Shameless boss on Showtime's decision to end the show, hopes for an Emmy Rossum return
May Gallavich live happily ever after!
On Sunday’s season 10 finale of Shameless, fan favorite couple Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) tied the knot. But it took all of the Gallaghers and company to get it done, considering Mickey’s bigoted dad Terry (Dennis Cockrum) was determined to make sure his son didn’t get hitched.
Meanwhile, Kev (Steve Howey) and V (Shanola Hampton) finally got engaged, the cops are looking to arrest Debbie (Emma Kenney) for sleeping with the underaged Julia (Alison Jaye), Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is now sleeping with Julia, and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) fell off the wagon after a fight with Tami (Kate Miner) over his refusal to move to Milwaukee. Thankfully, the episode ended with Tami coming to help work on the South Side house that he rented without telling her.
With the big season finale and recent news that season 11 (premiering this summer) will be the last, EW chatted with showrunner John Wells about everything Shameless.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you convinced Cameron to come back, was it always your plan for Ian and Mickey to get married?
JOHN WELLS: Yes, absolutely. We want to make certain that we see real weddings, with anybody who is prepared to make that life commitment, whether they are gay, straight, transgender, whoever. If people love each other, they should be together, and that’s why we staged it as a real wedding, with tuxedos and flowers and love and family and even some people who object. But that’s who we are now as a country and let’s just all accept that that’s what we’re doing. And so that was always the plan, it’s what we really wanted to do.
You mentioned having some people objecting to this marriage, which includes Mickey’s dad going to extreme lengths to stop the wedding. Considering how accepting the Gallaghers have been, did it seem important to showcase the negative side of what that can look like?
It was important to acknowledge that there are people who have oppositions and that those people need to be made fun of. I think that those people would prefer you take them on violently, but if you ridicule someone it is the most damaging thing that you can do to their position, because you think their position is ridiculous, which is why we did it the way we did.
Fans have long been super invested in Gallavich, so was there any extra pressure to really do this momentous event justice?
We shared the enthusiasm for the couple that the fans who are really passionate about it do, so it wasn’t that hard a thing. We just needed to make sure that Cameron and Noel were both available to come back and be on the show for a couple of years, so we could really explore that — we didn’t want to do it as just a one-off. So as soon as they both agreed to come back, then we knew we wanted to do it.
Moving to some other characters: Fiona felt like she had to leave, while Lip feels like he can’t leave. Why is that his mindset?
I think he’s felt all this pressure for years to succeed in some way and somehow a definition of success is actually leaving the people you love. There’s that notion that rewards anyone with ambition, because what you really want to do is move and make a lot of money and be somebody other than what you’re brought up as. The choices that he’s making for himself are lovely choices; this is where he wants to be, this is where he wants to belong, so why does someone believe he has to have some specific job or life away from the people that he loves? He thinks that he can step up and be that responsible patriarch that they never had, that Frank has never provided for them.
After his big fight with Tami, Lip has a few drinks. He’s been so strong with his sobriety, and this is really the first time we’ve seen him fall off the wagon. Why was this the moment for you guys to explore that? And is that something that will have ramifications moving forward?
I’ve known many people who have been through A.A. and N.A. and various versions of sobriety and it’s very unusual not to fall off at least once, or sometimes two or three times, not that we’ve decided that’s what we will do with Lip. And so we want to make sure that people who follow the show and care about it realize that the important thing is, if that happens, that you immediately seek out a meeting, seek out friends, don’t see it as a total failure, just see it as another step in the progression to your eventual sobriety. It’s a lifelong journey and battle.
Moving beyond this episode specifically, it was recently announced that the show was ending after one more season. You’ve told me in the past that you would make this show as long as everyone still was on board, so why was this the time to wrap things up?
Well, I haven’t changed my opinion, I’d write it forever. I love this show. But Showtime really felt that it was their time to end doing the show. And we respect that; they’ve been such great partners to take us through 11 years of making the show. It took almost seven years to get the show made in the first place, so I never thought I would make it this long. But I haven’t changed my opinion, I could do it forever. They were just ready to be done. With the cast, we never had a conversation with Bill [Macy] or anyone else about whether they wanted to stay longer because Showtime let us know that they were ready to close up shop. Like I said, I’m so appreciative of all the support they’ve given us all these years that it would be very ungrateful of me to not just thank them. But, if anybody else wants to make it, let’s make it. I’ll make it. There’s just so much to write about and I love these characters.
Do you already have an endgame for the show in mind?
I’ve had some long ideas, and these last couple of years we’ve always tried to make certain that the final episode we shot could act as the last episode if it needed to. I just didn’t want us to leave the fans unsatisfied by the ending. A year ago, it was Fiona leaving and we had the family all back together at the end, and that could have been a perfectly satisfying ending to the series. And this year, we did it with the wedding and everyone together again, and that could have been the last episode of the series, too. So, for the last three years, we’ve been making certain that the final episodes are satisfying for the audience, but I’ve had lots of ideas about what the end might be. We literally just started in the writer’s room, so we’re not that far along, but I think it will involve the family being together in some way, because that’s what this show has always been about, these people helping each other survive.
You mention having the family together, so that makes me wonder if that will include Fiona. With it being the final season, do you plan on trying to get Emmy Rossum to come back, at least briefly?
I’ll certainly ask her. She’s very busy and she does a lot of other things. We all love each other and we’ve been through wonderful things together, so I’ll ask her and hopefully, she’ll be available at the time that we do it. But we’re so far from knowing what that would be and when that would be, and she’s just started on her new project for the Peacock, Angelyne, so I’m going to leave her to that for quite some time…until I start bugging her [laughs].
As you said, it’s early in the writing process, but what should we expect from the final season?
There’s never an end to the things we can satirize in the American projects, so I think they should expect more of the same. Certainly keeping Ian and Mickey together and trying to see what it’s like for them to be newlyweds, seeing Carl move on with his life, and how Tami and Lip are going to adjust to really being together, and how do we form our own families without undermining our relationships with our original family. That’s a real challenge, to bring other people in your life that you realize have to be more important in the decision making than the family members you’ve always considered to be the most important thing — and how does everyone adjust to that.
Shameless‘ final season will premiere this summer on Showtime.