By Jordan Kizmann
Season four of Shameless takes on a completely different tone than the previous seasons by making the watchers feel elevated sympathy for the family.
While yes, tragic and messed up things happen through out seasons one through three, the events contain comic relief that makes these tragiedies seem not so bad. Seasons one through three also reinforces the bond between the children of the Gallagher family and season four seems to lack this aspect.
The oldest daughter, Fiona, continued to struggle to take care of her brothers and sisters who she took guardianship of. She seems to lose her cool after her boyfriend Jimmy leaves at the end of season three. She loses her job after cheating on her boyfriend, who is also her boss with her boyfriend’s brother. She then throws a party at the house where her two year old brother comes into contact with an abundance of cocaine and is instantly rushed to the hospital.
Fiona gets released on house arrest with a felony charge for endangering her younger brothers life. Fiona’s time at home proves to another one of her younger brothers Lip, that she is not able to take care of the youngest at that time. Meanwhile the childrens drunkard father is dying from liver failure. The Gallagher’s seem less than interested in their father’s health since he is a dead beat parent.
Father of the family, Frank Gallagher spent season 4 suffering from liver failure. His son Carol appears to be the only Gallagher who cares about Franks condition. Frank seeks to find his oldest daughter Samantha who no one knows about in hopes of getting her liver. Samantha has never met her father and therefore thinks Frank is a stranger.
$24,000 is collected by Shelia, a friend, for an illegal liver transplant surgery. When Frank is admitted into the hospital after his surgery, the doctor reveals that he did not have a liver transplant, but that one of his Kidney’s was removed. Even though Frank was expected to die throughout all of season four, he miracurously survived and celebrated his survival with a bottle of whiskey.
Oldest brother Lip struggles to balance his family and college life. After Fiona’s felony charge he feels obligated to take care of younger brother Liam. He holds down the household while Fiona did her jail time and sought to get her life back together while under house arrest.
Gallagher brother Ian drops out of high school and goes away to the military. He gets kicked out for stealing a helicopter and does not return home. As the season continued, Ian seems to have an overly elevated mood. His lover Mickey, finds him stripping at a gay bar and brings him home. Ian questions Mickey’s manhood when Mickey refuses to become public about being gay. Mickey fears that his abusive father will be set over the edge with this news. He also has a wife at home that his father forced him to marry. When mickey finally tells everyone he is gay, Ian and him don’t have to continue to keep their relationship a secret. At the end of the season Ian is bed ridden and expected to have developed bipolar disorder that his mother also had.
Youngest daughter Debbie starts developing into her teenage years. She creates a count down chart to when she hopes to lose her virginity and begins dating a 21 year old. While Debbie begins experimenting in permiscuous behavior, she continued to contain her purity and keep true to herself.
The season finale leaves watchers with an unexpected surprise. Steve, Fiona’s boyfriend in season three was thought to have been killed. However, he pulls up in a car to the Gallagher household with another woman who asks if he wants to go inside. He replies by saying “not today”. Season four of shameless seemed to have taken a turn for the worse for the Gallagher family. The season had watchers feeling particularly sympathetic to the family. It does however end on a positive note with neighbours Veronica and Kevin having their first children, Frank surviving his illness, and Steve returning to the Gallagher household. While this season differs greatly from the past three seasons by eliminting some comic relief, the quality of the show was not belittle