1) Its seamless integration of social commentary into every episode
The entire show is social commentary for poor, dysfunctional families and the way our country handles these situations. After all, Shameless takes place in the South Side of Chicago, or a world of dysfunctional families, where parents are expected to fuck up either children. Their social commentary goes deeper into specific story lines of episodes.
2) The best written gay couple on television
One of the six children in the Gallagher family is Ian Gallagher, who was touted as a “unique” gay character on television from the start. And while it’s true that Ian is a bit more rough and tumble than your usual gay stereotype, he’s still a fairly sensitive boy. But there’s nothing sensitive about the Mickey character, a horrifyingly violent young thug who was as likely to punch Ian as he was to kiss him. Just last season, Mickey delivered this heart-breaking beat down.
These are scared, oppressed boys who often kiss through broken faces. They defy stereotypes and do not signal their sexuality with limp wrists or theatrical gestures. Both revel in their masculinity and seem more interested in throwing a punch than picking out flower arrangements. If for no other reason, watch Shameless for the most radical portrait of homosexuality. #TeamMilkovich
3) It handles its multiple, simultaneous, intersecting storylines masterfully
It's style of storytelling is unlike anything else on television right now. Unlike the more streamlined programs that follow careful A-story/B-story/C-story structures, it's, well, kind of a mess. The threads of the story get tangled easily. Though its frentic structure may seem untidy at first glance, it's one of the things viewers who stick with it come to love most. The frenzied, overlapping plotlines mirror and represent its characters' own hectic lifestyles.
4) The ensemble is full of incredible characters, played by incredible actors
Sex, violence, addiction, and depravity are the show’s rallying cry. But somewhere in the cracks, Shameless has built a cast of believable, sympathetic, dirt-poor characters struggling to escape circumstance, genetics, and self-destructive behavior. Every character is on point in every scene. Of course, the actors who play the gay couple, Noel Fisher and Cameron Monaghan, have grown beautifully into their roles. However, Fiona Gallagher, portrayed by Emmy Rossum, and Lip Gallagher, portrayed by Jeremy White, are two of televisions great heroines and heroes. Oh, and Bill Macy. If Shameless had no other redeeming qualities besides seeing William H. Macy playing the alcoholic mess that is Frank Gallagher, it would still be worth recommending. This is undeniably one of the best performances on television right now.
5) The show's themes
No, I don't mean their theme song. Although, their title sequence is one of my favorites...
Shameless is a very complex show that focuses on the human condition. As I said before, sex, violence, addiction, and depravity are the show’s rallying cry. And although the Gallagher’s are extremely poor, they stick together as a family and overcome struggles.
In short, watch Shameless. You won't regret it.