Over the past nine seasons of Showtime's hit series Shameless, fans have watched as the Gallagher children tried to deal with the many difficulties of life in the South Side without any real help from their derelict single father. Frank Gallagher always chose to spend more time at the bar than raising his kids, so the bulk of the child-rearing responsibility was placed upon his daughter Fiona. Frank's twisted moral code and gift for using others to get what he wants has made him a terrible role model and father, but it's also somehow made him one of the most likable and entertaining characters on television.
Shameless viewers are often quick to criticize characters like Fiona and Ian for their poor relationship and life choices, but since Frank does questionable things every episode of the series, the show's audience has always been quick to accept and ignore his most glaring failings. He's ruined the lives of several of his friends and family members and is undeniably a bad human being, but he remains a fan-favorite no matter what trouble he gets into or causes for the people he supposedly cares about. A few of his schemes and shenanigans shouldn't be so easily forgiven or forgotten.
William H. Macy's amazing portrayal of the Gallagher family patriarch earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series, but that doesn't mean Frank should be as beloved as he seems to be by Shameless' biggest fans. Here are 20 Things Wrong With Frank Fans Choose To Ignore.
20 FRANK WAS WILLING TO LET HIS KIDS BECOME HOMELESS
When Frank ruined Fiona's wedding day just to get back at Sean, several of the Gallagher kids and their friends teamed up to throw him off of a bridge into the freezing Chicago river. Frank was in a coma for a month, but when he came to, he discovered that no one had tried to look for him or seemed to care at all that he'd been missing.
Frank tried moving back into his house, but his kids immediately kicked him out and told him they were no longer going to forgive how horrible of a parent he'd always been to them. Instead of accepting that he deserved that sort of treatment, Frank proceeded to hire a contractor to lock his kids out of their home. He cared more about his revenge than his family's safety, so he was more than happy to force his offspring into homelessness.
19 HE TRIED SIMPLY REPLACING HIS ENTIRE FAMILY
When Frank finally accepted that his kids were no longer willing to tolerate his irresponsibility and heartlessness, he moved into a homeless shelter and tried to simply replace each of them. He started calling several of the teenagers there by his family's names, and even renamed his girlfriend Delores "Monica."
The homeless shelter got shut down shortly after, so he and his "Gallagher 2.0" family ended up crashing a home realtor's showing right on his old block. This brought him into conflict with his real family, until his new family found out he'd been using them to pocket donation money given to the new "shelter" and kicked him out as well.
18 HE WANTED LIAM TO HELP HIM STEAL FROM HIS FRIENDS' PARENTS
Once Debbie and Carl started being as distrustful of Frank as Fiona, Lip, and Ian, Frank shifted his focus onto Liam in the hopes that he could keep one Gallagher child on his side. He selflessly helped his youngest son get into a great private school after he found out Liam was getting bullied in public school and rejoiced when Liam called him a "good father," as he'd never been called that before.
Frank couldn't just do something good for one of his kids and move on, though. He soon proceeded to try to use Liam's connections with his rich classmates to steal from their parents. Liam reluctantly assisted his father with his schemes at first, but over time, he came to accept the truth about Frank and opted to stop helping him.
17 HE USED SHEILA FOR HER HOSPITALITY
In the first season of Shameless, Frank spent most of his waking hours at The Alibi Room and only seemed to really spend time at the Gallagher house when he wanted a roof to sleep under before passing out. When his kids started to object to this behavior, Frank decided to search elsewhere for a place to stay and his quest brought him to Sheila Jackson's doorstep.
Sheila was unhappy in her marriage, and desperately wanted someone she could take care of and who would actually pay attention to her. Since she was agoraphobic and never left the house, she didn't know Frank's bad reputation throughout the South Side, so he was able to convince her he had actual feelings for her and immediately took advantage of her hospitality, innocence, and need for affection.
16 HE TRIED MAKING SHEILA'S AGORAPHOBIA WORSE
It was bad enough that Frank took advantage of a sweet woman like Sheila, but his manipulation of her became even more unforgivable when he actively tried making her agoraphobia worse.
Sheila's affection for Frank inspired her to try to venture outside of her home so she could join him at the bar and meet some of his friends, but Frank selfishly tried halting her progress. He was worried by the idea of Sheila finding out from people around town that he was known for being a twisted opportunist, so he did everything he could think of to keep her inside and afraid of ever seeing the world for as long as possible.
15 HIS SCHEMES PUT LIAM IN DANGER
Frank has always been too lazy and irresponsible to maintain a real job for any significant period of time, so he resorts to underhanded means to make enough money to survive and drink away his problems. When Karen found out that he'd been stealing from Sheila and refused to allow him to continue to do so, Frank had to try different ways to come up with money. He made and lost a number of bets with acquaintances at The Alibi, and found himself owing out $10,000.
