Currently, in the midst of airing its ninth season, Shameless has managed to build a passionate fan base that cares about the show deeply. While that is a really good thing for Shameless’ long-term prospects, in truth, it also is a double-edged sword. After all, if viewers care enough to remember the vast majority of a show’s storylines they are bound to notice when things don’t quite add up.
There is no doubt that the supporting cast made up of characters like Kev, V, Mickey, and Mandy have all been important to the show's continued success. However, at its core, the show has always been all about the messy and memorable Gallagher clan and in almost every case, supporting characters only last on the show if they are important to one of the family members. For that reason, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that many of Shameless’ most inconsistent moments, storylines, and character traits relate to one of the Gallaghers.
In order for a problem to be considered for possible inclusion in this list, it first and foremost needs to have been a part of the show Shameless. On top of that, it needs to relate to at least one of the members of the Gallagher family in one way or another. Finally, when you really reflect on the show’s history, it simply has to make no sense in context.
With all that in mind, it is time to look at this list of 20 Things That Make No Sense About The Gallagher Family.
He's essentially the Roadrunner of the Shameless world. No matter how bad things get for Frank Gallagher, he finds a way to keep going. For instance, when his liver gave out, he managed to get a replacement, even though it was abundantly clear that he was never going to make the lifestyle changes demanded of organ recipients. Looking at that situation alone, it is hard to fathom that Frank is still among the living but it is far from the only time he could have passed away.
After all, considering his severe addiction issues, it seems like it should have been only a matter of time until his health permanently failed or his life met a sudden end due to his impaired state.
Since they were raised to do whatever it takes to get by, it is safe to say that the Gallagher children are not going to lose any sleep over committing most crimes. Fortunately for them, they tend to be a pretty crafty lot and among their peer group, there is a culture of silence when it comes to questions from the police.
Still, given the outlandish crimes members of this family are known to commit, there is no reasonable way to explain why only one of them is incarcerated. For instance, in a very recent episode, Debbie was angered by a betrayal of her sister so she abducted the person she felt wronged Fiona and hung him from a sign on a busy city street. The idea she could have pulled that off without being caught is downright silly.
No matter how many people work hard to stop them from happening, the fact of the matter is that pretty much every TV show is rife with continuity errors. In most cases, these mistakes are incredibly benign, including instances in the amount of liquid in a glass changes from shot to shot. On the other hand, there are oversights that are a lot harder to understand.
In an example of the latter, during Fiona’s relationship with Sean, she got the word "Warrior" tattooed on her forearm. As this was a major moment for her character, it is really sad that her ink seems to have completely disappeared since. Fiona often appears with her forearm exposed and her tattoo is not visible.
Let’s face facts: Frank Gallagher is entertaining on TV but having him around all the time would be difficult. For that reason, all of his kids above a certain age have become so aggravated that they want as little to do with him as possible. In the case of Ian, that may be easier to do since a test revealed that he is not Frank’s biological son. The only problem with this is that everyone seems to have forgotten that fact.
Frank has referred to Ian as his son multiple times and nobody blinks an eye. In most families that would make sense, since many parents are not genetically related to their kids, but since Ian clearly dislikes Frank, it would make sense for him to distance himself from his so-called dad every way he can.
The youngest child of Monica and Frank Gallagher, Liam did not exactly hit the lottery when it comes to his parents. Fortunately, when he was still very young his eldest sister Fiona not only became his legal guardian, but also brought him up as one of her own. Additionally, when she was sent to prison after putting Liam at extreme risk, Lip became his parental figure and when he is on his meds Ian has been there too.
However, as of late, nobody seems to take care of Liam, as Frank is too irresponsible and Fiona, Lip, and Ian are all living elsewhere. This is somewhat fitting, as in real life some kids bring themselves up, but it does beg the question: what happened to the Gallaghers taking care of their own above all else?
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Shameless in recent years, seeing Fiona grow in confidence as she became an entrepreneur has been really gratifying. After all, fans of the show always knew how competent Fiona is00 assuming she didn’t get in her own way.
