In January, the eighth season of Shameless came to a close, and one has to ask: What is next? I am as big of a fan of the show that one can possibly be. To me, it is one of the best shows on television, only beat by Game of Thrones. A good friend of mine who is also a huge fan once described the show as a “complete trainwreck,” noting that every season tries to continue the catastrophe yet further the plot at the same time. As far as I’m concerned, the show could continue as long as it remains entertaining, which could be another eight years for all I care, but one must ask what is next for the dysfunctional Gallagher clan. I don’t claim to be an expert, but the following are my predictions and/or hopes for the show in the following season, or seasons, to come.
Season 8 saw a different Frank of sorts in that he was sober—at least mostly. Frank (William H. Macy) dabbled, if not excelled, in the work world only to be drawn to the more illegal aspects of money-making careers that were sneaking people into Canada and bringing home cheap medications for his Alibi friends. Now, not that this didn’t prove to be humorous, but something was off involving this character. Frank was plenty funny this past season, but what was missing was the distinct drunken and drugged-out stupor that makes Frank, well, Frank! Also, by no means am I excusing child neglect that comes with his vices, but Frank is not truly Frank without his mentality of “I’m your father, so respect me even though I could not care less about your existence”—I don’t think Frank has evolved enough to simply have changed that quickly. I hate to say it, but Frank may have to up his booze and/or drug game come season nine to make up for his lacking portrayal this past season to remain that man we all love to hate . . . or is it hate to love?
Alas, Fiona, though you prove never to be boring, you are not always the most entertaining, either. I want to remind the fans that Fiona (Emmy Rossum) has, let’s say, a “way about her” when it comes to men she chooses to date. I bring this up because she made an interesting choice this past season, and I found it a bit disappointing. After making her work for it, the show saw Fiona successfully conquer and bed the Irishman, Ford (Richard Flood), but things seemed amiss for her character too. Fiona historically has gone after men who are bad news, and Ford seemingly rebuffed her for fear of ending up in a sticky situation, but once the relationship was consummated, nothing Gallagherish took place, and that is rather disappointing. Things could still go south for the couple, but Fiona would not be who she is without her dating history, which includes a a married car thief, the heir to a cup company whom she cheated on with his lower-achieving brother, a rock bassist, and of course the junkie restaurant manager. See a pattern? I stand by my initial hope, which was that Fiona would venture into a relationship with her lesbian friend/renter. If nothing else, it wouldn’t have been boring.
Though Lip (Jeremy Allen White) supposedly hates drama, he attracts it. He seems to have wised up by the end of season 8, though, in that he wanted to separate himself from a dramatic situation, if for no other reason but to find himself. Though a genius, Lip typically thinks with a part of his anatomy other than his brain. He might just be the most entertaining Gallagher to follow, so I find it hard to not want him to continue down his typical route—but should he clean up, I hope it proves to entertaining regardless.
Ian (Cameron Monaghan) has had a journey. Recently, he’s found himself in a relationship with Trevor, a transgender man, as well as becoming something of a leader of an almost a cult-like organization, known as the “gay Jesus.” Naturally, despite recent events, there’s no way the show would allow Ian to be imprisoned for very long. With everything that happened this season, one could predict another mental break for Ian with his bipolar disorder, something the show hinted at when Fiona questioned him on the matter. Perhaps he could stay in jail and somehow reunite with Mickey (Noel Fisher) and their story could continue.
Debs (Emma Kenney) has gone down a path that I haven’t liked for some time. Call it rebelliousness or what have you, but Debs’s decision to be a teenage mother despite everything and her irrational anger at Fiona bothered me. She seemingly has gotten her life together, but the Gallagher way is to only have peace momentarily. I can’t say what I wish would happen for Debs, but if I were to predict something, it would be dramatic—another pregnancy, perhaps, but that may be played out. I’d prefer to see her kicked out and having to fend for herself.
Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) has probably changed the most in this series. He started as this almost Jeffrey Dahmer–ish delinquent who enjoyed bullying others, only to change into a drug dealer and then into almost an outstanding citizen in military school. I have no idea where his next move will see him. However, I for one enjoy the more destructive, misbehaving Carl. I’d like to see him flunk out of military school and do something drastically bad—possibly something unforgiveable.
Liam (Brenden and Brandon Sims) is the most undeveloped Gallagher but is limited by his age. If I’m honest, he always came off as more of a prop: something Frank could use to manipulate for a cause, or someone used to further a plot with Fiona (like him ODing on cocaine under her watch). It’d be nice to see him carve out some kind of identity and become an actual character and less of a tool toward the plots of others. Perhaps he could be the new Carl.
All in all, Shameless is an amazing show and is welcome to stay on television as long as it remains entertaining. And no, I did not include the triangle between Kevin (Steve Howey), Veronica (Shanola Hampton), and Svetlana (Isidora Goreshter), but some things just write themselves and don’t really need help. That will prove to be entertaining on its own. The things I suggest are just that—suggestions. But hey, you never know what idea will sound good.