January 16, 2017 | Miles Brucker

Shameless Facts About Shameless

Funeral Director: Have you had a chance to consider what sort of arrangements you'd like to make for your loved one?

Fiona: Yeah, how do we get her into the ground as soon as possible?

Shameless is the darker-than-dark comedy that has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world – upper, middle, and lower class alike. Here are some of our favourite facts about the show!

Shameless Facts

1. Unsupportive father.

During the show's third season Emmy Rossum had the show's script writers give Justin Chatwin a fake scene in which he told his father he was gay. The crew members revealed it was a prank on camera. He had played a gay son to a homophobic father on Weeds.

Screenshot of Justin Chatwin looking upset - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

2. Good old hockey game.

Originally there was a scene on the season 3 finale where the Brazilians played hockey with Jimmy's head, a clear indication to the audience that the character had been killed. They even made a fake head after Justin Chatwin, but they chose not to show the scene in case they changed their minds about killing the character. Creator John Wells said publicly that the character was dead, but ended up bringing Chatwin back for a few episodes to write him out of the show properly and wrap up his storyline with Fiona.

John Wells at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. - 2012Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons


3. Supportive father.

Shanola Hampton, who plays Veronica, is the daughter of a pastor in South Carolina. According to Hollywood Life, she grew up singing gospel music in church. Shanola says her character’s sexcapades could never cause her to lose the unwavering support of her father, his two churches and her entire family back home – including her 83-year-old grandmother.

Shanola Hampton attends the Screening And Panel Discussion - 2016Jason Kempin, Getty Images

4. It’s a girl!

In the original UK series, Karen never gets pregnant - “Mandy Maguire” (the UK equivalent of Mandy Milkovich) was the one that becomes pregnant with Lip’s child. Mandy and was unable to abort it due to her family’s strong Catholic beliefs. She went into labor in Season 3 and gave birth to her and Lip’s daughter, Katie.

Screenshot of Karen Maguire looking upset - from Shameless (2004-13)Company Pictures, Shameless (2004-13)


5. Wrong airport, guys.

Steve tells Fiona to meet him at O’Hare, but “Midway International Airport” is clearly visible on the wall when he is shown waiting at the airport. Midway Airport is on Chicago’s Southside and O’Hare Airport is on Chicago’s Northwest side.

Welcome to Chicago Midway Airport (sign) - 2008Wesley Fryer, Flickr

6. Pretty sure people have done it here before…

The pool location Fiona and Steve get frisky in is the same as the one used in the movie Cruel Intentions. The indoor swimming pool is the Roman-style pool at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel located at 506 South Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

Screenshot of Jimmy and Fiona pool scene - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

7. Maybe Vionna could serve you in real life?

The “Patsy’s Pies” restaurant that Fiona is shown working at is based on a real bar and grill called “Patsy’s,” which is located at Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

Screenshot of Fiona gets fired from Patsy’s - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

8. Buddies for real.

Prior to portraying husband and wife on Shameless, Steve Howey (Kevin) and Shanola Hampton (Veronica) were in an episode of Reba together called “The Steaks are High.” Aside from playing roles together, Steve and Shanola like to hang out apart from the acting stage.

Shanola Hampton and Steve Howey of the television show 'Shameless' - 2012 Frederick M. Brown ,Getty Images

9. It’s a boy!

Even though it was established that Veronica was almost barren, she actually got pregnant on season 4 because Shanola Hampton got pregnant in real life. “Doc” weighed in at 7 lbs., 6 oz., and measured 20 inches long and is named after his father, Daren Dukes, Hampton’s husband of 16 years.

Isidora Goreshter, Shanola Hampton and Emmy Rossum attend the Screening And Panel Discussion With The Women Of "Shameless" - 2016Jason Kempin, Getty Images


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10. Humble beginnings.

William H. Macy (Frank in the US version) actually started his career in Chicago at a small theater making $100 a week. Today his net worth is $22 million.

William H. Macy arrives for the Showtime Golden Globe Nominees Celebration - 2018Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images


11. Romance on and off the screen.

Mandy and Lip are an off-screen couple. Mandy Milkovich and Lip Gallagher, who play boyfriend and girlfriend on the show, are a real life couple as well. The two of them (Emma Greenwell and Jeremy Allen) started dating in 2011 when Greenwell joined the cast as Jane Levy’s replacement.

Screenshot of Mandy and Lip - from Shameless (2004-13)Company Pictures, Shameless (2004-13)

12. Not sure I’d want them moving in next door…

Producers wanted the Gallaghers to feel familiar. The Gallaghers are a messy, dysfunctional family with economic issues. Instead of setting the story in a trailer park in the south of the country, they chose a regular wooden house in Chicago: “It’s not My Name Is Earl or Roseanne. It’s got a much graver level of poverty attached to it. It’s not blue collar; it’s no collar.” Their goal was for the viewer to feel like the Gallaghers could be their next-door neighbors.

