Shameless
Frank Gallagher: Loving Husband, Devoted Father

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Whitesnake Moan

Because Sheila started out compensating to deal with her abusive relationship, which now keeps her locked up inside her house, but also prepared her like a bride on her wedding night for what is turning out to be a fairly healthy relationship with Frank. And now you've got these two women learning to let these men into their lives, edging out onto the ledge, tethered by bedsheets and broomsticks and boxer shorts and jungle vines and whatever they can hold onto so the world doesn't slide out from under them.

There's this song where the girl says the secret to life is that she's okay when everything is not okay. And in high school, I only understood this line as accepting the fact that you need a certain amount of chaos in order to function, that it was a sort of rueful admission of complicity and guilt and the usual crazy-writer, crazy-girl, crazy-artist thing. I'm okay ONLY when everything is not okay.

I knew that I was a grownup the day I heard that song and it flipped over and I realized I'd been hearing that song wrong my entire life: You are okay. You are okay, EVEN when everything is not okay, because "everything" is never going to be okay. That's the day the world ends, when everything is perfect; this is the secret to life.

Or tell me this: When you see the word Shameless, what does it make you think about? Connotes flagrant behavior, right? Excess, breaking the rules, upsetting the authorities, getting in trouble, being too stupid to care.

But look again, because: What the fuck is wrong with leaving behind the concept of shame?

Shame-free is not shame-less, but the difference is the same as between being a child and being an adult: Fixed is not the same as unbroken, it's way better.

Anyway, halfway through the season it's appropriate that we be looking at these themes, because whatever this US version turns out to be about really, it's not about the same thing as the UK show at all, because that show was an ensemble as written, and this is only an ensemble as performed: This, centrally, is the story of two women who are not as broken as they think they are.

A funny-faced fellow name of Kermit shows up with several bags of Frank's mail, which he's been receiving for what seems like years. Kermit's girlfriend Cynthia (and I really can't stress enough how crazy-looking this Kermit actually is) has decreed that he can't get Frank's mail anymore, and gotten rid of both his 19th-century erotica ("That was hard") and Atari cartridges ("That was harder"), and Kermit is learning to compromise. "She's my last chance at happiness, and that's more important than video games and masturbation, right?"

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Shameless

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