WMG: Shameless

The original Maguire brothers in early seasons.

  • Inconsistency of the Maguire family regarding what brothers are who or where, before series 4, is a baffling one. It's implied that the Maguire family (within Paddy and Mimi's marriage anyway) had seven children, in order from the oldest: Jamie (oldest, released from prison in series 4, still in the main cast), Shane (appears as guest in series 3, main cast series 4 onwards), Donny (early brother series 1-3), Fergal (deceased from series 4 onwards), Joey (early brother series 1-3), Mandy (only sister from series 1 onwards till death in series 6), and Mickey (youngest, series 4 till series 9). As seen from this overview, they don't really become main, prominent characters until series 4. Until then, they only appeared as guest stars once per series (twice in series 3), and only usually because the plot happened to involve Mandy Maguire's interaction with Lip or Ian.

But the Maguire brothers as seen in series 4 aren't at all the same ones seen in the previous seasons. Obviously the actors are different, as our their styles, even their names, and the quantity they come in. Series 1 showed a gang of three thugs acting as Mandy's brothers, but only 2 are credited as Maguire 1 and Maguire 2. Series 2 continues on the gang of three thugs, but now they are shown with the matriarch Mimi and patriarch Paddy of the Maguire clan, and all of them are treated more like a real nuclear family with four children (Mandy and her three brothers), except yet again only two of them are credited as Maguires (Donny and Joey) when the other one strangely isn't, and only one of them (Donny) has the same actor from series 1 (who is also the only one to be referenced to on screen by name). Series 3 keeps the same 3 thugs motif, but now they all have different actors and look completely different. Plus while only one is still referenced to on screen as Donny (despite having a different actor), he's also the only one credited (meaning neither of the other two are credited as Joey, maybe because they don't really have a big part, but that never stopped them in series 2). They even change the dynamic part way through series 3 for the Maguires 2nd series 3 appearance, and it's the biggest change yet.

Now, instead of three characters simply following their dad Paddy around, they're following their mum Mimi around instead, and it's only TWO brothers. The credits say that one is Donny, despite a different actor within the same series, and that one is a new name Shane, a newly seen Maguire brother that's portrayed as the most loud mouthed, rowdy, brother yet, with what seems to be a far more developed, outspoken personality and character yet, compared to the general quiet and obedient thugs of previous. Shane is even referenced to on screen by his mother Mimi, sister Mandy, her complicated partner Lip, and brother Donny. But strangely enough, while Donny is credited, he isn't referenced to by any character ANYWHERE in the episode. In fact, while he does talk (being the only Maguire brother of series 1-3 so far that had any real dialogue), it's normally muffled or considerably quieter than Shane's lines, and sometimes his face isn't even shown when it's said, as if they were phasing the character out gradually.

By the time series 4 rolls around, and the Maguires are treated as main characters for the first time, they continue on with Shane every episode from then on, while bringing in two new Maguire brothers (Mickey, who is there from the start, and treated as if he was always there, but only just credited/named on screen/taking an active role in the family business; and Jamie in the second episode, released from prison, and joins the cast). You get recurring extras that hang around with the family, three to be exact, and we're led to believe that these are probably Donny and Joey. One would be Fergal (the brother that's said to be murdered off screen, probably to cover up the actor discontinuity), but all three recurring brother extras appear after Fergal is buried, and all of them appear at his funeral as well, but after series 4 none of them are ever seen again so... what the hell is going on? It's never really explained why.
  • It's not as if the problem ends there. If we consider Donny and Joey's presence, then counting Shane, Fergal, Mickey, Jamie and Mandy, then Mimi and Paddy had SEVEN children, yet later seasons imply that it was only five, i.e. it's not just the characters disappearing, it's the parents forgetting Donny and Joey even existed.
  • Simple. What if they were visited by The Inquisitor, or some sort of variant, erased from history and replaced with those who would live a more worthwhile life.
  • Still not explaining the mysteries of who the brothers are leading up to series 4. Especially why the show chooses to credit some, and not the others.
