Well, in forty years, we have gone from "Little house on the prairie" to "Eight is enough" to "Simpsons" to this actual "Shameless". In that time, if communism and terrorism have been defeated, if computers and cellphones are everywhere, nobody can deny now that poverty is going up in a frightening rate in our so called rich nations and our grand politicians just don't care about it.
In a certain way, this show has close ties with « Married with children ». It's about a disfavored, dysfunctional family but here, the choice isn't made for comedy but for a gritty realism. But i'm not sure that their poverty is the real explanation of their problems as they are like a modern Job, facing nearly all the « plagues » that can exist on contemporary America : alcoholism, thief, cheating on exams and providence state, runaway parents, smoking and drugs, unconventional sexual life, agoraphobia, fundamentalism and so on. At the end, it's a bit too much, all the more than those traits are dispatched among an very extended cast. In other words, there are up to 10 characters to follow and thus, the personal story of each one is a bit slow.
In addition, the way they resolve their problems is not exactly very realistic as the stories tend to be a bit absurd: delivering the father in Canada, kidnap a grandmother, fake a death,
On the other hand, it's a real breath of air to discover such a family and leave the too much educated, too much wealthy, too much conformist families of other sitcoms (the doctors, the lawyers, the detective, the college students, the journalists, politicians and so on, well all the golden job that we, the common people, have don't access ).
Next, all the cast has been wonderfully chosen, especially the young ones who show great talent for their age. I think that Fiona's part would have been great for Jessica Alba. But as the miss prefers dedicate her career to silly and useless movies, she gives the opportunity to Emmy to display that she's in fact the one that should get attention ! Another good mention goes to Joan Cusack as she is truly remarkable as a disabled mother and wife. It's amazing how she has the same mannerism and eerie attitude of her little brother, John. Another good point of the show is that it has a lot of exterior scenes and cruising downtown Chicago in winter was interesting.
To respect my habit, i pick this show as the best in the season. I found it more interesting than the first ones because the absurd stories tend to disappear to be more accurate. I hope this drama will go on the next season that has summer for period.