Over the past nine seasons of Showtime's hit comedy-drama series Shameless, fans have watched as the various members of the Gallagher family have tried—and mostly failed—to find success and happiness in Chicago's South Side. Frank and his children have each experienced countless breakups, found themselves cycling in and out of prison or the emergency room far too frequently, and always seem to experience major pitfalls that keep them from ever truly reaching their potential and escaping their unfortunate circumstances.
In the Shameless writers' quest to make the Gallaghers' lives as dysfunctional and chaotic as possible, they've given each central character a variety of bizarre and hilariously ridiculous storylines to navigate through. Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, and Liam all grew up hoping they'd become nothing like their derelict father, but the more they deal with the difficulties of the South Side through these unforgettable, life-changing developments, the more they resemble Frank.
Shameless constantly provides the Gallaghers with new obstacles to overcome, so most storylines and secondary characters only stick around long enough to send the main cast down a certain path. Most viewers rejoiced when frustrating individuals like Sammi Slott, Estefania and Svetlana got written off the show, but some fans can't help but mourn certain abandoned characters and developments. The continued success of the series proves that its writers know what they're doing, but that fact hasn't stopped audiences from questioning some of their decisions. Here are 10 Canceled Storylines That Would’ve Hurt Shameless (And 10 That Would’ve Saved It).
When Frank got over his heartbreak following Monica's passing, he realized that her hold over him for the past several decades was a big part of why he'd become such a problematic adult. Frank decided to turn a new leaf and finally become a mature and productive member of society. He got a job, started apologizing to all of the people he'd wronged over the years, and earned the nickname of "Saint Francis" from his son Lip.
It was refreshing to finally see Frank briefly change his ways, but since Frank is most entertaining when he's drinking and causing all sorts of chaos, it's for the best that Saint Francis didn't stick around for long. He got fired from his job due to downsizing, and once he started drowning his sorrows at the Alibi, he went right back to his old ways.
When Monica and Bob forced Liam to take a DNA test to see if Frank was really his father, Lip and Ian decided to test their own DNA in the hopes of discovering that they weren't really Frank's offspring. Lip and Liam learned that they were, in fact, Frank's kids, but the results proved that Ian was actually the son of one of Frank's siblings, and Ian realized soon after that his biological father was likely his uncle Clayton.
For some reason, Shameless didn't further pursue this significant development, and Ian and Clayton never interacted with each other again. The show thrives when its main characters are going through major family issues, and this could have been a great source of Gallagher drama.
When Professor Runyon ended her controversial relationship with Lip, his life went on a rapid downward spiral. Lip turned to drinking to help him cope with his heartbreak, and he soon found himself expelled from college and without any idea of what to do with his life.
It was definitely depressing to see such a beloved character experience so many problems, but watching Lip try to get his life back on track has been a highlight of the past few seasons of Shameless. He's now a far more upstanding, mature, and inspirational individual, and that development wouldn't have happened if his storyline with Helene wasn't canceled. Lip had to reach rock bottom to turn his life around, and Helene's exit from the show helped make that happen.
Few characters in Shameless history have been as polarizing as Sammi Slott, Frank's secret eldest daughter. Frank brought Sammi into the Gallaghers' lives in an attempt to procure her liver. Some fans enjoyed the fresh drama she brought to the Gallagher household, but a majority of viewers found her to be an annoyance that took away screen time from the series' main characters.
Sammi was written off the show when she tried ending Mickey's life, and her son Chuckie left shortly after. It was a mistake to write them both off so quickly, because they were entertaining rivals to Frank's other children, even if they weren't particularly likable. With Fiona leaving the series this season, it may be time for Frank's other daughter to return.
Shameless is filled with dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships, but Kevin and Veronica often seem like the perfect couple. They rarely argue, they have amazing chemistry, and they've done a solid job raising their two daughters together. In an attempt to introduce a tiny bit of chaos to their relationship, the series' writers had Svetlana trick them into trusting and falling for her.
Kevin and Veronica had fun including Svetlana in their relationship at first, but she quickly threatened to tear them apart. Luckily, they eventually figured out Svetlana's true motives, and the "throuple" storyline was canceled. If it continued any longer, Kevin and Veronica might have broken up and Shameless would have been worse off as a result.
Monica abandoned her family shortly after her youngest son Liam was born because she wasn't emotionally stable enough to be the wife or mother they all wanted her to be, but every few years, she'd return to the South Side to give the Gallaghers another try. When Monica came back in Shameless' seventh season, it seemed like she was finally ready to make amends and stick around for good, but she soon revealed that she was reeling from a brain aneurysm and didn't have much longer to live.