Screenshot of Breakfast with the Gallaghers - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

13. How dare they cut Fiona!

Fiona barely appears in Shameless UK. Emmy Rossum has a ton of lines and screen time in US version of Shameless, but her British counterpart only appears in 19 episodes out of 138. In fact, her character gets sent to prison.

Screenshot of Fiona Gallagher looking sad ta camera - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

14. Well, I think those flesh-eating zombies kept him busy.

Woody Harrelson was going to be in the show. Harrelson signed up with the series creator to star in the show. However, the airing date kept getting pushed back and he dropped out of the project after Zombieland was released.

Woody Harrelson talks to the Austin media before a screening of his new movie - 2016Jay Godwin, Wikimedia Commons

15. Pucker up, buttercup.

Chatwin used to eat smelly food before kissing scenes. It’s pretty obvious by now that both actors love pranking each other. One of the most consistent practical jokes Chatwin carried out on Rossum was that of eating disgustingly smelly foods (like tuna fish sandwiches) before their intimate scenes together.

Actors Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin. 2011 Winter TCA Tour - Day 10.Frederick M. Brown, GettyImages

16. From juvie to the grave.

In the first episode of season 3 ("Aunt Ginger"), Mickey mentions that his mother is picking up a family member from Juvie, but in later episodes, there’s no mention of the Milkovich's mom other than Ian telling Mandy Milkovich she's lucky her mom is dead.

Screenshot of Mickey Milkovich talking with upset face - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)


17. “My daughter's a mean girl. I don't know how it happened.”

Allison Janney played Sheila Jackson on the original pilot, but when the producers decided to expand the role, Janney had to drop out because she was a full-time regular on Mr. Sunshine (2011), so Joan Cusack took over the role.

Screenshot of Sheila Jackson yelling and looking upset - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

18. Killer soundtrack.

The pilot episode made use of music from artists such as Cream, Spoon, Say Hi, 3OH!3 featuring Ke$ha, The Vines, The Moog and LMFAO. The show has also featured music from Let’s Wrestle, The Eels, The Blue Van, Cake, Alien Crime Syndicate, and Freeplay Music. Music from The High Strung, Soho3, Say Hi and The High Planes Drifters can be heard multiple times throughout the show.

The Vines (band) - 2011Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

19. Making the naughty list.

In promotion for the second season premiere the entire cast of shameless sang their own version of a Christmas Carol entitled Shameless: Christmas Carol. Lyrics included “except this one dings grandma’s holiday turkey and suggests the best route home in case you partake in too much holiday cheer.”

Screenshot of Christmas Carol - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

20. Play a rebel, be a rebel.

Emmy Rossum, the stunner who plays Fiona, has said that she loves that she can ditch the glam element by playing Fiona. She also has said that the role brought out her "ballsier side."

Emmy Rossum at JW Marriott Chicago Grand Opening - 2011Photobra Adam Bielawski, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

21. High school drama.

Ethan Cutkosky (Carl) asked to be written off for a few episodes at the end of season five because he was going to start high school and wanted to experience it properly.

Screenshot of Carl Gallagher with glasses is looking at front - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

22. Sticking it to the man.

In December 2016, it was reported that Emmy Rossum had requested that she be paid more than William H. Macy for future seasons, to make up for previous seasons in which she was paid less than Macy. The pay dispute briefly delayed work on an eighth season of the series while she and Warner Bros. Television negotiated. The dispute came to an end on December 14, when Rossum confirmed through Twitter that she would continue to work on the series, with production of an eighth season to begin in May 2017.

William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum of the television show 'Shameless' speak during the Showtime portion - 2012 Frederick M. Brown, GettyImages


23. Frank’s a good guy, just a tad misunderstood.

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the father of six children. He is a deadbeat alcoholic and drug addict who relies on schemes and stealing to survive. He is the biological father of Fiona, Lip, Debbie, Liam, Carl, and Sammi— but not Ian. He pays little attention to his children but can display care and concern for them in drastic circumstances. He often pontificates about political and social issues, yet spends most of his time developing schemes to cheat the system and take advantage of others.

Screenshot of Frank Gallagher yelling at other man - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

24. Line please!

Unusual for a TV-show, creator John Wells had a very strict policy of no scripts allowed on set. The actors must know their lines by heart.

