Many characters have come and gone from Shameless, but a great many of these character departures have actually helped to increase the show's strengths. After all, after eight and a half years of a show, it's bound to make some story and character creation errors. However, some of these character exits have actually harmed the show because these specific characters have left a hole in the story now that they're gone. They added depth, comedy, romance, and downright fun. Additionally, some of the handlings of these exits have been a bit poor. In some cases, the characters literally just disappeared. This does a disservice to the show and disappoints the fans who grew a connection with them when they were introduced.
Then, there are the Shameless characters that are still hanging around even after their story-arcs are seemingly complete. These characters drag the show down, stopping it from reaching the height that it once had and because of their presence, the show isn't truly great. To make matters worse, the creators of Shameless have introduced an assortment of newer characters that are just not worthy of the show's creativity. These characters are replacements for previous ones and just don't match up. This list will delve into some of these Shameless characters, as well as the ones we miss oh so dearly. Without further ado, here are 14 Character Exists That Hurt The Show (And 6 Who Need To Go).
20 Hurt: Ian
Cameron Monaghan's Ian Gallagher has been one of the most well-developed characters in Shameless' history. But in recent years, his character went through some less-than-appealing arcs. This is mostly due to the absence of Mickey. However, it seems like the writers didn't really know where to take Ian, regardless of the presence of the love of his life.
When Monaghan announced that he was leaving the show before the first half of season nine was up, it was a disappointment. Given all of the things going on in the Gallagher family, it would make sense to include Ian in some capacity. Additionally, up until his final scenes, he was given a pretty boring final storyline. Not only is it a shame that he's gone, but he didn't get the send-off that he deserved.
19 Hurt: Karen
Karen was the great love of Lip's life. Sure, she did some truly downright questionable things, most of which we can't even begin to talk about here, but Karen also showed immense depth even within her worst qualities. This was a very wounded character with incredible complexity. She also went through a full, mostly redemptive, character arc.
Although it may have been a strong decision to make her leave the show for a little bit, she should have returned by now. Her departure has actually weakened the show, as no other love-interest that Lip has had has matched the spark that he had with Karen. Only Mandy came close to it, but even then, she was miles away from how engaging Karen was. If the creators of Shameless are reading, it's not too late to bring her back!
18 Needs To Go: Tami
There is absolutely nothing about Tami that makes her an engaging character, let alone an adequate love-interest for Lip. She was introduced at Lips' friend's wedding and when she next returned, she merely downplayed Lip's ability to get close to her. Then, suddenly, the two started spending time with one another and now, it seems like she's meant to be his next great love interest. But why?
Tami shows none of the depth that Mandy or Karen had even in their first episodes. Although Mandy and Karen did some hurtful things, they were multi-dimensional. Tami is just an unpleasant person who trades complexity for difficulty. Seriously, she's a handful and not in a good way. It's time for her to go.
17 Hurt: Sean
It's really hard to create a character that can match wits with Fiona. Jimmy was pretty much the only one who was meant to be with her. However, Dermot Mulroney's Sean was pretty close. Of all Fiona's other boyfriends, his character was the strongest. First of all, it was easy to empathize with him since he was such a class act. Then, it was also easy to sympathize with him due to his struggles, which simultaneously made him interesting. Although they could have made something work between him and Fiona, the creators decided to ax him.
This is a real shame because the following characters who took up Fiona's heart were kinda lame. Mulroney's Sean was a great addition to Shameless, but they just had to take him away from us.
16 Hurt: Kassidi
Don't get us wrong, Kassidi was one of the most vexing characters ever put on television. She was basically everything we didn't want in a romantic partner. Although the writers of Shameless played this for comedic effect, it wore out pretty quickly. Therefore, it made us think that they were going to do something really creative and redemptive with her. It would have been a justified, and engaging, turn, however, they simply took her life away off-screen. Actually, it was pretty insulting to the actor who played her.
Ultimately, getting rid of Kassidi would have been a smart move, but the fact that they forced her to exit the way they did proves that these writers are having difficulty with their characters, and this doesn't reflect well on the show.
15 Needs To Go: Kelly
Almost immediately after Kassidi was removed from the show, Kelly was introduced as Carl's new love interest. Essentially, she became “replacement Kassidi,” but luckily, Kelly has none of Kassidi's characteristics. She and Carl even met and fell for one another in an interesting, unique, and highly topical way, however, Kelly got boring really fast. Much like Lip's new love interest, this one just feels bland.
