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'Shameless': Love it or loathe it

Is Showtime’s recently renewed dark comedy refreshingly original or appallingly unfunny? Two EW writers face off

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Love It
So far in season 2, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) started dealing weed to teens out of an ice cream truck, Frank (William H. Macy) proposed to a dying woman so he could get his hands on her juicy pension, and Fiona (Emmy Rossum) blew the cash she found in a lost purse on a chicken-wing feast for her family. What’s not to love? I get that Shameless won’t win any Peabodys, but I’m thankful for any show that doesn’t feel the need to ladle out a Modern Family moment of uplift before the end credits. Sometimes watching people behave really badly is its own reward. —Chris Nashawaty

Loathe It
If Shameless weren’t so well acted, it wouldn’t be as loathsome. Macy is vividly selfish, cruel, and pathetic; Rossum is excellent as the unbearably put-upon eldest daughter. They bring to life Shameless‘ appalling portrait of a family suffering from a lack of love, moral guidance, and attention (at any moment, the Gallagher clan could be without food or heat if Dad has stolen money for booze). That all this is played for laughs, as an example of cable-TV ”outrageousness,” renders Shameless shameful. Oh, and not amusing for a second. —Ken Tucker

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