Posted April 02 2012 - 08:23 AM
Ok, longer thoughts.
Here's the thing.. there are lots of great TV shows that show dysfunctional families. But the one thing that is hard to get across is that just because a family is dysfunctional, or poor, or in a bad situation doesn't dehumanize them or make them caring people.
This is something that hasn't really hit TV in a very long time - it was the key to a show like Roseanne's success; that a family could have real, significant problems.. but that you knew that in the center of the characters was real compassion for each other and that they did care about what happened. I think that's part of what makes a show like Shameless special.
Yes, there are a lot of despicable characters on the show who do bad things; but there is also a real bond of a family who was stuck with a bad lot in life; none of the kids or Fiona could chose their parents.. but they try to make the best out of the situation they have. Fiona's reaction to the victory of getting a GED, to her turning aside comfort to comfort her brothers & sisters after such a horrific event was great stuff; Fiona may not be an angel, but she knows that she's the only family these kids have. And because of that, she walks the walk and acts as far more then just a sister, she's everything to them. I thought everything about those center scenes worked.. from Fiona cleaning up Monica's blood in the kitchen so it wouldn't further terrorize her family to her comforting them in her room. I loved it.
In regards to Karen, yes, she plays it as a psychopath.. but the thing about Karen is that she isn't a psychopath.. and this sounds ridiculous, she's a character who plays as someone who wants to live without the remorse and guilt and so she is trying to BE a psychopath.. her repeated asks of "him or me" as well as standing on the sidewalk, confronted with Lip and saying "yeah" when he pointed out she'd have regrets.. of course she'll have regrets.. but she'll have them either way.. this is just the easier way to deal with it.
Great stuff, really.
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