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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • This show sure does love to play Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male for laughs... several times.
    • And Frank basically deserves everything he gets so he's the designated butt monkey for the majority of the show.
    • After the neighborhood gentrification story arc in Season 6 went by, hipsters are this.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Frank getting a new liver at the end of Season 4 was widely criticized for how unbelievably sudden it was, especially considering how carefully organs are dispensed.
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    • After only appearing twice in Seasons 3 and 4 combined and then not appearing at all in Season 5, Tony reappears out of nowhere in Season 6 among a baseball team of gay cops and claims that having sex with Fiona turned him gay. The fact that he was in a happy relationship with a woman in Season 2 is ignored completely, and his lack of another reappearance for further explanation makes it a bizarre scene.
    • For many, V and Svetlana hooking up multiple times near the end of Season 6 and V deciding that she likes it so much that she wants a permanent "throuple" situation between the two of them and Kev was so rushed and abrupt that it couldn't be believed. And then a season later, it's revealed that Svetlana was already married the whole time, making her marriage with V invalid; V starts to love Svetlana more than she loves Kevin; and to top it all off, Svetlana turns out to be an antagonist who steals the bar from under their noses. Not only that, but the entire plotline was only able to happen because Kev never filed for divorce from his first wife in the first place for some reason, with zero explanation as to why despite all the effort it took to get his ex to sign the papers.
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  • Award Snub: The fact that Emmy Rossum hasn't won any awards for her portrayal of Fiona, nor even scored an Emmy nomination, is a sore spot for many fans.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • It's unanimously agreed upon that Frank is a horrible person, but there's a split between people who think he's one of the most consistently interesting, complex, and entertaining characters on the show (if not all of TV in general) in spite of (or perhaps because of) his massive faults, and those who think he's an utterly irredeemable Jerkass whose propensity for being a Karma Houdini really stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
    • Steve/Jimmy can also be pretty divisive among fans; some think that his character and storylines (a rich, privileged trust fund kid moonlighting as a masterful car thief on the side who has lots of connections and is also involved with mob activity) take away from the comparatively grounded story of the Gallaghers just trying to get by, and his putting Fiona on a pedestal while not accepting that she and the kids are a package deal is grating. Others love his character and firmly believe that he and Fiona belong together, and he at least cares about making sure Fiona has a life outside of being a surrogate parent. His being brought back for a brief arc in Season 5 resulted in a similar Broken Base.
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    • Fiona's popularity dropped a lot in Seasons 4 and 5; even after she got her shit together after her nosedive in Season 4, her actions in Season 5 led some fans to believe that she was turning into Frank and losing all the qualities that made audiences want to root for her in the earlier seasons; other fans thought it was an inevitable turn due to the massive stress brought on by her responsibilities combined with the fact that she was still only in her early twenties.
      • Fiona became divisive once more in Season 7 after washing her hands of responsibility to the family and declaring that she's had enough of taking care of the kids, but then turns around and puts the house up for collateral to get a loan in order to purchase the laundromat, in the process consulting no one, even though the family was already homeless once and it was Carl who bought the house back. Her manipulation of Etta in order to quickly make something of herself, her frequent bickering with the rest of her family and V, and some downright uncharacteristically Jerkass episodes were all cited as criticisms against her arc during the season. This continues in Season 8 where she selfishly stops homeless and at-risk youth from receiving housing simply because it would affect her property value.
    • Ian can be pretty divisive among fans; some find him interesting and enjoy his character for his complexities and faults, while others find him dull and undeserving of the attention he gets. A sore spot for the latter is his treatment of Mickey during particular arcs.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Emmy Rossum has expressed annoyance at how often interviewers bring up her (admittedly frequent) nudity on the show. Justin Chatwin is the runner-up for attention he gets for his equally frequent nudity.
  • Broken Base: Bringing Jimmy/Steve for a brief storyline in Season 5. Some were ecstatic to see his return and to have closure on his and Fiona's relationship, while others felt it was a forced and pointless arc for drama that only serves to derail Fiona's attempts to stay on the right track.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Though comedic aspects are certainly present in later seasons, the show becomes a much more serious drama in Season 4, to the point where it can be hard justifying the showmaker's decision to submit the series as a comedy for award consideration.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Naturally, given this show is a Black Comedy.
    • Kev and Veronica's slavery-themed porn.