It would've been nice to have Monica become a permanent fixture on the show so Frank wouldn't be the only problematic Gallagher parent for viewers to watch each week, but Monica's storyline was canceled as soon as Frank fell in love with her all over again and their kids got some much-needed closure with their mother.
Most of the Gallaghers cycle through new relationships on a monthly basis, but Debbie hasn't had nearly as much luck finding someone to care about her. She's used trickery and manipulation to procure most of her boyfriends, so they've never stuck around for very long. When one of her female co-workers expressed interest in her, it seemed like Debbie was finally going to be in a real relationship. Unfortunately, Debbie didn't think she was really interested in women, so Alex put an end to their budding romance.
When Debbie realized shortly after that she might actually like girls, fans were frustrated that she didn't figure that out back when Alex was trying to be with her. Her storyline with Alex has seemingly been canceled forever, but now that Debbie's coming to terms with her preferences, Alex should return.
When Fiona's fiance Sean upset Frank, the Gallagher patriarch made it his mission to remove Sean from his family's lives. He initially planned on eliminating Sean from the picture permanently, but when his plans to hire a hitman fell through, he settled for simply ending his rival's relationship with his daughter.
Frank likely did Fiona a favor by revealing the truth about Sean's continued addiction, but his children and their friends were furious that Frank ruined Fiona's big day. They worked together to throw Frank off a bridge, and it briefly seemed like Frank was going to be written off of the show. Luckily, that wasn't the case, and he briefly went missing and was stuck in a coma for a few weeks.
When a disgusting new brand of drink called Hobo Loco decided to recruit an authentic derelict individual to act as their spokesperson, Frank jumped on the opportunity to become the Hobo Loco Man. The winner of the Hobo Loco Games was promised several thousand dollars compensation to act as the drink's ambassador, and Frank wanted the money to help him with his second chance at fatherhood.
Unfortunately, Frank failed to win the competition, despite being the most obvious and ideal candidate. Shameless might have actually been better off if he'd won, though, as it would have been entertaining to see exactly how Frank would inevitably blow all of that money on all the wrong things.
The Gallaghers have a difficult time reaching their potential. Lip's intelligence was put to waste when he got expelled from college, Debbie put becoming a teenage mother over her career and education, and Ian's potential as an advocate was ruined when he was sent to prison. Fiona tried to climb the social ladder and make some serious money, but her attempt failed horribly and her resulting downward spiral was worse than fans could've ever expected.
Fiona's response to losing her boyfriend and all of her money was straight out of the Frank Gallagher playbook. She became a mess, and everyone in her life saw that she was on track to hitting rock bottom. It was tough to see, but Shameless is strongest when its characters are experiencing drama. If Fiona kept climbing the ladder of success, she would've become far too boring.
When Lip's co-worker Eddie left Chicago and left her niece Xan in Lip's care, he instantly found himself enjoying fatherhood. Lip took care of Xan as if she was his, and they seemed to really love spending time with each other. Unfortunately, Xan's mother returned to the South Side to reclaim her and put an end to Lip and Xan's budding father-daughter relationship.
Lip nearly succeeded in bribing Xan's mother to stay out of her life, but Xan showed up and ruined his plan. When she came back a few weeks later, Lip tried applying to be her foster parent, but Fiona accidentally ruined his chance. Xan is now in the foster program and out of the Gallagher house, but fans can't help hoping she and Lip will someday become a real family so Lip can find the happiness he deserves.
When Carl's girlfriend Kassidi pressured him into marrying her before going away to military school, it seemed like Shameless was going to get a new Frank and Monica. Carl and Kassidi were every bit as ridiculous and problematic a couple as Carl's parents, and Frank was so excited about his son following in his footsteps that he actually supported Carl's clearly unwise and doomed teenage union.
Even after they tied the knot, Kassidi tried locking her new husband up so he couldn't go to military school, and when that failed, she followed Carl and became his very-unwanted cheerleader. Viewers instantly grew tired of her constant neediness, so no one really complained when one of Carl's fellow cadets shockingly ended Kassidi's life and canceled a seemingly important storyline off-screen.
When Debbie tricked her boyfriend Derek Delgado into fathering her child in an attempt to cement their relationship and help her get an early start at motherhood, he instantly recognized her deception and moved across the country. Debbie was left alone throughout her entire pregnancy and the first few months of her daughter's life, but Derek eventually returned to the South Side to try to be a part of Franny's life.
Debbie initially refused to let the Delgados see her daughter and acted like Derek was the one who was in the wrong, but she eventually changed her mind and let Derek meet Franny. It seemed like he'd become a recurring presence on the show, but Shameless has seemingly written him off completely since then, even though his complicated relationship with Debby and Franny would have been interesting to watch develop.
