January 14, 2011

TV: Shameless (Showtime, Sun 10)

Was it really a good idea to follow Episodes, a show about how badly American TV fucks up the remakes of British shows, with Shameless, a not very interesting American remake of a British show? I think not.

The setting is Chicago, and we're dealing with the struggles of the Gallagher family. We meet the six kids at the breakfast table, divvying up their proceeds from various jobs, errands, and scams to get them through another day. "You're almost nine now," one of the older kids tells Debbie. "You're going to have to start pulling your weight."

Why is it up to the kids to make ends meet? Because father Frank (William H. Macy) is an unemployed drunk, drinking away the checks he gets for his phony disability before any of the money gets to the kids.

Most of the burden falls to oldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum, a helluva long way from her usual Phantom of the Opera-type roles), as does what little personality the writers have bothered to give to any of the characters. The other kids are, at least in the first episode, allowed one character trait each; there's the smart one, the gay one, the creepy one, the other girl, and the baby. Even Macy doesn't get to bring much life to the story; he spends most of the first hour passed out drunk on the kitchen floor.

The jokes aren't funny; the actors aren't appealing; and the story isn't interesting. An hour of blah.

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