school. However, when he needed money to pay for it, he had to turn back to the Gallagher way: sketchy businesses. Little did he know that kidnapping someone and detoxing him in his basement would lead to him making money. (He probably should have, considering this is Shameless.) After he successfully detoxed someone, the guy's parents paid him $5,000. The guy also wanted him to detox his girlfriend, for more money. Sure, working as an Uber driver and a dishwasher wasn't working out. Nor would it have gotten him the money he needed for his tuition. However, it's a storyline that's just a bit too crazy and probably couldn't happen on any other show.

3 That Time Debbie Stole a Kid

Shameless Debbie S2

Following Aunt Ginger's departure, Debbie was depressed and took a kid from a birthday party. Yes, she took a kid. She clearly wanted attention, and in that family, it was hard to fault her. After all, she was a kid herself. (It can be argued she still is, but she's gone through enough that she should at least know better by season 9.) The most important thing for the family to do once they find out is return the child. It was more important for the family to figure out a way to return the kid without getting in trouble with the police. Not only did they manage to do that, Debbie was portrayed as a hero and got a financial reward. Sure, they needed money, but the focus should have been on how wrong Debbie was.

2 The Show Continuing Without Emmy Rossum

Emmy Rossum in Shameless Showtime

Emmy Rossum is leaving Shameless in season 9, and it's impossible to imagine the show without her. While it is about the Gallagher family, the series just won't be the same without Fiona. She's at the heart of it, more so than anyone else. "I know you will continue on without me, for now," Rossum wrote in her Facebook post announcing her departure. "There is much more Gallagher story to be told. I will always be rooting for my family. Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block."

However, her absence will be very noticeable. Fiona took care of her family for years, putting them all above herself many times.

While the series could explore how they get along without her in their lives, it's not the same.

1 How Shameless Explores Ian's Bipolar Disorder

Shameless Ian

Just like Monica was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ian found out he suffers from the disease as well. He doesn't consistently take his medication — which isn't where the show is wrong. That happens with people with the disorder. His erratic behavior works as well. When it does dedicate time to it, the series tends to do a pretty good job with the storyline. However, at times, it feels like there's too much going on for Shameless to truly explore Ian's bipolar disorder. By having Ian be arrested at the end of season 8, the series set up the possibility of fixing that. Let's hope that's the case because this is one storyline that shouldn't fall through the cracks.


Can you think of any other things about Shamless that make no sense? Let us know in the comments!

More in Lists