Shameless Recap: The Gallaghers Are Back And We’re Excited

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This Sunday marks the premiere of the final season of the dramedy series Shameless, a show that has dominated American television for almost 10 years. Before getting cosy on Sunday night and pressing play, here is a recap of the last season and some predictions on what we can expect from season 11. Tune in every Monday for updates and commentary on Shameless season 11.

Shameless Season 10 Recap

shameless Season 10 recap

Credit: Warner Bros. Television

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Season 10 had a heartfelt, albeit chaotic, ending— as one can expect after years and years of watching Shameless. The beloved and “all-too-shippable” couple Gallavich; composed of our favourite South Side Chicago bad-boys, Ian Gallagher and Mickey Milkovich, finally wed.

After many departures and returns, stunts in jail, and a myriad of fights and break-ups, Mickey Milkovich returned to the screen and had a prominent part in the last season. We were able to watch him navigate prison life with Ian (Ian was sentenced after his “Gay Jesus” stunt in season eight and Mickey worked as an informant for “the feds” in order to choose his cellmate), legally weasel his way out of finishing his sentence (after his attempt to escape was foiled, he was informed that he qualified for early release anyway), and grow comfortable in his love for Ian and his sexuality. He’s come a long way since proclaiming to Ian in season two, “you’re nothing but a warm mouth to me.”

Fans of Gallavich were given a scare when their relationship took a tumultuous turn. I remember telling myself, “We survived this before, we can survive it again” in fear that Mickey would, once again, disappear and that his sudden arrival was just a tease to up ratings.

A few episodes into the season, Gallavich’s parole officer (played by the hilarious Rachel Dratch) turned up dead, they both suspected that one another was involved. After being informed that marriage would grant them immunity from testifying against each other, they nervously made their way down to the court office to sign some papers and elope. Lo and behold, Mickey gets texted a news video declaring that the culprit was found— it was a lover’s quarrel. Sparing no dramatics, their names are immediately called to sign the marriage papers and Ian chickens out. He later blames his lack of role models; as we know the Gallaghers have divorced parents, daddy (and mom) issues up the wazoo, and an avalanche of failed relationships.

Eventually, they do a proper engagement, but not after Mickey runs off and dates an annoying guy with an uncanny resemblance to Ian’s appearance in the early seasons. A few dramatic turning points later, they’re engaged and Mickey turns into a bridezilla (one of the best highlights of the last season), much to everybody’s surprise. That is used to give his cousin, Sandy, a bigger storyline— she’s his “best man” and partner in crime when it comes to wedding planning. Long-story-short: Mickey’s homophobic father, Terry, threatens him for being gay and getting married and he burns down their wedding venue. The Gallagher and Milkovich family work together to get a last-minute venue decorated nicely-enough and the two get married. All is fun and uncannily wholesome until their honeymoon where Terry resurfaces and shoots up their suite, which they narrowly avoid.

Next, let’s recap Debbie Gallagher’s storyline, the younger sister of the Gallagher bunch. While continuing to raise her daughter, Frannie, Debbie finds herself in a few short-lived shenanigans: a merchandising scheme, tracking down child support, and cruising hotel bars to find a sugar daddy— only to instead, find a sugar mama (is that what we’re calling them?). She ends up in a stable relationship with Claudia Niccola, an older, wealthy woman. Growing bored, Debbie finds herself hooking up with Claudia’s daughter who in return, blackmails her to be her date to the prom. Of course, in the typical Shameless fashion, prom night fell on the same night as Claudia’s birthday dinner. Although Debbie tried to balance the two events (planning the dinner across the street from the restaurant venue), she fell short of the demands and was caught. Shocker.

The creepy love triangle ended and Debbie began hooking up and forming a “relationship-not-relationship” with Sandy, Mickey’s cousin who was mentioned earlier. After the two shared a sweet dance at the Gallavich wedding, Debbie’s storyline ended with the police looking for her after they were notified that she slept with a minor. Gross, I guess Claudia’s daughter isn’t 18 yet.

The eldest Gallagher brother, Lip, spent the season acquainting himself with fatherhood and navigating his new sobriety. His girlfriend (whom I adore) Tami gave birth to a boy at the beginning of the season. The couple faced tons of complications as Tami battled postpartum depression and was feeling suffocated in the always-packed Gallagher household. Lip remedied this by moving them into a trailer house that was set in the backyard. Things were going smoothly for a while with the awkward hiccup of Tami’s conservative and racist grandmother stepping in to help out (the youngest Gallagher brother is a Black child), until the two were offered a house from Tami’s family located in a cutesy suburban neighbourhood in Milwaukee. Tami, of course, wants to move in and desires the change of pace away from the Gallagher madness, however, Lip struggles to come in agreeance.

