TV You Should Be Watching: Shameless

I almost missed the boat on Shameless. In fact, I didn't know anything about it until Showtime started promoting the show surrounding new episodes of its shining star, Dexter. It looked funny enough, the entire first season was available OnDemand, and with Dexter and Homeland reaching their season finales, I was prepared to embark on a new show.

And I'm so glad I did.

Sundays at 9PM on Showtime

Here are three reasons why I love this show and why you should be watching too.

The Gallaghers
Maybe it's because I'm an only child, but I can't get enough of this family dynamic. Thanks to their absent mother and perma-drunk father Frank, eldest daughter Fiona is left with no choice but to take on the responsibility of caring for her five siblings, each with very distinct personalities and quirks. There's the extremely intelligent but misguided Lip; Ian, who may have a few secrets; Debbie, who is 12-going-on-40; young troublemaker Carl; and 2-year-old Liam, who may or may not really be Frank's. No matter what kind of trouble they find themselves in, they always have each others' backs- and I find that fascinating.

It's brilliantly acted
William H. Macy, who somehow keeps the truly despicable Frank from becoming completely unlikeable, Emmy Rossum as Fiona, and Joan Cusack as an agoraphobic housewife lead a talented group of actors. With something like 11 regulars, it would be easy for someone to get lost amongst this widespread ensemble cast, but somehow it all works out. As far as I'm concerned, Emma Kenney's Debbie steals every scene she is in. These cast members are committed to their characters and make for a believable family, which is the only reason why we can put up with their antics.

It's shamelessly outrageous
I love a good play on words, but this show has some truly off-the-wall moments. I don't know how many times I've shaken my head at their shenanigans. "Borrowing" a woman with dementia to act as their great-aunt who owns their house (who actually overdosed on cocaine and is buried in their yard)? Dealing weed and booze to kids out of an old ice cream truck? Proposing to a dying woman in hopes of receiving her pension, going as far as blocking a heart transplant? Some may feel that these stunts are cheap laughs, but within the narrative, as ridiculous as it is, it's still believable. So their moral compass is a little off- they're just doing what it takes to survive in their world.

Sold? You should be. Catch up and tune in, Sundays at 9PM on Showtime. What else would you be doing during Dexter's vacated time slot anyway?