Frank used his youngest son Liam to win sympathy panhandling, but one of the bar patrons he owed money to simply took Liam as collateral for the money. Frank's shenanigans thus put Liam in significant danger, and some of his children rightfully never forgave him for that.
14 HE KEPT DOTTIE FROM GETTING A NEW HEART
When Sheila started to conquer her agoraphobia, Frank set out to find a new financial plan so he'd have a place to stay and another partner to leech off of if Sheila found out the truth about him and ended their relationship. He decided that fellow bar patron Dottie's declining health and city pension made her the perfect target.
Dottie didn't feel any sort of attraction towards Frank and knew not to trust him, but since she didn't want to be alone at the end of her life or forgotten after she passed, she accepted Frank into her home. Frank then proceeded to do one of the worst things he's ever done on Shameless. He intercepted a page telling her that she had a new heart in hopes of being written into her will and allowed Dottie to needlessly pass away.
13 HE SPLIT UP HIS OWN FAMILY
Fiona, Lip, and Ian all knew well enough to dislike their father from the very start of Shameless, but Debbie took some time to realize how bad of a person Frank really is. When he insulted and ruined a school project she spent a lot of time working on in the show's third season, Debbie finally snapped and attacked Frank with a bag of soap until he lost consciousness and was thrown out of the Gallagher house.
Frank was so upset at this act of betrayal from his most trusted child that he actually called Child Services on his own family. The Gallagher kids were then taken away by CPS and separated. Frank was so set on getting revenge and being granted entry back into his home that he didn't care about the possibility of his family being torn apart forever.
12 HE ONLY ENTERED SAMMI'S LIFE TO GET HER LIVER
Fans spent the first four seasons of Shameless believing that Fiona was Frank's oldest daughter, but when Frank's liver gave out due to his years of drinking and he was forced to find someone who would give him their liver, viewers discovered that he had another, secret daughter named Samantha Slott.
Frank never seemed to have any desire to meet Sammi until he realized he could potentially convince her to give him her liver, something his other children refused to do. He used romantic tactics to draw Sammi to him initially, and when he revealed himself to be her long lost father, he took advantage of her desire to be close to him. He likely would have let Sammi go through her entire life without knowing her father if he didn't need something from her.
11 HE BLEW UP SHEILA'S HOME
When two women came to Sheila with an offer to purchase her house for double the market value, Sheila considered accepting and using the money to travel the world. She'd finally fully gotten over her agoraphobia and was ready to leave the South Side and move on with her life. Frank, however, didn't want to have to find somewhere else to stay or someone new to take care of him, so he convinced her to keep her house by pretending yet again to have genuine feelings for her.
Shortly after this, Frank's secret "Milk of the Gods" drink production operation in Sheila's basement went horribly wrong. Her house blew up, and while Sheila found some relief from this because it seemed to be a sign that she was right to leave Chicago and see the world, it was horrible that Frank didn't extend an apology or offer to pay her back.
10 HE WANTED HIS KIDS TO BE MANIPULATIVE LAW-BREAKERS
Carl and Debbie took longer than their older siblings to realize that Frank was a terrible role model. Throughout Shameless' first several seasons, they turned to their father for help and wisdom, and Frank was more than happy to teach his kids how to cheat the system and manipulate others to advance in life.
When Frank found out that Carl was making money selling illegal substances, he encouraged him to continue to do so and frequently "borrowed" cash from his second-youngest son. When Debbie tricked Derek into getting her pregnant, he instructed her to keep the child so he could blackmail Derek's parents into giving him money and encouraged Debbie to trick a wealthy man into providing for her. Frank always seems most proud of his kids when they're breaking laws and using the Gallagher charm to take advantage of others.
9 HE ENCOURAGED A GANG TO ATTACK A PEACEFUL COMMUNE
When Queenie Slott came back into Frank's life, Frank briefly checked out the peaceful commune she'd been living in for the past several years. Queenie had been the greatest love of his life after his ex-wife Monica so Frank actually considered permanently staying at the commune, but when he learned he'd be expected to do chores and share Queenie with some of the other residents, his interest in living there immediately dissipated.
Before he returned to the South Side, Frank found out that the commune grew poppies for substances in enormous supply. When he came into trouble with a criminal he owed money to, Frank heartlessly directed him towards the commune to save his own skin, promising there was enough ingredients there to pay off his debt. Several innocent people lost their lives as a result, but Frank didn't feel any guilt for his part in their passing.
8 HE PURPOSEFULLY RUINED FIONA'S WEDDING TO SEAN
Fiona suffered from a wide variety of relationship issues in the first six seasons of Shameless, but when she and her diner boss Sean got engaged, it seemed like she was finally on track to be happy. Until, of course, Frank decided to put an end to Fiona and Sean's relationship.
When Sean beat Frank up after a bad argument, Frank set out to end Sean's life. When his attempt to hire a hitman didn't pan out, he settled for simply removing Sean from the picture. Frank waited until the wedding to reveal that he broke into Sean's office and found proof that his daughter's fiancé lied about his sobriety, causing a heartbroken Fiona to call off the wedding and ruining her big day.