    • Ethel's backstory in general. Half of her lines involve her casually talking about how she was held down and raped by her elderly "husband" when she had just barely hit puberty, and the other characters just not knowing how to respond.
    • Sammi's... colorful instructions to Chuckie regarding juvie guards in "Carl's First Sentencing".
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: By Season 7, the Cerebus Syndrome combined with so many instances of the Gallaghers being offered good opportunities and chances only for them to screw it all up and go back to their usual ways can lead to this. The little progress they do make just barely keeps the show from being too depressing to watch.
  • Designated Hero: Frank is an abusive, alcoholic mooch and a borderline sociopath, and yet he usually comes out on top in the end.
  • Die for Our Ship: Anyone who gets in the way of Mickey and Ian gets torn down by the fans who ship them.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Mickey gets great character development and genuinely cares about Ian, but to some fans, it's like he's never done anything wrong in his entire time on the show.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Svetlana. Coarse, rude, and one of the funniest characters as the show increasingly embraces Cerebus Syndrome.
    • Carl, starting around Season 5 when he started to get his own storylines and Character Development.
    • Mickey. Go to any video about Shameless on YouTube and you'll see comments asking where Mickey is or demanding his return to the show.
    • Sergeant Luther Winslow and Professor Youens, Carl and Lip's respective Parental Substitutes.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Shameless shares some with Roseanne due to their similarities as shows that are centered around families living on the lower end of the economic ladder struggling to get by. It increased when Roseanne received a revival series in 2017 and Debbie's actress Emma Kenney was cast as the title character's oldest granddaughter Harris.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: When getting DNA tests to determine if Frank is really their father, Lip jokes to Ian about wondering if they can figure out who got the alcoholic gene from Frank. It's Lip himself who later goes on to become a full-blown alcoholic and hits rock bottom.
    • The Gallaghers have been known for stealing things in order to get by or carry out their schemes, but it's usually Played for Laughs, especially in Carl's case, where one of his first appearances involves him stealing a kid's bike in order to get to school. During his arc in season 6, Carl befriends Nick, who, in one of the most disturbing scenes of the show, he finds after the latter murdered a child for stealing his bike.
  • Growing the Beard: Initially, the show wasn't warmly received due to being an American remake of a British comedy and its first few episodes were nearly identical echoes of the original British episodes. By the time the second season came along, it started finding more if its own distinct identity away from its parent show and gained stronger acclaim.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In an episode airing in season 9 (early 2019), Frank defends being part of a drinking contest as "you can't ask LeBron James not to be in the playoffs." Just months later, James' L.A. Lakers team did indeed miss the playoffs, James' first time absent from the post-season since 2006.
  • Hollywood Homely: The way the guys in the bar talk about "Butterface", you'd expect much worse.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Gallaghercest is pretty popular in parts of the fanbase, with Fiona/Lip being the most popular ship.
  • Internet Backdraft: God help you if you say you don't ship Gallavich.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Mandy and Mickey Milkovich both. They're both pretty sleazy, but their father Terry is no doubt even worse than Frank.
    • Frank and Monica, horrible as they might be, have their moments as well.
    • Fiona veers into this territory in Season 4 when she goes off the deep end as a result of her life falling apart around her due to Liam's hospitalization and near brush with death after he accidentally ingests her cocaine. Her rant to Lip about her being glad that "something's finally about [her]" (as they're discussing how she's going to defend herself in court over the accident, which was completely her fault) is a rare moment of pure selfishness, but she's not incorrect. Fortunately, she "gets her shit together" by the end of the season.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Horrible as he often is, Frank's character is a draw in itself for some people.
  • Love to Hate: Frank is a horrible person, but he's just so darned pathetic and William H. Macy plays him so perfectly, it's hard to not feel invested in him.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Frank has done pretty bad things for money but using a dying woman who needs a new heart to get her pension is low even for Frank. Later he destroys her chances to get a new heart and helps her to kill herself by having sex with him. Granted this is Black Comedy though.
    • Frank seemed to be pushing it even further when he attacked Ian for no good reason in the season finale of Season 2, after saying the beer was his. However, going by the previous scene before with Monica had just left for the umpteenth time, Frank's action of wanting to go and get drunk is reasonable but hitting and trying hurt Ian was still heinous.
      • And that wasn't even the first time he physically abused Ian. In episode two, he broke his nose for asking him about his shirt, and then kicked Steve out for calling him out on it.