She was really starting to come into her own when she took on a leadership role at the diner. Seeing her improve Patsy’s was a hint at her future. However, over time, her business plans matured and she became wholly focused on her role as a landlord. She may have been given the diner by Sean, but she clearly isn’t running since she is never there. Someone else would have to take her place, but who?
Always on the lookout for a quick way to make a buck, recently Frank took note of people’s desperation to get cheap prescription medications and identified it as an opportunity for himself. When he agreed to cross over into Canada in order to purchase cheaper medications on that side of the border, at first it seemed obvious that he would be making the trip alone. However, he was later seen in Canada accompanied by customers whom he sent off to a pharmacy.
This is totally befuddling given that taking people across the border would severely up the chances of being caught. Frank could also charge much more if he made the trip alone, and that is all he would realistically care about.
One of the most obvious aspects of Shameless from the very start was that the Gallaghers live in an area populated by people in a similar financial situation as themselves. Suddenly, however, the show introduced a storyline in which wealthy outsiders moved in since they saw the potential of the neighborhood and believed they could change it to their liking.
Never willing to look kindly on those who threaten their way of life, the Gallaghers began messing with their new neighbors but they did not scare easy. In fact, when the wealthy neighbors woke up one morning to find their car being towed away, they knocked on the Gallaghers’ door and swore to take them on. It was a moment that was brimming with potential, but it led to nothing at all as the whole storyline was dropped out of nowhere.
In one of the strangest storylines in Shameless history, in the lead up to Ian’s departure from the show, he began to be worshipped by a group disenfranchised LGBTQ+ youths he was championing.Taking on that fight was completely admirable.
However, once Ian began to be celebrated in almost a cultish way and he did things like lighting a van on fire, the whole storyline took an odd turn. On top of that, this whole sequence of events began to beg an interesting question: what was Ian doing for money during this time? As he was no longer working as an EMT and largely seemed to be supported by teens who were struggling to get by themselves, there's no obvious answer.
This is among the worst things Frank has done. During the third season, he is upset because Fiona kicks him out of the Gallagher house, so he has his own kids taken away by calling Family Services on them Confronted with this fact after Fiona finds out he made the call, Frank only agrees to help get his own kids back if he is allowed to move back into the house.
While it may seem like the type of selfish thing Frank would do, especially after having his feelings hurt, that really isn’t the case. After all, he had no way to know for sure he would be able to get his kids back or Fiona would let him move back in and this betrayal seems like a bridge too far even for Frank.
One of a handful of storylines from the early Shameless seasons that most viewers seem to have forgotten, Debbie Gallagher actually stole a child briefly. Seemingly motivated by the fact that she wanted a child to care for, instead of trying to find a doll Debbie opts to steal a child from a birthday party across the street.
She's eventually framed as the hero of the story, as the Gallaghers pretend she found the child instead of taking him. That is a solid explanation for why she was in no legal jeopardy. However, the idea that her siblings did nothing to punish her actions is a lot harder to go along with, since Fiona was acting as a parental figure for Debbie at the time.
As he spends the majority of his onscreen time in search of a stupor or scheme, viewers never expected Frank Gallagher to take on an everyday job. Despite that, during a recent effort towards self-improvement, he began referring to himself as Francis and took on a job in the retail world. Fully committed to his new role, he worked hard to advance quickly and seemed to believe that he would continue to ascend in the business world without delay. However, everything fell apart for him when he lost his job due to layoffs and he seemed to be shocked by this end result.
For some characters who spent years in a job that may make sense, but over the years Frank has ranted about big business holding the little guy down many and he had only just begun his legitimate career.
During the last several seasons, Fiona has consistently found more success in her professional life. For a time, she even put her consistent relationship drama behind her. Sadly, however, over the span of only a few episodes, she reversed the trend as she put herself into a position where she probably has to sell her building and she once again had her heart broken.
Reacting very poorly to the end of her latest dysfunctional relationship, she crashed her car while under the influence and fled the scene in a rural area. Paying a corrupt car mechanic to make things look like her car was stolen seems to have gotten her out of trouble. However, she waited until the next day to deal with her actions. By then, the cops should have already investigated since the loud crash would have inspired people to call them.
