In the depths of my laptop is a document titled ‘Television Shows’. Within that document, there are thirty television shows listed. Some of these include ‘Humans’, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, ‘Devious Maids’, ‘Empire’, ‘Designated Survivor’ and ‘You’re the Worst’. The following sentence may disturb you but please continue to read. I am currently watching all thirty of the listed shows. I know that sounds highly disordered, anti-social and potentially life-threatening but please understand that by watching so many shows, I am distinctively qualified to review them for you.
I am unable to recall the total number of shows that I have watched throughout my nineteen years of life but my favourite is Shameless US. Shameless US debuted in 2011 and is a hybrid of comedy and drama. Admittedly, it is a remake of an original British series but it has been able to surpass its predecessor in all ways possible.
Set in the poor area of Chicago, the series presents an American working-class family; the Gallaghers. They are the epitome of dysfunction and are made up of a father and his six children. The father never fails to disappoint his children and the children never fail to get themselves into the most dire of situations.
This show is my favourite because of resonance. I resonate with the characters, I resonate with the narrative and I resonate with its energy. Its image of poverty is strikingly accurate and the experiences of the characters are also experiences of my own.
Fiona Gallagher, the oldest child of the bunch, is burdened with the responsibility of being Mother hen. Both parents are unable to fulfil their duties and thus she has had to step forward and raise her siblings. To do so, she sacrifices more than most would. As someone who also had to play a pivotal role in raising their siblings, I understand the frustration of having your life consumed by an unwelcome responsibility. However, the true frustration comes in knowing that there is very little you can do about it. Family is family and the love associated with them is unconditional. You would therefore do anything for them, even if that means sacrificing your own future. Everyone has their limits though and that is something the show, spoiler alert, has started to explore.
In addition to Fiona’s unconventional motherhood, I also identify with the show’s depiction of homosexuality, family dysfunction, mental illness and difficulty in forging a path different to the rest of your family.
I guarantee that if you watch this television show, you will also find something of resonance. Although it is set within the United States, the characters and narrative are universal. That is why, no matter how long my list gets, Shameless US will always be number one.