Shameless fans can't seem to agree on whether or not Ian and Trevor were good together. Trevor helped Ian learn some important lessons about the community and was instrumental in helping Ian inspire teenagers throughout the world. His decision to break-up with Ian after he almost ran away to Mexico with Mickey was completely understandable, and the issues with their relationship were rarely Trevor's fault. But viewers never took too well to Trevor because he just wasn't Mickey Milkovich, Ian's first real love on the show.
When Ian started letting his fame get to his head, he completely forgot about his feelings for Trevor and Trevor was written off of the show. The abrupt end to their storyline together felt very awkward, but since fans always preferred Mickey anyway and refused to root for Ian and Trevor's relationship, it was for the best.
When Carl used his extremely loyal and unbelievably clueless nephew Chuckie to help him smuggle illegal substances, they both got caught and were sent to juvenile prison. There, Carl was drafted into a group for not giving up his supplier, while Chuckie joined the rival Brotherhood and became his uncle's enemy.
There was a lot of comedic potential to be explored with this storyline, but instead of getting to watch their undoubtedly hilarious war against each other in Juvie, viewers didn't get to see Carl or Chuckie until they were released. Sammi tried to get revenge on the Gallaghers for what happened to her son, but Chuckie did nothing to try to get back at Carl for ruining his life and hasn't been seen for several years.
Fiona was too busy taking care of her siblings to really have fun for most of her life, so her friendship with rebellious and free-spirited fellow PTA member Jasmine Hollander helped her finally get out of her shell. Jasmine loved to party and launch into affairs with older men, and encouraged Fiona to let loose and follow in her footsteps.
Their storyline together was initially fun to watch, but when Jasmine tried kissing Fiona, things took a weird turn. She became too clingy and obsessive, and when Fiona turned down Jasmine's request for a place to stay after she was kicked out of her home by her husband, Jasmine left in a rage and was thankfully never seen again.
When Ian was sent to jail after he was found guilty for inciting riots and blowing up a man's car during his stint as "Gay Jesus," fans rejoiced after the reveal that Mickey, the character most viewers deem to be Ian's soulmate, is going to be his cellmate. Unfortunately, that was the last we saw of Ian and fans only got to see a brief glimpse of the couple reuniting.
Cameron Monaghan had intended to exit Shameless, so Ian's "happy ending" with Mickey was meant to be the final farewell to his character. However, now Monaghan is reportedly going to return to the show in its tenth season, so this storyline will hopefully resume and fans will be able to see what life in lock-up is like for this beloved couple.
Shameless' ninth season will be Fiona's last, and since Ian's long prison sentence was meant to be the writers' way of removing his character from the series, the show was almost going to be down two essential Gallaghers in its tenth season. Seemingly in an attempt to fill this void, the writers tried to provide viewers with a whole new batch of Gallaghers as Frank and his girlfriend Ingrid planned on starting a family together and Tami recently ended up with Lip's child.
These new additions to the Gallagher family would have definitely spiced things up on Shameless, but they wouldn't have been enough to replace Fiona and Ian. Neither of Frank or Lip's baby storylines have to be pursued anymore, because Ian is coming back. Most fans would much rather see the continuation of Ian's storyline than the creation of new Gallagher storylines.
It's for the best that Frank isn't going to become the father to a whole new batch of Gallagher kids, but that doesn't mean his storyline with Ingrid should have come to an end. When Frank chose becoming the Hobo Loco Man over taking care of Ingrid, she realized that he wasn't a suitable partner and left him. Her decision was understandable, but her character was far too interesting for the writers to remove from the show so abruptly.
Ingrid was very reminiscent of Monica, because she experienced some dramatic mental issues and because Frank instantly fell head over heels for her thanks to his love for chaos. It's tragic that Frank's shortcomings as a would-be father forced the cancellation of their storyline as a couple because they were fun to watch together and it was nice to see Frank happy and filled with purpose.
Jimmy's relationship with Fiona was never healthy. When they started dating, Jimmy couldn't stop lying to Fiona. Fiona, meanwhile, was always too focused on her family issues to ever make Jimmy a priority. They had great chemistry, but they both had too much going on to find a sense of normality with each other. Despite that, fans were distraught each time the couple broke up, and rejoiced when Jimmy briefly returned in Shameless' fifth season and ruined Fiona's happy marriage with Gus.
It's for the best that Jimmy left the show shortly after and hasn't been seen since. His absence forced Fiona to figure out her life on her own, and while she's experienced a lot of tragedy since her storyline with Jimmy was canceled, that drama has made the show far more interesting than it was when they were together.