Thinking he’s doing the right thing, he ends up buying a fixer-upper down the street from his family’s house and surprises Tami with it, much to her dismay. The two have it out at the Gallavich wedding and she storms off adamant that she’s moving to Milwaukee and taking their son, Fred, with her. Devastated, Lip ruins his sobriety and has a few drinks at the bar. Much like the Gallavich happy ending, Lip and Tami got one as well. In a short-but-sweet montage, Lip begins to fix up the dilapidated house he purchased and Tami arrives, asking for an extra mask, and the two start tackling the remodel.

 

Although those are the most prominent parts of season 10, the younger two Gallaghers had some entertaining storylines. Carl Gallagher fell in love with his co-worker Anne and her family temporarily moved in with the bunch, running a tamale business from the small space. They kiss and then Anne disappears under the pretence of moving to the North Side. He also gets really passionate about neighbourhood safety and community policing, and gets a job as a garbageman which he later finds out is a ruse for the other men to do some shady business.

Sweet baby Liam who we have watched grow into a smarty-pants middle-schooler doesn’t get much attention on the show as the youngest and most well-adjusted Gallagher. In season 10 though, he had a story arc where he became a manager for a high-school basketball player in all of its absurdity.

The dreadful and all-things terrible patriarch of the family, Frank, wasn’t as annoying as he usually is. After getting strongly involved with a woman named Faye who was pretending to be in love with him in order to drug him and seek revenge for one of his previous exploits, he finds himself in a gentrified rehab and then later, breaking into and residing in Faye’s house while she is in Puerto Rico.

The loved recurring characters Veronica and Kevin (Vee and Kev) had an exciting season, raising their twins and continuing to run the Alibi. Two Season 10 highlights for them include a twisted storyline where in order to get their children into a good pre-school, they auction themselves off for a fundraiser and ice-breaker event, and Kevin opens a gym in the back of their bar. There is a build-up throughout the season with Kevin hiding money and Veronica finding out, it ends up being for an engagement ring and Veronica accepts his proposal.

What’s coming next?

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Last week, the season 11 trailer was released building up tons of hype for the December 6th premiere on Showtime. The theme of the season is revealed to be gentrification, a topic that isn’t new to the show or the sociopolitical atmosphere of metropolitan cities in America, like Chicago. The first half of the trailer shows Frank complaining about gentrifiers ruining the South Side and how the community needs to band together to keep them out; that should be fun and all as his family is slowly settling down and climbing up the social ladder. He also appears to be working with Vee and Kev to sell weed, which is a bit of an ode to season two where Kevin and Lip ran a side business selling weed, cigarettes, and candy under the guise of a friendly ice cream truck.

Then there’s the Gallavich drama; I predict that Ian’s uncertainty about knowing how to have a healthy relationship arises as the trailer plays a voiceover of one of them asking, “You didn’t think about that before we got married?” prior to Ian headbutting Mickey to the floor of the Alibi. It then cuts to Ian and Lip hanging out, one of them saying, “We didn’t have parents to show us how relationships are supposed to work.”

Frank appears to be back in the Gallagher house which points to nothing good and the war between the Gallaghers and the Milkoviches continue; I wonder if Terry will finally end up dead. This final season looks to be packed with tons of ridiculous antics and relationship drama.

What are we hoping for?

Special guests. During Shameless’ long presence on television, they have had a wild bunch of characters who have come and gone. Many, including myself, are hoping for cameos of some favourites like Mandy Milkovich, Sheila Jackson (played by Joan Cusack) and her daughter, Karen Jackson. Maybe Mickey’s ex-wife and son, Svetlana and Yvengey.

I’m sure we’re all holding out-breath for Emmy Rossum to return for a brief time and reprise her role as Fiona Gallagher, the eldest Gallagher sister who had a very nurturing relationship with her siblings before her departure in season 9. I wouldn’t say no to her season one love interest Jimmy-Jack-Steve to popping up at some point.

As Frank said in the season 11 trailer, “Before it [the South Side charm] is gone, we’re going to enjoy every minute of it,” and that goes for this final season. Although it’s hardly the Shameless way, I know that many fans have their fingers crossed in anticipation for some happy endings.

Small Screen will be launching a new series, recapping and providing commentary for every episode of the final season of Shameless. Check back in every Monday for updates.

Shameless season 11 premieres on Showtime on December 6, 2020.

What were your thoughts on season 10? Did we cover all of your favourite parts?  How do you feel about season 11? What are your predictions? What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages!

What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!



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