Because she feels so mundane, it's very hard to root for her and Carl to be together. In a way, she feels more like the love-of-the-moment; how does one become invested in a relationship that feels like it's going nowhere? Additionally, Kelly doesn't get much to do on the show but show off her martial arts skills. The show should give her something to do or get rid of her, preferably, the latter.
14 Hurt: Chuckie
Everyone and their dog wanted to see Sammi Slott be taken off the show, but not everyone wanted to see Chuckie leave. Sure, we all needed a break from Chuckie, but there was room for him to return to Shameless. There were very few times that he actually served the plot in any way and in most scenarios, this would be a sign that a character needs to go. Although the cut didn't exactly hurt the plot, it did hurt the sheer amount of comedy as he was a great character to pan to for a punchline.
Due to the proximity of the location where Chuckie ended up, it's odd that we haven't seen him around. In fact, he would have made a great partner-in-crime for Frank this season.
13 Hurt: Eddie
Like how The Alibi Room has regular patrons that fill-out the world of Shameless, so does Lip's bike shop. At least, that's what Eddie started out as. She was a really interesting face to see in the background of every scene and she even provided a few funny moments. However, as soon as she moved into the role of Lip's potential love-interest, she lost her appeal. Therefore, it did make sense to get rid of her, but her departure created one of the most unnecessary storylines in Shameless' eight and a half year history.
When Eddie exited, she left her young niece with Lip, forcing him into a father figure role. The storyline was short and pretty devoid of meaning, and basically, we can blame Eddie for this.
12 Needs To Go: Frank
This entry may be the most divisive on this list. So, let's break down the two sides. On one hand, Frank's what makes Shameless what it is. There's a reason why William H. Macy gets constantly nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes. Even when you see the worst aspects of Frank, he can surprise you. Additionally, he's easily the most entertaining character on the show.
On the other hand, Frank's storyline has become extremely repetitive. Sure, the show occasionally does something special with him, but mostly, it's things we've seen before. Since we've seen every facet of Frank, the argument is that he has nothing more to contribute. This is usually a sign that a character needs to go. But this does beg the question, could Shameless survive without him?
11 Hurt: Derek Delgado
Debbie Gallagher is one of the least interesting characters on the show, but her love-interests are even duller. Although Derek Delgado has to be the worst of the bunch, his departure actually weakened the show. Instead of keeping him around to make Debbie's life as a mother harder, or far easier, he was simply written out.
To make matters worse, we never got a sense of who this character was. This made us hard to see what Debbie saw in him. Therefore, his departure didn't strike the necessary dramatic chord. At the end of the day, Derek's part in the story felt like a big waste of time and we rarely even see the result of their relationship in Franny. If Shameless was going to get rid of him, they should have made him interesting at first.
10 Hurt: Sierra
Where did Sierra go? At the end of season eight, it appeared as if she and Lip could have maybe worked things out. Instead, she completely vanished without a single mention, not even making an appearance at work. The writers could have continued with this character and made her even more interesting, after all, she was a far more engaging love-interest than Lip's current situation.
Perhaps her departure had something to do with Ruby Modine's apparent break-up with co-star Cameron Monaghan, who has since been linked to another actor. Regardless of why she left the show, it was an insult to all of Modine's hard work to mold her the way they did. It also left things hanging without giving the audience any answers.
9 Needs To Go: Nessa Chabon
Why hire Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr and not give her character any substance? Seriously, Shameless gave this actor nothing to do but be Fiona's ear throughout season eight. Then, Nessa inexplicably vanished for a period of time only to resurface for one scene: to be Debbie's ear. This is all that the writers of Shameless have done with Nessa, and for some reason, she's still around!
If Shameless really feels nothing for Nessa, they should just get rid of her. Her presence is a growing reminder that they wasted a talented actor's time, as well as the audiences'. The fact that she's still referenced reminds us of the worst elements of the show, and it most certainly hurts it. It's time for her to go permanently.
8 Hurt: Kev's Kentucky Family
Kevin's season eight storyline, where he tracks down his long-lost family, was brief and pointless. This is really too bad. If the show was going to go through all of the effort to introduce us to these new characters, they should've done something with them. Instead, Kev and V left them in the dust.
Although it's safe to say that no audience member became connected with any of Kev's Kentucky family, the fact that they were introduced and swiftly cut actually harmed the integrity of the plot. It felt like a tangent that kept the show going for a little longer instead of becoming something substantial. And given the hilarious personalities of the family, it could have become just that.
