Home > More4, review, Shameless US > Review – Shameless U.S. Series 1 Episode 5 Three Boys

Review – Shameless U.S. Series 1 Episode 5 Three Boys

Episode 5 of Shameless U.S., Three Boys, focuses upon the fake marriage of Gallagher neighbours Kev and Veronica.

Contrary to my previous speculation, the story line was used in the U.S. show, and Veronica’s Tourettes suffering brother, who manages to escape from prison on day release, comes back to try to set fire to the wedding dress and venue.

The decision to place the wedding in the local bar where Kev works was a suitable one.  The wedding sequence was the closest in resemblance, tone, and atmosphere to the U.K. Shameless so far.  The premise of Shameless has always been about working class people struggling to stay on the right side of the poverty line, and the wedding in the bar acted as a clear reminder for the audience that this family bumbles along each day just trying to stay afloat (despite the fact that their house looks ten times the size of the council house from the Chatsworth estate!).  Equally, Shameless has always been about families sticking together and functioning as a close knit unit whilst remaining completely diverse and individual as characters.  The wedding scene was warm and humorous and there was a real sense of companionship amongst the people on screen.

I still don’t think Shameless U.S. has quite done enough to capture a UK audience, however.  Whilst viewers may enjoy the show while it’s on, it is left wanting of that extra bite that will keep audiences coming back for more each week.  Again, to compare positives with the U.K. series, Shameless U.S. has likeable characters at the heart of the show, which, combined with brilliant acting talent and exceptionally accomplished writing, has been fundamental to its success.  When a viewer experiences a genuine connection with a character they are likely to want to return a week later to draw on that emotional enjoyment again.  These types of connections are possible with the Shameless U.S. cast but it is still likely that most British viewers will compare them with the original characters they know and love.  However, because there is undoubtedly an emotional strength to the characters, which would be very easy for a viewer to get swept up into, it is likely that a U.S. audience, or an audience who does not already regard the U.K. Shameless as the definitive version, may have an easier time finding a reason to return.

Character highlights, as mentioned last week, include the superb Joan Cusack, as the agoraphobic Sheila, who gets another chance to shine in this episode as she attempts for a second time to leave the house, only to fail at it (whilst wearing a floral number that matches Frank’s waistcoat, wonderfully grotesque costuming there).  Also Jeremy Allen White, eldest Gallagher son Lip, manages to play the role both subtly and convincingly.  I’m sure I’m not the first (and won’t be the last) to note his resemblance to Transformers actor Shia LaBeouf in both appearance and acting style.  If the U.S. storyline continues to follow that of the U.K. future performances from White should be ones to look out for here.

Are you a U.S. viewer and this is your first encounter with Shameless? Are you gripped yet? How about British viewers, is this a great adaptation or does the American spin just fail to do it justice? 

Categories: More4, review, Shameless US
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