  • I find it strange how Mickey sort of just appears in series 4, when it's implied he's been in the family since all through series 1-3, but never appeared (at least not credited) with them once. The series 1 Maguire brothers appearance I can let slide, because it was the seemely older brothers getting revenge on Ian regarding being protective over Mandy (with Mickey being the weakest, most cowardly, feminine, younger brother likely not taking part). The second series 3 appearance I can let slide too, since it was just Mimi choosing to have Donny and Shane help her, with even Paddy AWOL in that episode, and with Shane implying seven children (that includes Mickey, so we know he's there somewhere). But it's the first series 3 appearance, and the series 2 appearance that get to me, because its implied that the whole family is there, and it's only the mum, dad, three brothers, and Mandy. So obviously, one of those must be Mickey, and likely it's the one that isn't credited right? Except... it was also implied that when Ian interacted with Mickey Maguire in series 4, it was the first time they've ever met. So when Ian was facing the Maguire family in series 2, how could one of them be Mickey, because that means Ian knew Mickey before series 4?!
    • It doesn't state it's the first time Mickey and Ian met. All we know is that Ian confused him with Shane. Ian knows the Maguire brothers, but probably didn't know their actual first names individually. You have to understand, at this point, the Maguires were only just starting to co-exist as protagonists with the Gallagher's (and the rest of the estate). Before that, they were just an antagonist crime family. In fact they still were in series 4, but it started to phase out in time. It's completely possible that Ian knew OF Mickey as a Maguire brother before. And Mickey DID start off as a typical violent Maguire brother in his first series 4 appearance. It's just in time, thanks to Ian actually, he learnt to accept his homosexuality, and himself, and was able to become the more sympathetic and compassionate of the brothers, that helped develop his character, and made him distinct from just another thug clone. Which is why series 4 marked him becoming more of a main character (he still only appeared in a handful of episodes that season) but did it gradually. If we assume that Mickey WAS actually one of the Maguire brothers in series 2 and 3, we can presume he wasn't referenced or credited as Micky, just to make it more impactful when we see that the name 'Mickey Maguire' in series 4 was suggesting his evolution into a recurring character, then in series 5 becoming a main one.
    • One of the thugs in series 2, the one that isn't credited by name, is implied to be family in the pub, despite not going with Paddy, Ian, Donny and Joey on the car trip. It makes sense, Mickey is the youngest brother, perhaps Paddy was ok with getting Micky pissed, but not ok with exposing him to brutal violence too early?
    • One of the uncredited mindless thug brothers in the first Maguire appearance in series 3, not Donny, has slightly more dialogue than you'd presume from an extra (the other, third brother is completely mute). Which would seem to suggest a case of an Ascended Extra that would later evolve into Mickey.
    • What about one of the brothers in series 1 then? I always presumed it was implied that the series 1 brothers were the same a the series 2 ones? So was Mickey there too? Seems strange that Ian and Mickey became so close later on, when he was trying to kill him a few seasons back.
    • As 2 were only credited as Maguire 1 and Maguire 2 in series 1 (rather than actual names), it kinda beat the point of not crediting one of them to hide or disclose a name until series 4 surely? Only two of them seem to really be personally angry at Ian, of of them just seems like he's there for the ride, as if he's just a friend of the brothers, so probably not Mickey. It would explain why there seems to be three recurring extras in series 4 to represent just Donny and Joey, which would make EIGHT Maguire children when we know there was only seven. One was probably just a close family friend/friend of the brothers helping out. As series 2 and series 3 (first appearance) became more of an overall family manner, not a personal one, their friend wasn't needed. But when we see far more of the Maguires in series 4, the friend was naturally reseen.
  • Enough with Mickey already, what about Fergal?
    • That's the beauty of Fergal, he could be any one of them, he's basically a filler Maguire.
    • Fergal IS seen in series 4, he's briefly seen in Jamie's welcome back party, and photos of him are shown later on. It's implied that before his murder, he fell out with his parents, and became detached from them, explaining why he may not live with them, or take an active part in the family business. That's why Mimi automatically presumed the severed hand in series 4 was Mickey's, because Fergal wasn't on her mind due to him off doing his own thing. It's likely Fergal didn't appear before series 4 at all.
