The Walk of Shame

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Over the weekend, I told my dad about our new favorite show, Shameless on Showtime. William H. Macy plays a fall down on the floor type of drunk, who scams the system for social security and disability checks which he blows on booze at the corner pub, while his kids raise themselves and pick his pocket to pay the electricity bill. They live in Chicago next to the L, which shakes their house as it rumbles by. Dad didn't think it was so funny, because he grew up in a drunken, dysfunctional family in Chicago.

I tried to explain that the show is so engaging despite the poverty and the alcoholism, because I think we relate more to this imperfect family more than the families in shows like Parenthood. The Shameless house has crap on the kitchen counters. The kids shove a bowl of Cheerios in their mouths before they rush off to school. The kids aren't wearing nice clothes or waking up with a face of makeup. There's no time for long soul searching discussions among family members. There's lots of running around and drinking. Hair is thrown into messy ponytails. The kids aren't on the honor roll. Well, one is, but he's trading in his tutoring skills for blowjobs. 

I think a lot of have abandoned the idea of the perfect family and are embracing our weird and unhealthy selves. 

21 thoughts on “The Walk of Shame

  1. Not me. I get bugged by the size and clutter-free ness of the houses, but not the family togetherness.
    I actually believe that the niceness of the houses on tv is one of the causes of the mortgage mess. What exactly is the parenthood dad supposed to have done that got them the beautiful house with a guest house? in the bay area no less?

  2. I’ll have to stop watching parenthood if 1) one of the sisters offers to carry the baby of the other or 2) any of the spouses have affairs with other spouses/or family members (including unmarried partners/girlfriends).
    We’ve watched the episode in which Rachel & Joey decide to date each other in Friends, and I had a tough time explaining to my daughter why, in the end explaining that it’s primarily a plot device required when you are paying your main star actors millions of dollars/episode (you can’t afford to hire any other love interests, so you have to do all the iterations possible).

  3. I tried to watch Big Love. All was going well, up until the scene where one of the sister wives is left to babysit while a senior wife and the husband go off to visit the family compound. I had to stop though around the point where the big kid the sister wife is watching pees on the floor on purpose–we were probably potty training at the time, and it was too much of a busman’s holiday to do potty training all day and then see that during my leisure hours.
    My TV routine is Parks and Rec and The Office, both of which are very far from my daily routine.

  4. As a bit of an aside, I just returned from a design conference in Salt Lake City and I had to bite my tongue the entire time so I didn’t ask the residents, “so, what did you think of Big Love?”.
    And as another aside, the upscale restaurant that I was in on the Wednesday night had a drive by shooting! 5 feet from where I was sitting. Yes, in SLC. Who knew they had gangs?

  5. The original UK Shameless is so much better (but I’m a total anglophile, and Canadian, so I’m probably biased). You can watch full episodes on YouTube. I don’t understand why the US has to steal brilliant British shows and redo them with exactly the same scripts: Coupling, Being Human, Skins, Shameless, Misfits, I could go on and on.

  6. “I don’t understand why the US has to steal brilliant British shows and redo them with exactly the same scripts: Coupling, Being Human, Skins, Shameless, Misfits, I could go on and on.”
    The American Office has taken on a life of its own, but these borrowings are mostly pretty pointless. I’ve never had any desire to see what Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez (!!!) made out of the American remake of the Japanese Shall We Dance?

  7. Alison – amen to that. I was biting my tongue about Shameless because Laura loves it but I agree, see.the.original. Same with all the various foreign films that are remade and shortened and cast with really.big.stars.
    Example – State of Play. Skip the Ben Affleck hot mess and watch the original UK mini series. Longer, more complicated plot, better written and acted.
    I understand that it’s a business decision – the stories need to be simplified so that they can sell them overseas to non-english speaking audiences. But there is sooooo much great tv and film out there that many people never ever see!

  8. “I propose we adopt the British versions and dub them with American voices.”
    I watch all British shows with English subtitles on, whenever possible.

  9. My problem with Parenthood is the house doesn’t look like it was decorated by a kid with Asperger’s. Where, oh where, are the marks on the walls from kicking? the holes where the pictures were wrenched off the walls? the piles of abandoned clothes that were too scratchy? And why is that Christine always so pissed off?

  10. Wait, I thought the Hugh Laurie tv show “House” was already a modernized, American version of Sherlock Holmes. The name, the idiosyncracies, the addiction, the enabler best friend…it’s definitely Sherlock Holmes, just set in a hospital.

  11. “Wait, I thought the Hugh Laurie tv show “House” was already a modernized, American version of Sherlock Holmes. The name, the idiosyncracies, the addiction, the enabler best friend…it’s definitely Sherlock Holmes, just set in a hospital.”
    Very good point.
    There are a number of neurotic/OCD/whatever detectives in the genre. Adrian Monk, House, and Hercule Poirot come to mind, but there must be others. When I was recently watching the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes (a marvelous performance), I was mentally noting Holmes’s autistic spectrum features: the unusual attention to tiny details, brusque manners and a couple other things I’m forgetting.

  12. I don’t have cable, but your post reminds me that I’ve been thinking of getting some old episodes of Roseanne from the library.

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