Archive for the ‘Shameless US’ Category

Photos – Shameless USA Season 1 Episode 8 It’s Time to Kill the Turtle

August 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Here are some photos from the next episode of Shameless USA. It airs Thursday the 11th of August at 10pm on More4…

Carl and Debbie are pleased when Frank gives up drinking, even though Lip warns them that it won’t last. Fiona is so busy scrambling to earn money that she barely notices Steve’s suspicious behaviour. Kev and Veronica take in a foster child and are surprised to learn that she’s a married member of a polygamist religious-sect. Karen questions the seriousness of her relationship with Lip when he meets with a college professor. Meanwhile, Ian continues to pursue Mickey, and Sheila worries that Frank is no longer attracted to her.

Categories: More4, photos, Shameless US

Photos – Shameless USA Season 1 Episode 7 Frank Gallagher: Loving Husband, Devoted Father

Here are some photos from the next episode of Shameless USA. It airs Thursday the 4th of August at 10pm on More4…

It’s time for Frank to pay the piper — specifically, the two goons who are demanding their six thousand dollars, or else. This sends Frank into a panic, requiring every brain cell to try to think of a way to get the money fast. He finally stumbles onto a risky solution that might work, provided his family helps him out.

Categories: more, photos, Shameless US

Photos – Shameless USA Season 1 Episode 6 Killer Carl

Here are some photos from the next episode of Shameless USA. The episode airs Thursday the 28th of July at 10pm on More4….

When a letter from Carl’s teacher arrives at the Gallagher home, Fiona is thrown into action to prove it’s a suitable domicile for rehabilitating a delinquent. Lip has been contributing to the family bank account with proceeds from test-taking for his fellow students. His reputation for excelling at the SAT is getting around, and word spreads to some people he would rather have kept unaware.

Categories: More4, photos, Shameless US

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

Photos – Shameless USA Season 1 Episode 5 Three Boys

Here are some photos from the next episode of Shameless USA. It airs Thursday the 21st of July at 10pm on More4….

Knowing that Kevin is already married, Fiona tries to talk Veronica out of marrying him. But after Veronica’s mother dangles a cash gift for her wedding day as an incentive, Fiona and the Gallaghers help pull off the fake wedding of the year.

Categories: More4, photos, Shameless US

Review – Shameless U.S. Series 1 Episode 4 Casey Casden

Episode 4 of Shameless U.S. Casey Casden is the most accomplished episode to date.

Youngest Gallagher daughter, Debbie, decides to steal a baby boy from a party, take him home, and dress him up as a girl.  Meanwhile, the whole town is on red alert looking for the missing child.  This makes it hugely difficult for Fiona and Steve to return the baby, when they find out he’s in their house, through fear that social services will get involved to investigate Debbie’s calculated abduction of a child using a pushchair and a Snickers bar.

This episode is another example of brilliant writing that has a universal appeal both sides of the Atlantic.  Whilst the U.K. Shameless epitomizes that raw gritty side of contemporary British culture, this episode stands up as proof that its basic concept is good enough to transcend across cultures without loosing the humour and sense of family unity that has always been at the heart of the programme.

Of course, the semblance of the show is completely different, the tiny council houses of Chatsworth are replaced by the rather more spacious town houses of Chicago, the working men’s club is replaced by a standard American bar, and Fiona’s tracky bottoms and hooped ear-rings are replaced by dark jeans and long sleeved t-shirts.  Whilst the features of the U.K. programme are perhaps considered by some to be a crucial and inherent part of Shameless, if you were to take a British working men’s club to the corner of a street in Chicago American audiences would be sure to be put off by the lack of realism.  Therefore, the visual elements familiar to British audiences are lost in the transition from U.K. to U.S. but it is because the environment needs to be familiar to an American audience and aesthetically reflect its very different working class culture so that U.S. audiences can to relate to it.

For any British viewer open minded enough to accept that the overall texture of Shameless U.S. will be different by default, then I’d recommend this episode to anyone wanting some humorous light hearted viewing as it works on its own merits.

But if my recommendation is not enough to persuade you perhaps the appeal of the illustrious Joan Cusack will.  Cusack is a gem to watch and is brilliantly cast as Sheila, the agoraphobic, OCD, homemaker, and dominatrix.  In this episode Sheila has taken three times as many pills than she should, and you get to see her even more loopy than usual.  Cusack’s performance provides a really rich dynamic in the series that would be hard to substitute very effectively.

We also get to see the start of the story that I said I felt deserved some air-time in my last review: the marriage of Kev and Veronica.  The revelation that Kev is already married is used cleverly as a cliff-hanger at the end of this episode.  It seems Shameless U.S. is happy to pad out and expand upon story-lines from  U.K. Shameless and so far has done this very well.

As a British viewer the first few episodes would have failed to grab my attention to return to the show, however, I genuinely enjoyed this episode and as a result would approach the show with higher expectations of what amusing predicament the Gallaghers will be getting themselves into next.

Categories: More 4, review, Shameless US

Review – Shameless U.S. Series 1 Episode 3 Aunt Ginger

Episode three of Shameless U.S. Aunt Ginger, makes its most bold leap away from the British original yet.

Frank comes under scrutiny when a government official suspects him of cashing in social security cheques that don’t belong to him but to his 93 year old (dead) Aunt.   An amusing sequence of events follow as Frank, and inevitably the whole family, attempt to find an old lady to impersonate her.

Possibly due to the fact that the show’s original creator, Paul Abbott, is on-board as executive producer, this entire plot was in keeping with the type of scenario that is typical of the U.K. Shameless, whilst being completely fresh and new.

As mentioned in my initial review of episode one, the appeal for a British audience of watching an American remake of a much loved and successful show can’t really steam much further beyond satisfying a simple curiosity.  However, whether this was a deliberate aim towards attracting British viewers or not (I doubt it was), ingesting this series with sharp new angles will undoubtedly offer a broader appeal for audiences.  Watching a like-for-like show, just with different faces, only serves to make the production vulnerable to negative comparisons to the U.K. version.  It is easier for viewers to become frustrated with what the show isn’t rather than noticing what the show is.  This brave shift away from the regimented reproduction of the original gives Shamelss U.S. a more solid texture and identity.

Having said that, I do believe that the original storylines are still worth re-telling to an American audience.  In the U.K. episode neighbours Kev and Veronica plan a fake marriage in order to get discount for a right to buy scheme.  Veronica’s brother, who has Tourettes, turns up on the big day and threatens to set fire to the wedding dress and ceremony.  It’s brilliantly written and sad that it has not (yet) seen air-time in the U.S.

Possibly there were concerns over how politically correct this episode would be with a person with Tourettes at the butt of a joke?  But more likely this change in narrative is a symptom of the incessant need for American writers to stick to the same-old commonly used formula for U.S. dramas.  To focus on a less conventional couple, third episode in, whose average good-looks it is presumed are unlikely to be the main draw for the audience, is perhaps a bit too much to ask?  After all this is a show that cast an actress with the most bizarre looking, plastic surgery hacked, face as Aunt Ginger; I can only presume that so many people undergo this surgery in the U.S. that the producers didn’t even notice its obvious potential for distraction. The shallow superficial values of an audience’s apparent need to focus on a beautiful couple at the heart of a programme appear to have prevailed, as we watch Fiona and Steve experience their first break-up, already, yawn!

As yet, it would seem that the lines are blurred between whether Shameless U.S. is exerting narrative creativity because it has some great ideas to unleash or whether this deviation simply stems from a need to conform to a generic narrative focus within U.S. drama as a whole.

Categories: More4, review, Shameless US