    • I'm generally ok with the constant actor changes of the Maguire brothers, between series. But the fact that they changed it HALFWAY BETWEEN the same series, series 3 coincidentally, really bothers me for some reason. Especially when it's plainly obvious that both Donny's actors in series 3 are not the same, but they're both still credited as Donny, but aren't nearly remotely treated as the same. The first Donny was confident, bold, outspoken, a leader of the other brothers, and serving as the parent's favorite son, their 'go-to-guy'. The second Donny just seems like a tag along, and even the family Butt Monkey Shane got more leadership, attention and hierarchal prestige than him. What's worse is that this Donny seemed to even choosing to shirk responsibility and duty off himself and onto Shane instead, which the former Donny would never do. That seems odd to me. It seemed like this brother was on a rocky path with his family, and was still hanging around to try and get back on their good terms, but was looked down upon because he could never really prove himself. It seemed like this brother didn't really have the leadership over any of the others, and was more just a fairly silent follower, as was Joey. That's why I think the other brother in series 3 (second Maguire appearance) is actually Fergal, NOT Donny. It's credit as Donny was probably just a mistake, or just for production sake, and Fergal as a character was created later to explain why there was such a massive change in Maguire brother appearances. I also think this mainly because Fergal had blond curly hair in series 4, and the other brother in the later series 3 appearance wore a hat as if to hide his hair to avoid any obvious clues, but their facial structures and body height both appear quite similar. And possibly, this might be why we were not shown MORE of Fergal in series 4, because then it would seem obvious that they were the same brother, and it would ruin the illusion. Why would the idiotic, Butt Monkey Shane be leading Donny? It makes more sense for Shane to be the leader, or brother with a higher rank, if the other brother was Fergal instead because Fergal was quieter and more submissive than Shane.
    • For a true wild mad guess, I'm just gonna say Fergal is one of the brothers in series 1 as well. We know that one is Donny, it seems unlikely one is Mickey, which means that one must be Joey and the other Fergal. Then Fergal must have become distanced from his family around series 2, with Mickey stepping up, explaining why the actors changed around apart from Donny, who remained consistent. With Fergal detached from his family, it explained why he wasn't with them for important Mandy related events for series 2 and 3, although later on in series 3 he came back to try and redeem himself, thus explaining the illusion of Donny's actor change.
  • What about Shane? I mean sure he is first seen in series 3 in the second Maguire brother appearance, but what if he was one of the brothers in series 1-2 as well?
    • I'd say he wasn't. When he appeared in series 3, he immediately makes quite an impression and presence of himself, that sets him apart from any Maguire brother seen to date (as if they were purposely saving that brother's appearance for when the Maguires started to become more main characters). Plus, it's implied by Mimi and Mandy that they don't let Shane take part in the family business, or lead the brothers as a gang (given that he is technically the oldest prior to Jamie reappearing) because he's too stupid to pull anything off right. It's implied he's seen for the first time, and I for one believe that to be so. Given that most of the other brothers all have quite a sporty and chavvy look, with Shane's appearance as a crypto-pirate being rather unique.
    • So where the hell is Shane in series 2 and 3 (first appearance) then when the whole Maguire nuclear family is implied to be together?
    • Prior to Shane's arrival, Donny was the oldest, followed by Fergal (assumed absent), then Joey, then Mandy, followed by Mickey (if we assume he was present the whole time). Donny took clear prestige over his older brother Shane, because Shane was an idiot, or likely wasn't actually there at the time. But it's still likely that Shane had simply moved out, and wasn't living there at the time anymore, but moved back in series 3/4. If Shane isn't there, his presence for family related events would be limited. I mean Lip Gallagher still cares about his family, but he doesn't come back to the estate.