7 HE SUPPORTED CARL AND KASSIDI'S MARRIAGE
The Gallagher kids typically do a good job supporting each other's relationships, but no one thought Carl's marriage to Kassidi was a good idea—not even Carl himself. Kassidi was clearly just trying to lock Carl down in the hopes of keeping him from going to military school, and their relationship had only lasted for a few weeks. All of Carl's siblings instructed him against tying the knot, but Frank was fully supportive of their nuptials and actually encouraged his son to take the plunge.
Frank's support was likely because Carl and Kassidi's relationship resembled his and Monica's. His marriage with Monica was never particularly great, but Frank is so self-centered that he relished in the thought of his son following in his footsteps and making similarly irresponsible decisions.
6 HE HELPED A BAD MAN GET ELECTED
Some people in the South Side saw the race to elect a new member of Congress in Season 9 as a chance to finally create change in Chicago, but Frank saw it as an opportunity to get rich quick. He tried making money collecting and distributing campaign signs, but when he discovered that campaign managers make some serious cash, he abandoned his sign gig and encouraged Mo White to run for office so he could act as his manager.
Frank claimed that Mo White could help make a difference in the South Side, but Mo didn't have any interest in doing actual work. Frank knew that, but he was too excited to be making money to care. He also knew that Mo had a history of pursuing underage women, but kept that to himself so he could continue pocketing campaign funds.
5 HE PROFITED OFF OF IAN'S MANIC STATE
Ian always hated taking his bipolar disorder medications, so he frequently suffered from manic phases where lost the ability to control his temperament or foresee the consequences of his actions. He underwent a downward spiral in the show's eighth season and actually started embracing the title of deity that the community bestowed upon him, but instead of advising Ian to seek help like the rest of the Gallagher family tried to, Frank simply sat back and profited off of his son's deteriorating mental state.
Everyone close to Ian could see that he was losing control and acting irrationally, but Frank saw his son's popularity as an opportunity to make money selling T-shirts. Instead of using the money he made at church rallies selling these shirts to help Ian's cause, he pocketed the cash for himself.
4 HE ONLY CARES ABOUT ONE THING
When Frank's liver gave out in Shameless' fourth season, fans assumed that he'd have to give up drinking. His love for drinking almost cost him his life, but as soon as he got a new liver, Frank fell right back into his old habits.
After years of continued drinking, one of his friends at the Alibi noticed that his urine was black. Frank was rushed to the hospital, where his doctor revealed that his new liver was acting up. He told Frank yet again to stop drinking, but Frank refused. He lucked out that his doctor was able to give him medication that calmed his liver, but it's ridiculous that Frank would have rather ended his life than give up his vice.
3 HE ENCOURAGED INGRID TO EMBRACE HER INSANITY
While Frank was in the hospital, he came across Ingrid, a manic woman who jumped and attacked him before running off from the room. Most people would have left this bizarre encounter confused and disturbed by Ingrid's behavior, but Frank found her insanity appealing and decided to pursue her.
He soon learned that Ingrid suffers from some form of bipolar disorder, just like his late wife Monica. Ingrid's ex-husband looked after her to make sure she took her medications, but Frank encouraged her to embrace her mental state and abandon both her ex and her meds. Being with Frank definitely hasn't been good for Ingrid's mental health, but Frank loves being in dysfunctional relationships and doesn't seem to really care about what's best for his new girlfriend.
2 HE USED CARL TO TRICK INGRID
A few short days into their relationship, Ingrid told Frank that she wanted him to help her have children. Frank loved the idea of getting yet another chance to be a father, so he agreed and went with Ingrid to a fertility clinic. The doctor there told him that his potential to be a father was too low due to his bad habits and medications, but Frank refused to give up on his dream of being able to raise and corrupt more kids.
He immediately went to the Gallagher house to try to convince one of his sons to help. He tricked Carl into filling a sample cup for him and offered him additional monetary compensation for doing so. Ingrid has no idea that her boyfriend's teenage son is the real father of her children, and Carl doesn't suspect that he's got several kids on the way.
1 HE NEVER APPRECIATED FIONA
Monica left her family shortly after giving birth to her youngest son Liam, and Frank was too busy spending time at the Alibi, launching various schemes and mourning his wife's departure to step up and be a good father to his kids. Fiona thus had to raise her siblings all on her own and often sacrificed her own happiness and success in the process.
Fiona's siblings were rarely appropriately appreciative of everything she did for them growing up, but they were just kids and can be forgiven for their lack of appreciation. Frank's inability to truly thank Fiona for everything she did and continues to do for the family is far less acceptable. They'd all be separated and stuck in the foster care system or homeless and starving if not for Fiona, but Frank is always too busy being cruel to her to ever express proper gratitude.