Shameless boss previews life for the Gallaghers after Fiona: 'It shook everything up'
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Shameless is turning 10 — but don’t expect the Gallaghers to grow up.
The hit Showtime series returns on Sunday for season 10, marking the beginning of the post-Emmy Rossum era. But even though Fiona headed out for parts unknown in the season 9 finale, the departure of one Gallagher coincides with the return of another. After popping up to help send off Rossum, Cameron Monaghan is now back full-time. Talking to EW from Chicago, where he has just completed filming on the season, showrunner John Wells says the loss of the family’s matriarch was an “exciting” challenge.
“It wasn’t an usual situation — it’s just a sad one,” admits Wells. “What happens when the person who has been the rock of the family and keeps everyone safe is no longer needed? The challenge for the writing staff was, how are we going to reset the family? It’s an exciting thing to write about. It’s all a little bit of a missed bag, because you miss the person and I loved writing for the character, but at the same time it shook everything up. It reflects what happens in real life, which is people move away, they get jobs, they get married. One of the sad and wonderful things about our lives is that we lose people and then we go on and figure out other things. Less and less will she be important to the family, because she’s not there; they have to figure out another way to get by.”
How will the Gallaghers behave without their leader? Wells gave EW a preview of what is to come in season 10 for each character.
Ian and Mickey
Viewers last saw Ian and Mickey shockingly reunited as prison cellmates, but the honeymoon is over when their story picks back up.
“We were really excited to explore that relationship,” says Wells. “With one of them soon getting out of prison and the other still in prison, how does that work? And then how do they try and craft a relationship when there aren’t as many obstacles? Be careful what you wish for, because then you have to actually figure out how to combine two lives of people who have very different ideas of who they should be and what the relationship should be. We’re really enjoying writing about that. From episode 4 on, it’s a huge part of what’s going on. We love people and then we decide to live with them and we have to figure out how that is all going to work. It’s no different for Ian and Mickey.”
The oldest Gallagher sibling still around will have his own family to worry about considering he is expecting a baby with his girlfriend Tami.
“He and Tami have the baby, and then they have to figure out if they are really only together because they’ve had a child together or are they together because they genuinely care about each other,” shares Wells. “Sometimes children can act as the shotgun in the shotgun relationship. Do they really belong together? And that’s what they’re really playing with throughout the season. Both being in love with this child that they had together, can they make this work?”
Meet the new Fiona — at least in her mind. Fiona left behind $50,000 for her family, but she put Debbie in charge of the money, which won’t sit well with everyone.
“Nobody elected her.” says Wells with a laugh. “Sometimes we elect ourselves. There’s a lot of resentment around her, and Fiona didn’t help it by leaving this money in Debbie’s care. She’s definitely happy with the power, but what’s the old Shakespearean cliché, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” Everybody else isn’t too happy about her thinking she’s actually in charge now.”
Despite his dedication and allegiance, Carl’s dream of serving his country looks unlikely to come true.
“He’s out of military school and back in the house and trying to figure out who he is actually going to be,” shares Wells. “He becomes a good citizen and tries to help some people in the neighborhood make some changes. He decides maybe the best thing for him is civil service and tries out being a garbage man. And Kelly is still around. But he has not yet found his way. Part of that is he’s not too bright, but part of it is that he can’t quite find what his talents should or might be.”
As he comes of age, Liam is struggling with not only where he fits in with the Gallaghers, but as a young black man in America.
“Liam is trying to figure out how he belongs in the family,” says Wells. “It’s difficult to be the youngest, no matter what your race, but it’s also difficult to be the youngest when all of your siblings are basically now adults. So he’s a little bit of an afterthought. Everybody loves him but they’re all getting along with their own lives, and, unfortunately, he’s left depending on Frank to be his parental influence, which is always highly questionable.”
Recovered from his injuries, Frank is back to his scheming ways, and he’s finally got a partner-in-crime in Mikey.
“He’s got his wingman back,” declares Wells. “Frank has a best friend, which he really hasn’t had, because he’s such a narcissist. He takes advantage of people so much that best friends don’t stick around for long. But he’s actually got somebody that he’s simpatico with. We’re following them as they find a way to scam their way through not working — and trying to survive. We were really lucky to have Luis [Guzman] back. He’s fantastic, and the two of them together are a great comedic couple.”
Kev and V
Speaking of great comedic couples, Kev and V are still going strong. Well, Kev maybe not as much.
“Kev is having a bit of a midlife crisis,” reveals Wells. “He’s looking around like, ‘Is this all that there is? What are we going to do?” And V is like, ‘Ya know, it’s not so bad what we’ve got and who I am, so be careful.’ We’re playing around a lot with that sense of masculinity when you realize that you’re into the next chapter of your life. He’s going through his crisis and V isn’t very interested in watching him do it.”
But Shameless is having no such midlife crisis, with fans still very interested in watching, so much so that Wells sees no end in sight for his long-running series. “I’ll make this show forever as long as the cast members want to keep doing it,” he declares. “The economics of the country kind of refuse to stop giving us material to make fun of. From that point of view, I’ll do the show as long as Bill [Macy] and enough of the other cast members want to continue. So far, the cast has remained really excited to continue to do what we’re doing. But you never know, at some point either the network or the cast is going to tell me that they’ve had enough and at that moment we will bid the Gallaghers goodbye. I never thought we were going to get it on the air in the first place so every bit of it has been a blessing.”
Shameless returns to Showtime on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.