John Wells at the Animal Kingdom Premiere Screening - 2016Joe Seer, Shutterstock

25. Dominant genes.

Four separate actors played Liam Gallagher, the youngest of the Gallagher children. Liam is black, despite having two white parents, due to a dominant black gene the Gallaghers acquired from Frank's grandmother. He is delayed in verbal and emotional growth, and the whole family dotes on him. In season 4, Liam unwittingly ingests cocaine and is hospitalized, possibly suffering brain damage.

Screenshot of Liam Gallagher in white shirt is looking up - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

26. Big screw-ups, big ratings.

The third season's premiere episode, "El Gran Cañon" (airing January 13, 2013), drew 2 million viewers, becoming the show's highest rated episode to date. It has since maintained average ratings of just below 2 million viewers throughout the remainder of its episodes.

Screenshot of Fiona Gallagher looking sad - from Shameless (2011-21)Warner Bros., Shameless (2011-21)

27. Emmy buzz for Emmy.

O'Neill of the Los Angeles Times reported on the Emmy buzz about Shameless, especially with respect to the performance of Emmy Rossum, stating "she didn't have much Emmy buzz after Shameless debuted in January, but that changed after she gave powerhouse turns in such episodes as 'But at Last Came a Knock.'"

Emmy Rossum attends The Frick Collection Young Fellows Ball 2016 Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images

28. Knickers and nudity.

William H. Macy who plays the deadbeat alcoholic Frank was asked about the sex and nudity on Shameless. He admitted that, “Well maybe a little gratuitous, but they do love to watch those young folks, and when I say they I mean I like to watch those young folks walking around without their knickers.

But it's always a part of the conversation, and there's such calmness to the way we deal with sex. It's very matter-of-fact, it's titillating in that we have really good looking young people, but everything, like in real life, there is copious amounts of it, especially with young people, and it's sort of matter-of-fact, which is not to say it's not incredibly romantic sometimes.” He added, “You have to be natural, and I love that there's so much of it. I feel it might be good for this world if everybody just stripped off all the clothes and we stayed that way for 10 days. Just get it all over with. Then we can just go back to our lives and get some work done.”

William H. Macy at a ceremony for Felicity Huffman - 2012Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

29. A different look.

Early drafts of the pilot episode described Fiona as an average-looking, overweight blonde girl. They ended up casting slender, dark-haired (gorgeous) Emmy Rossum instead.

Emmy Rossum arrives at the Emmy - 2018Rodin Eckenroth, GettyImages

30. Excuse me…

Emmy Rossum’s on-screen siblings like to prank her. In 2013, they placed a “public restroom” sign on her trailer, and Emmy received a few surprise vists from passersby.

Emmy Rossum attends the Emmy Bag for Spring - 2011lev radin ,Shutterstock

31. “A slice of life.”

In Shameless, the deadbeat alcoholic Frank Ghallagher that, as an understatement, ruffles some feathers. Actor David Threlfall (who plays Frank in the British version of the show) defends his character, stating that Frank is necessary for the show’s appeal.

"It doesn't just attract the lower end of society. I've had people from right across the social spectrum tell me they get it. Sometimes reporters ask, 'Don't you think you're being a bit patronising about working-class people?' To which I say, 'Bollocks, you middle-class journalist!' If it was condescending, I'd know because the people on the estates where we film would come and tell me. Without sounding cheesy, Shameless has such broad appeal because it's about humanity. Everyone knows someone like Frank, fuelled by bravado and self-delusion and yet still lovable. And everyone can feel for those children, who are forced to look after themselves and sometimes behave in extreme ways. You either get it and love it, or you don't and switch over to I'm a Celebrity...People like Shameless because it's a slice of life in fact.”

Screenshot of David Threlfall - from Shameless (2004-13)Company Pictures, Shameless (2004-13)

32. Prepare for the big dirty…

In order to prepare Emmy Rossum for Fiona’s down-and-dirty sex scenes, Paul Abbott who did the original series, said to check out some of the raunchy stuff from the British version. “Just go onto YouTube and watch the sex scene in the kitchen on mute, so you have an idea of how much you’ll be showing, but you don’t want to be influenced by any delivery or anything.”

When asked about her reaction to the scene, Emmy said, I feel like we get so used to seeing the pretty version of sex that doesn’t actually really look like any sex I’ve had. You get the Hollywood girl with the blow-out who looks really pretty on the satin sheets. That doesn’t really happen. So, I think that when you’re going to show real people and real feelings, in a gritty situation, to glamorize it or be concerned about how you look during those situations would be foolish. And also, I feel like, as an adult, a lot of how you feel about yourself and what your inner workings are can be revealed in a sexual situation. As an actor, that’s fun to play.”

Emmy Rossum at the 24th Annual Critics' Choice Awards - 2019Tinseltown, Shutterstock

We hope you enjoyed these fun facts!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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