'Shameless' Season 9 has started on a startlingly positive note and that could be why fewer people are tuning in
Fiona's on her way out, Lip's found common sense, Karl's found a heart...what's up with Shameless Season 9?
The first rule about watching the Showtime dramedy 'Shameless' is accepting that there's no rising from the deepest trenches of spiraling chaos. The second rule? Learning to live with it, just as the Gallaghers have for all these years. With the family back to entertain us for the ninth season, it's hard to fathom how the ninth - and possibly most pivotal - season so far, has seen ratings drop by 30 per when compared to the Season 8 premiere episode.
Ardent fans and followers of the show believe that the fact that one of the show's biggest protagonists is quitting after this season could be playing a major part.
The Gallagher alpha wolf Fiona Gallagher will almost certainly be leaving at the end after season 9. Why? Because the face that brings Fiona to such vivid life, Emmy Rossum, has announced her departure from the show. And somehow - no matter how deeply the fans have tried to look beyond that and have faith in the show being able to carry on without Emmy's presence - there seems to be no overlooking the fact that this is our chance to absorb and grasp the concept of Fiona Gallagher, in all her driven, hot-mess glory.
And while Emmy believes that there's a lot of Gallagher story to be told - as she shared in the Facebook post that also announced her departure - perhaps fans don't wholeheartedly believe that the show can go on without its lead character. The moment the news came out tweets and other social media posts poured in about fans refusing to watch the show if Emmy wasn't going to be a part of it anymore. And personally - if you ask me - the low ratings could be an outcome of fans trying to detach themselves from the strong-willed, yet vulnerable and brash Fiona that we had grown to adore over the last eight seasons.
But then again - if you know Emmy's time on the show is limited - wouldn't you be more keen to absorb whatever she has to deliver this one last time? And that brings us to the next segment of this theory, which firmly believes that the show always takes its time to pick up the pace. Take a look at what's happened in this season so far. Two episodes in, with roughly a hundred and something minutes deeper into the show's ninth installment, and every single character is busy doing basically what they were doing back in the middle of the eighth season. It's almost as if Shameless picked up some speed in the finale of season 8 and now it's back in first gear.
There's a graph the show follows. A massive high in the finale, followed by starting from scratch in the next season. And knowing how passionate the Shameless fandom is, this observation couldn't have been lost on the majority.
Let's deconstruct the Gallaghers individually. Starting with Fiona would be a good thing because of how steady her arc has been. There's no rise or fall, it's just a parallel line. She's still struggling to establish a firm footing in real estate, her love life is still random chaos with a cloud of confusion hanging over it. And, oh, she still seems to be the only Gallagher who's actually bothered about Ian playing Gay Jesus in prison.
Next there's Lip (Jeremy Allen White). His plotline is basically a zig-zag of events and somehow, eight seasons later, he is back right where he started. He's highly intelligent but still opts for life-decisions don't EVER work. He is illegally fostering the niece of a girl he used to sleep with while working as a motorcycle mechanic. True, we are expected to see him put his sponsor boots on and get involved with a character played by Courtney Cox later in the season but here's what's happening now. Lip - as much as we appreciate his sobriety - is just not cutting it. And don't even get me started on his love life. Sierra (Ruby Modine) was so into this idiot but he decided to let her go, just the way he let Mandy (Emma Greenwell) go a couple of years ago, so there's that.
Meanwhile, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is getting busy off his bipolar medication. He's being every bit the Ian we saw three years ago in Season 5 when he decided to run off with his absentee mother, just because she had the same disorder as him. This time his little trip has been to jail, but nothing is toning down the cockiness or his smug demeanor. So basically, if you have no clue about the first installment of Ian's bender from the fifth season, you can watch it this time around and you won't miss a thing.
Why? Because it's Shameless and they do this very, very subtle crafty little thing, where they slide in bits and pieces of throwbacks every new season. Be it Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) having a stint at military school, or Debbie (Emma Kenney) trying to make a statement with some extremely absurd tactics. The point is, nothing has changed or can be expected to in the first few episodes of any season of Shameless. And fans know that.
Shameless (US)— johnny. (@_faervel) September 16, 2018
Here's your Gallagher troop: Fiona the eldest, Lip the brain, Ian is gay, Debbie who just wanna grow up, Carl the psycho, and Liam the youngest.. who is also black.. somehow. It's them vs the world.. or rather, them vs Frank Gallagher, the drunk father. pic.twitter.com/nUthLqMgal
So when Liam decided to go off on a cruise with his 'rich, white friend' while leaving his dad behind to be caught by the police (yes, yet again!), and now he's been thrown out of school because of the "sins of his father". Back to square one. And speaking of fathers, Frank (William H. Macy) is still at that point in the season where he's trying out whatever crooked way he can to earn some cash.
Shameless's season 9 premiere brought in only 1.3 million viewers, as noted by Variety. But that's really only a cause for concern if the series has decided to make some sort of political and social statement. The Gallaghers don't care about society, and for 50 minutes every week, nether do we. Change it at your own peril Showtime.