  • So with Fergal's ties with the family being rocky, leading to Mickey growing up and taking more of an active role in Fergal's absence, and with Shane starting to step up and being trusted more given Fergal's absence too, Donny and Joey start to become redundant. Plus Mickey and Shane, as characters, had far more potential for solid character development, and general humour for a comedic series involving laughing at their stupidity and incompetence, where as Donny and Joey were fairy bland and uninteresting. But rather than just having Donny and Joey disappear straight away, series 4 is designed to just phase them out gradually (given the most in series changes series 4 goes through, being a somewhat limbo, transitioning season, it fits well). Which is why it's gone from 3 chavvy, somewhat background thugs following their parents everywhere, to Mickey and Shane having full fledged personalities serving as a comical Those Two Guys dynamic, in the space of a few episodes.
    • As mentioned, series 4 changes the dynamic alot within it's own season (thankfully keeping the same actors, unlike series 3). You start with Paddy and Mimi, as the parents, leading four brothers around. Two credited and referenced onscreen as Shane (as seen in series 3) and Mickey (first named), becoming the consistent actors even up to series 9 and 10, as well two others neither referenced, named, or even really noticed, but who become recurring supporting extras throughout series 4 (and implied by fans to be Donny and Joey by default). Shane seems to remain the 'main child' though that interacts with the parents, and has focus storylines above all others, with Mickey thrown in but still being fairly minor and in the background. This carries on for a few episodes till around episode 3 or 4, where Shane is (for the first time) seen as part of the main family business with the other unnamed brothers from the first episode (the ones implied to be Donny and Joey). This, mirrors the way three brothers would follow Paddy around back in series 2-3. One of them, the one presumed to be Donny (the bald one) gets phased out before the brown long haired one in the stylish suit(implied to be Joey), which makes sense when you consider Donny is the older of the two, and probably left home to move on to greater things. While Shane was older, he was more incompetent, and thus clinged onto the family home as a safety net. And in Jamie's case, the oldest child, he had just returned home, but not because he was mooching off his parents. He needed to return to the estate, but he left the Maguire house soon after, and set himself up with a job and a home at the pub straight after. Joey was there for Jamie's wedding, but then moved out some time after.
    • There is a third recurring extra Maguire seen throughout series 4, usually stood next to one of the other recurring extras (the bald one wearing jumpers, and the brown haired one in retro suits), but it's possible this is just a family friend, because they're not seen as common as the other two extras (i.e. he wasn't there when Karen met Paddy and Mimi as Jamie's parents, or when the family celebrated Jamie's return at home, or whenever they visit the pub, where the other two extras of Donny/Joey are).
    • In the first episode of series 5 there is a VERY BRIEF scene of Shane and two other guys kicking a character called Inky Bob. One of those must be Joey, and maybe the other one is the mysterious friend as seen in parts of series 1 and 4. So it stands to reason that the extra must be a friend of Joey's, not Donny's (unless he befriended Shane too).
    • Of course he befriended Shane, in series 4 it's implied to be the long black haired one seen wearing tracksuits, that hangs around. He helps Shane raid the Gallagher's rubbish, and helps Shane kidnap the priest, but isn't seen as often regarding more inclosed family matters.
    • He is seen at Fergal's funeral, as well as being seen with Donny as distressed over the news, so was probably close friends with Fergal too.
    • Which explains why the third Maguire character in series 1 wasn't credited as a Maguire like Donny and the other one were, because he wasn't actually a Maguire.
  • Ok, I think I've got it. After reading all of this, I've narrowed it down to this.
Series Brothers
Series 1 (guest staring) Donny (credited as Maguire 1), Fergal (credited as Maguire 2), ??? (uncredited, friend of the brothers who reappears as a cameo throughout series 4).