    • By Season 3, it's really hard to root for Frank anymore. After a drunken bender, he crashes at the house where he messes up things with some of his drunk or high "friends", and then crashes in Debbie's that results in a fight and Debbie's Abraham Lincoln log cabin project to be ruined and dismisses it as being stupid, leading to Debbie losing her shit and attacking Frank. And if that's not bad enough, after he gets tossed out of the house, Frank then calls up Social Services and reports on his own family. It really says a lot when Tommy and Kermit tell him that he "hit a new low even for him".
    • Terry Milkovich has crosses the line so many times, its hard to target the precise moment of his MEH. Beating his own son up because he is gay, forcing a hooker to have sex with him, and later, it's established he screwed his daughter one night in a drunken state, causing her to become pregnant all count. However, the real kick in the ass happens in Season 4's "Emily" where he outright tries to murder Mickey after he came out of the closet. If it wasn't for Ian, Terry would have surely murdered Mickey.
    • Sammi has already had multiple Kick the Dog moments, but she crosses the horizon in the final scene of "South Side Rules" by having Ian taken to jail just when he was starting to make headway with his life and preparing for his first date with Mickey. She did this in revenge for Chuckie's incarceration, which Ian had nothing to do with, but he presented an opportunity for her to get a loved one taken away from the Gallaghers just as Chuckie was taken away from her.
    • The Season 6 finale really removed any good karma Frank built up with Debbie. He crashes Fiona and Sean's wedding to air out all the Gallagher's faults. He drops a bomb by saying Sean is doing heroin again. The Stinger has all of the Gallaghers, Kevin, Veronica and Svetlana dumping Frank off a bridge into the river.
    • Kash leaving behind his wife (who is bedridden and pregnant), children, and the store to run off with his new lover in Season 2. While his unhappiness was understandable, his actions are still no less despicable.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • In "NSFW", Carl finding Nick after the latter beat a child to death with a hammer for stealing his bike is one of the most disturbing scenes of the show. The blood all over the hammer, steps, and Nick himself, the anguished screams of the child's mother, Carl looking into the house and then vomiting, and then plaintively asking Nick why he did it. And Nick himself doesn't even seem to know.
    • While it's Played for Laughs , Sheila's agoraphobia is gut-wrenching, especially once she starts making progress... and then a giant wheel falls out of the sky right in front of her, sending her back to her bedroom for several episodes.
    • The "Gallagher pedicure."
  • Replacement Scrappy: Caleb for Mickey. Fan reaction against him was guaranteed from the start. But the perception that the relationship is leading to shitting all over Mickey and painting Ian as totally innocent in their break up.
    • Trevor has been getting this treatment as well in Season 7, with many fans disappointed that the show introduced a trans character whose writing gives little to no insight to his personality, hobbies, or characterization outside of his identity, and are still waiting and hoping for Mickey to make a return. That Mickey was shown escaping in "Ouroboros" has fans begging for it to be an opportunity to drop Trevor and were disappointed when he didn't.
  • Ron the Death Eater: A subset of the fans who see Caleb as a Replacement Scrappy for Mickey claim that he's also an entitled brat with no right to claim hardships given what the character he's replacing has gone through.
    • After Ian breaks up with Caleb, Trevor became the next target; he's also seen as a Replacement Scrappy and any friction that goes on between him and Ian tends to get blown out of proportion.
  • The Scrappy: For a show like Shameless, there are a quite a few characters that are hated.
    • Karen, for being overall nasty, manipulative and selfish.
    • Frank, due to his horribly selfish actions that lead to all kinds of negative repercussions for others and his utter lack of any repentance.
    • Sammi. While she was more or less enjoyable during Season 4, in Season 5 alone, she has become even more horrible than Frank. She manages to get Carl and Ian arrested (the latter of which was completely uncalled for on her end), as well as shooting Frank in the arm to make him pay attention to her. The final straw for many was her direct role in getting Mickey arrested at the end of Season 5, essentially breaking up the much beloved Gallavich ship. Sammi is shown to be one horrible woman who doesn't care who she screws over to get what she wants.
