Saturday, March 30, 2013

TV Watch: Is there anything "Shameless"'s Frank Gallagher won't do if he's paid? (Not that we know of)


"Apparently, I've caused a ruckus because I said that gay folks deserve certain . . . civil rights. Rights that the breeders don't want to bestow upon me. [Chortles]" Watch this great clip from last week's episode of Shameless -- Frank Gallagher as impassioned gay-rights crusader -- here. (I had it successfully embedded but discovered that then I couldn't have any line breaks in the post. Sigh. I thnk someone should be shot, but then, nobody asked my opinion.)

by Ken

What? Is Frank Gallagher gay? This drunken galoot with six children (that we know about), who'll nail any woman who makes the mistake of getting within his nailing range -- gay? Well, as I recall Frank himself answering the question as put to him by somebody from his circle, he can be whatever he has to be. And in this case defending same-sex partners' benefits for city employees has served his latest pure-Frank freeloading scheme, to leech off the poor soul -- who isn't gay -- who has taken him in thinking Frank can help him as his AA sponsor.

Naturally, once Frank discovers just how effective his gift of gab can make him as a gay-rights fund-raiser, his sights are set higher than some lousy health benefits. He's a rain-maker now, and expects to be compensated accordingly. Which works swimmingly until he gets a better offer -- a new sugar daddy who wants to see him "cured" of his gayness, and not only is prepared to up the previous benefactor's ante but has a whole new fringe benefit to offer: the women who'll be brought to him as part of his "cure"! Okay, so things don't work out exactly the way Frank was fantasizing. He still knows how be whatever he has to be to make it pay.

It was, I thought, the best use the writers have found for Frank's customary verbal diarrhea (a character trait that William H. Macy is obviously supremely well equipped to enact). The key thing is that they didn't try to make him any more likable or justifiable. If anything, his shamelessly flaunted shamelessness adds a new level of monstrousness. But it was a brilliant way to add some dimension to the character, or at any rate to make an existing dimension more immediate. It occurs to me that when I go back to rewatch the earlier seasons' worth of episodes, I may be more intrigued and less instantly annoyed by the earlier uses of Frank's gift of gab.

All in all, I'd have to say that the Shameless team has had an outstanding season keeping the struggles and dreams of the Gallaghers and their friends going. I've never had any trouble caring about the struggle involved with all the other characters. But Frank himself has always been a problem for me. Suddenly I'm finding myself actually enjoying his, um, appallingness.

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At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank is easily the most despicable television character in many moons, and yet it impossible not to watch. And you are correct, the writing is absolute genius!


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