Series 2 (guest staring) Donny (credited as Donny, same actor as series 1's Maguire 1), Joey (credited as Joey), Mickey (uncredited)
Series 3 (first Maguire family guest star appearance in series) Donny (credited as Donny), Joey (uncredited), Mickey (uncredited)
Series 3 (second Maguire family guest star appearance in series) Donny or Fergal (credited as Donny), Shane (credited as himself Shane)
Series 4 (throughout whole season as main/recurring cast, all brothers present and listed in order of age, oldest first) Jamie (deputing from episode 2 onwards, credited as himself Jamie, consistent in main cast to present day), Shane (carried over from series 3 guest role, credited as himself Shane, consistent in main cast to present day), ??? (the recurring extra implied to be Donny, uncredited, appears from the start of series 4 but gradually disappears in time), Fergal (named and shown on screen but bizarrely uncredited, briefly appears upon Jamie’s return, killed off soon after), ??? (the recurring extra implied to be Joey, uncredited, appears from the start of series 4 and even appears at Jamie’s wedding at the end), Mickey (deputing from episode 1 onwards, credited as himself Mickey, transitions from recurring support to main character)
  • A few notes on Joey though. He appears in series 2 for the first time, hence why the actor is different, because he is younger than Fergal, and thus like Mickey is only starting to get more involved in the business. Every occasion above, when an extra is presumed to be Joey, in series 2-4 is always one of the Maguire brothers who never says anything, ever. It's simple, Joey is a mute. The credited brother that assists Donny in series 1 is not a mute, he verbally threatens Ian, and has a different actor, so this is not Joey. But the unnamed long haired brother in stylish jackets in series 4 that's seen at Jamie's wedding (and throughout the house on the same episode, and earlier on throughout the rest of the season) is Joey, because this one never speaks.
  • The other one, the bald one in jumpers, implied to be Donny, never speaks either though. And this one appears less than the one at the wedding implied to be Joey. I think it's the other way round. Donny is seen appearing more prominently than Joey usually. Why are we assuming Donny is the bald one in the jumpers? Was Joey not bald in previous guest roles too? It's not totally extraordinary that Donny grew his hair out long. Plus the long haired one in the stylish retro jacket, as seen in the wedding, was shown singing with Jamie, Shane and Mickey, which means this isn't the mute. If Joey is a mute, then this brother must be Donny.
  • I always presumed that it was implied that all 3 of the Maguire extras in series 4 (dark haired one in tracksuit, brown haired one unshaven, and the bald one in the golf jumper) were just symbolism of the other brothers, not necessarily representing specific brothers themselves. All three of them only appear together in the second episode of series 4, they leave together to go home, later one seems to be replaced by the actor who temporarily played Fergal, as if it was implied that it was the same character as before. One Fergal is murdered, you see all 3 of the extras in other scenes, but never all three together (and when 2 are together, it alternates between which of the 3 are there). I think they've deliberately been left unnamed for a reason. All 3 are Donny and Joey, depending on which one you want to be either. They weren't exactly big characters in the first place anyway, easier to phase out. Joey was pretty much a silent follower, as was Fergal if we're led to believe he appear before, and Donny was only talkative because he was joined by 2 silent followers. In comparison, to the likes of Shane and Mickey, Donny was still talking just as much in series 3, but he still seemed quieter. It just seems to be accepted that the bald one in jumpers is Donny, and the stylish unshaven one is Joey. They are still, just extras, after all. They could have been brought in, as a cheap method of getting background participants to play Maguire brothers they were phasing out, but also to represent random citizens in the pub drinking too.
  • Possible solution: Episode 9 of series 5. Mandy Maguire says 'Unless you want to end up in Strangeways with half my family...' Maybe Donny and Joey got sent down long-term? Possibly for something the Maguire family disagreed with? We already had Fergal conspiring against Paddy behind his back - it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the two other sons may have done something far worse. So my guess is that Donny and Joey, either separately or together, did something terrible that caused the rest of the Maguires to disown them. It was so bad that depending on who you ask, Mimi and Paddy only have 5 children rather than 7.

Frank has a rare genetic mutation that makes him unable to experience comedowns, hangovers, and other short-term and long-term negative effects of drugs.
How else would he be able to shove ectasy pills and tons of liquour down his throat every day?
  • Because he's built up an immunity.
  • The drugs he took as part of the medical trial boosted his immunity. It's also implied that he's being given mints instead of ecstasy at one point.