    • Debbie's popularity took a hit when she hit puberty in Season 4 and became a Bratty Teenage Daughter, but the real drop-off happens in Season 6. She deliberately gets pregnant in a misguided attempt to keep her boyfriend with her, decides to keep it even after he's ditched her, ignores Fiona's warnings that she's making a really bad decision, and refuses to accept the consequences of her actions or even take help from Fiona (who was proven right about Debbie not being ready to take care of a baby). And even after Franny is born, she succeeds on pure luck and is handed almost as many opportunities to succeed by the writers as Frank does. By Season 7, she consistently rates as being the least-liked character on the show.
  • Seasonal Rot: After a score of high-quality seasons, Season 5 was considered one of the weakest seasons of the show, especially in terms of writing. Bringing Steve/Jimmy back was an especially high point of contention, and is often criticized for being a contrived and pointless arc that was never going to go anywhere. The sixth and seventh seasons were marginally better received, only for the eighth season to be met with apathy and criticisms that neither the story nor the characters really went anywhere.
  • She Really Can Act: The series really turned around critical opinion of Emmy Rossum, who had largely been known for middle-of-the-road performances as wide-eyed ingenues, so her turn as the snarky and tough Fiona was a pleasant surprise for many.
  • Special Effect Failure: The obvious and poorly-composited green screen that Steve stands in front of at the end of "I'll Light a Candle For You Every Day" has been singled out for being pretty horrible.
    • Frank trying to light his old homeless house on fire in Season 7 features some flames that are obviously CGI.
  • Squick: In revenge for Sean's beating in the penultimate episode of Season 6, Frank sneaks back into the house and uses Sean's toothbrush to scrub his genitals and ass. When Sean used it the next morning, he seems to notice a bad taste... And then pulls a pube out of his mouth, shrugs, and goes on.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The show received heavy criticism for its depiction of bisexuality and fluid sexuality after Caleb cheated on Ian with a woman. Caleb, the first character on the show to claim to be sexually fluid (not counting Tony, whose out-of-left-field assertion that sex with Fiona "turned him gay," despite having a previous unrelated girlfriend, was bizarre in itself), cheats on Ian with a married woman without a hint of remorse and accuses Ian of being close-minded for not being curious about sex with a woman before asserting that it "doesn't count" if a gay man sleeps with a woman. And when Carl suggests that Caleb is bisexual, Ian scoffs off the idea as if it's either a bad or made-up word. Not only were there complaints from bisexuals that a TV show once more portrayed them as immoral cheaters who are somehow more drawn to committing infidelity because they're attracted to more than one gender, there were complaints from other fans that Ian's sex scene with a woman was longer than any sex scene he'd had with Mickey. Others found it strange that the writers implied that it's only a matter of time before bisexuals cheat when they have temptation from men and women when Ian himself cheated on his partners with few repercussions.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Though the girl who gives Fiona's laundromat a bad Yelp review in "Ouroborous" is portrayed as an upper-class hipster "dumping" on Fiona's investment, it can be really hard to side with Fiona given that the purchase of the laundromat was already shown to be an extremely risky, myopic decision criticized by most of her family, and the girl wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary — and certainly didn't know Fiona's life story before the latter humiliated her on a date, smashed food all over her a shirt, and drove her from the diner in tears. And this is supposed to be an celebratory moment for Fiona.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The viewer is meant to feel bad for Debbie in Season 7 as she struggles to find ways to earn money while taking care of Franny on her own (with Fiona coldly refusing to help look after Franny), and Ian and Lip even both accuse Fiona of being too hard on Debbie when Fiona threatens to kick Debbie out of the house for not pulling her weight. But many argue that Fiona was extremely clear with Debbie during the latter's pregnancy that she was not going to support what she considered a bad decision and was not going to be responsible for the baby, and Debbie's lackluster attempts at finding honest work (a single Dunkin Donuts interview), choosing instead to either demand Fiona give her a job (while refusing to take orders from her), trying to find a boyfriend, or steal from mothers at the park, didn't quite endear her to the viewers. It also didn't help that Debbie's reputation with many viewers as The Scrappy was already longstanding by then.
  • The Woobie:
    • All the Gallagher siblings can be this, but especially Fiona and Debbie.
    • Sheila Jackson when she goes through her agoraphobia.
    • Will. He had to deal with an addict father and even had to save Sean when the latter overdosed and nearly died, and then had to get shuttled between mother and father after they got divorced. When Frank reveals at Sean and Fiona's wedding that Sean is still using heroin, Will looks heartbreakingly disappointed and crushed.

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