7 Hurt: Mickey
There's absolutely no need for Mickey now that Ian is permanently off the show. But, with the exception of Ian's final scene, Mickey departed Shameless long before Ian did. During this time, we witnessed a variety of plotlines that took Ian nowhere interesting fast, and it's hard not to partially blame Mickey's absence for this.
When Mickey was on the show, he always added color and energy to Ian's character. After all, their relationship was one of the freshest on television. Even when Ian got into other romances, there was always the chance that Mickey could intervene and add drama, but that changed once he was sent off to Mexico. From there, Ian's storyline got weird and his other relationships were stale.
6 Needs To Go: Ford
There's a chance that we've seen the last of Ford. In fact, the embarrassing way that Debbie got back at him for hurting Fiona seems to be a fitting end for this utterly boring character. All of the traits that he had, Fiona's more interesting lovers had in spades. Additionally, the big twist with his character is something we've also seen before on the show. In short, Ford was a less interesting version of about three of Fiona's previous boyfriends.
Unfortunately, there's still a strong chance that Ford could return and attempt to win back Fiona. After all, almost all of her other partners have. This would be a really repetitive mistake, and if he does return, it will hurt Fiona's upcoming exit.
5 Hurt: Trevor
Trevor's another character that vanished without so much as a mention. Although Trevor wasn't a well-developed character, his exit deeply harmed the integrity of the show. After all, the writers had a responsibility to create an engaging storyline for this trans character, who is portrayed by trans actor Elliot Fletcher. The show received so much press about this casting choice and it was a bold decision that seemed to take a positive stand for the trans movement. But, it turned out to be nothing as this was thanks to the creation of an uninspiring character that was then cut for seemingly no reason.
So, on two fronts, Trevor's exit harmed Shameless. Firstly, they did nothing with his character and insulted the viewer by unceremoniously axing him. Secondly, they let down the community. Poor move, Shameless. Poor move.
4 Hurt: Jimmy/Steve
We need Jimmy/Steve! Now that Fiona is on her way out, it would be great if Jimmy returned in order to receive a proper “goodbye.” Initially, Jimmy was cut from the show in a really rewarding, and open-ended, way that made sense. His absence contributed to Fiona's momentary downfall and added to the show.
But then, Jimmy mysteriously returned after his life was seemingly taken from him by Estefania's father and he was given literally nothing to do but briefly beg for Fiona's attention. Afterwards, he got on his motorcycle and drove away. This was one of the worst treatments of a beloved character in television history. If Jimmy had stayed and been part of something rewarding, he wouldn't have hurt the show. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
3 Needs To Go: Svetlana
Why on Earth is Svetlana still a part of Shameless? After the whole “throuple” thing, she was given nothing of substance to do. In fact, half of her storylines seem to be without payoffs. This includes her marriage to a very wealthy man that has mistaken her for his previous partner.
Svetlana is one of those characters that has used up all her worth. She's going through all of the same jokes and all of the same story beats as we've previously seen her in. But unlike William H. Macy's Frank, Svetlana isn't remotely entertaining. To be fair, this is not the fault of the actor portraying her, but the error of the writers and creators of the show. If they want to repair some of the weaker elements of the story, they need to say goodbye to Svetlana.
2 Hurt: Sheila Jackson
Joan Cusack's Sheila Jackson was one of the only characters to be truly good at heart. She was wacky and unordinary, to say the least, and she didn't have a mean bone in her body. This made her a great foil to some of the more repugnant characters on the show.
Eventually, it seemed like her storyline wore out its welcome. Then, she left the show to do what her character was always put off by: traveling the world. As time went by, the absence of Sheila became more and more noticeable. No supporting character (other than Kev and V) has added so much to Shameless ever since. In a way, we're always comparing these new characters to Sheila and they just don't measure up. Therefore, we feel like her exit really hurt the show.
1 Hurt: Fiona
By now, every fan knows that this season will be Emmy Rossum's last. Although this event hasn't happened yet, it's something that Shameless fans are very nervous about. After all, Fiona Gallagher has contributed so much to the show. She really did become the series' protagonist and central heartbeat while being put through the wringer, so she deserves a happy ending that also suits the story world that exists within Shameless.
But this doesn't mean that her exit won't permanently harm the show. In fact, it just doesn't seem realistic that Shameless will continue without Fiona. Even with Lip stepping up as the main character, it's just not enough to keep a show going for much longer. Therefore, it's easy to say that Fiona's exit will be the thing to harm Shameless the most.
Which character do you think hurt Shameless? And which character do you think should leave? Let us know in the comments below!