Evidently taking up the slack left behind by Ian’s failed military hopes, Carl has thrown himself into his efforts to build a future for himself in the army. It's a far cry from what he was up to only a few seasons ago, when Carl was sent to juvenile hall after he was caught taking part in criminal activities. It turned out that Frank ratted them out.
However, even if he hadn’t been betrayed, Carl pretty much signed his own arrest warrant when he enlisted Chuckie, his half-nephew, to carry illegal things for him. After all, Chuckie was easy to dupe and likely would have done something to get them both caught eventually. Carl was streetwise enough to know it was a mistake to put himself at risk like that.
By this point it makes all the sense in the world that Frank’s kids would want him gone. However, pretty much everything about them throwing him off a bridge failed to add up. They decided to do this after Frank ruined Fiona’s wedding by revealing that her fiance had fallen back into his addiction issues. Sure, he did that for his own vindictive reasons and in the worst way possible but he kept her from making a huge mistake.
That aside, they were angry enough to do the deed so let’s look at what went into the bridge toss. This was an action that easily could have led to their father’s demise. The Gallaghers are far too crafty to do something that obviously was highly illegal in the middle of a busy bridge with loads of witnesses.
Finding herself in a situation that many real-life people experience, Debbie was able to find a job as a welder but only as an under the table union outsider. Despite initially feeling very happy about this, everything changes when she suffers an industrial injury that crushes several of her toes, which necessitates expensive surgery she can’t afford. Desperate to have her severely damaged toes removed, Debbie turns to her younger brother Liam to do some home surgery but when the time comes he passes out.
This is an illogical move since Liam has no history of doing things like that. She lucks out when Frank walks by and has no trouble removing her toes. If viewers hadn’t wondered about it already, this makes it clear that she obviously should have turned to her dad, or at least one of her older siblings, to begin with.
The only major non-Gallagher characters who have been a part of Shameless from the beginning are Kev and V. As the Gallaghers’ neighbors and best friends when the show begins, they are close enough that they pretty much are a part of the family. For instance, they help Fiona watch over her younger siblings and it is obvious how much Kev and V care about them all.
Despite that, in recent years the only Gallagher they seem to interact with on a regular basis is Frank and that is only because he enters their bar. Of course, in real life, people grow apart but it is hard to believe that all of the Gallaghers would suddenly distance themselves from people they were so close with.
When Shameless began Liam was played by a set of twin boys, as is often the case when young children are a part of a TV show. Those twins were then replaced as the character continued to grow, another thing that happens surprisingly often in TV, those but from there, things became a little more strange.
When Liam was recast a third time, the child actors were old enough that it was extremely noticeable. Not only did Liam suddenly have a completely different face, but his aging was all over the place too. While audiences realize all of this is due to casting decisions, within the world of the show it makes no sense that Liam dramatically changes and ages inconsistently from time to time.
Easily one of the most interesting aspects of Shameless, the fact that Lip is absolutely brilliant paints his character in a very different light. He has all the potential in the world, but the way he was brought up has resulted in him regularly doing things that could put it all at risk. On top of that, seeing him come up with ingenious ways to deal with an issue or when he’d school someone that underestimated him was highly entertaining.
Sadly, however, for a quite a while now the writers seem to have completely forgotten about how incredibly intelligent Lip is. While he's focused on his recovery from addiction issues, he may not be tackling math problems regularly, but his extreme intelligence should still be obvious from time to time.
As the glue that held her family together, Fiona Gallagher cared so deeply about protecting her siblings that she was willing to do pretty much anything to get the job done. It was role that kept her exceedingly busy, so as Lip, Ian, Debbie, and even Carl got older Fiona called on them to help out more. As a result, this allowed her to think of herself and start a business career which also has taken up a lot of her time.
Considering all of that, it makes perfect sense for Fiona to expect her fellow siblings to take over her role as the primary caregiver. However, these days she has next to nothing to do with her own family; the people that she centered her entire life around for years. It seems like a betrayal of who her character was set up to be.
What else doesn't make sense about the Gallaghers in Shameless? Let us know in the comments!