On Sunday’s Season 5 premiere of Shameless (Showtime, 9/8c), Fiona finds herself in a situation that would be the envy of many: More men are interested in her than she knows what to do with.
While the eldest Gallagher is courted by multiple suitors, including returning ex Jimmy/Steve (played by Justin Chatwin), Ian and Mickey reach a new level of domesticity in their relationship — but Ian’s bipolar disorder threatens to throw their romance off the rails.
Not to be outdone, Lip also is juggling loves old and new, and Debbie is just determined to get some lovin’, executive producer Nancy Pimental previews below.
TVLINE | Last season was a very dark, heavy one for Fiona. How is she doing now?
I don’t want to say she’s learned her lesson. I mean, she’s definitely learned her lesson, but she’s still confronted with how to make the best choices. So that is a struggle for her, especially when it comes to guys. There’s like four different guys that she likes this season. So she’s trying to pick who’s the right choice and who’s not the bad boy choice like she usually does.
TVLINE | What do each one of the guys bring to the table?
Dermot [Mulroney’s character is] probably the most self-aware out of all these guys and the most mature. He is the most accountable, and he’s a big 12-step guy. He knows that, according to the bylaws of 12-steps, you’re not supposed to date somebody in this program for a year. Even though he has feelings for [Fiona] and he likes her, he’s very much into abiding by that. So he puts the brakes on her, which we’ve never really seen with a guy before.
Then the extreme of the guys is Davis [played by Axle Whitehead, Australia’s Home and Away], who’s the lead singer of a band. He definitely represents the old bad boy kind of guys that she usually goes for. She, again goes for it, and it kind of backfires a little bit on her. I won’t necessarily tell you how.
Then we have [Tony winner] Steve Kazee this year. He actually represents a good choice. This is what she’s always struggling with all the time: What’s a good choice on paper? But is it stimulating, exciting and passionate enough? Versus what’s not a good choice on paper, but actually excites her and brings her a lot of passion? So that’s what she’s grappling with with him. He’s a good guy, and he’s stable and he loves her, but is it a little boring? Then of course, Jimmy/Steve comes back.
TVLINE | What can you tease about Jimmy/Steve’s return?
He comes in right when [Fiona is] really trying to change her ways and go with Steve Kazee’s character and make the right choice and actually be with somebody who cares about her, who isn’t narcissistic and isn’t a bad boy. But then of course, Jimmy/Steve comes back into the picture. He’s there to rock the boat for sure. Isn’t that always his job?
TVLINE | What’s Frank going to do with his new lease on life?
First of all, in true Frank fashion, now that he has a new lease on life and a new liver, then he doesn’t need Sammy anymore. So that drives her insane, and she realizes that the kids were right, that he’s not a real dad and he’s very narcissistic and he will never be there for her. So she is going to go to all lengths to try to get him to be a dad and to make good on his promise of being a dad. So that throws a big wrench in his way… He realizes that, yes, he has a new lease on life, and yes, he’s going to live now, but he is not necessarily going to completely stop drinking or doing drugs. He knows that his [new] liver has a little bit of a shelf life. So he’s going to leave his mark on this world with the strongest beer on the planet. So he is building a brewery down in Sheila’s basement.
TVLINE | Mickey and Ian had a great growth arc last season. What’s the next step for them?
Just when they’re finally able to get over all of the obstacles and they finally are on the same page of how they feel about each other, then Ian’s bipolar disease really is starting to be a big obstacle for the relationship. [Ian is] really in denial about it, but his behavior is starting to get even more and more glaring. Mickey is really struggling with that, really wants him to go on meds and go see a doctor. The first half of the season, it’s just a push and pull for Mickey to try to gently tell him, “You’ve got to go do this.” Even though there’s so much love in there, they have a great relationship now, this thing is in the relationship, this manic, depressive behavior. And Mickey is very encouraged by the [Gallagher] family to go try to get Ian some help.
TVLINE | What is it like for Lip being home for the summer after having gone away to college?
We’ve been talking about gentrifying the South Side of Chicago [this season]. So we’ve also applied that to some of these characters, and we’ve talked a lot about gentrifying Lip and even gentrifying Fiona. But I really felt like it was pretty prevalent with Lip this season, because he now has a year of college under his belt. When he goes back home, he has new influences. He’s a different person. He’s more educated, he’s more cultured. He sees more opportunity and hope and possibilities for himself. So when he goes back to the South Side, it’s a challenge because he knows that if he plays by the old ways, the South Side rules, that it could potentially land him in jail. He and the Milkovichs and some of the other townies, they’re causing havoc over the summer. He really struggles with what to do, because he doesn’t want to be ostracized in his own hometown, but he also knows that it’s not who he is anymore. So we really see him struggling with having one foot in both worlds.
We have a lot of fun love interests for him this season. When he goes back to school, he starts dating one of his professors [played by Rizzoli & Isles‘ Sasha Alexander], and she’s a married professor. She just opens up his world to a whole new way of life, a whole new cultural exposure.
TVLINE | And what’s in store for the younger Gallaghers?
Everybody’s going to freak out over Debbie because she’s just rarin’ to go to have sex. I will not give it away, but she goes to very creative lengths. She’s growing up, and she is kind of a county girl. She wants to have a boyfriend, and she wants that kind of stability in her life. A lot of these girls in this neighborhood just want to get pregnant and get married and find a nice guy. We, at first, thought she might become like Lip, that she’s that smart, but she really is just a girl who wasn’t raised by a dad, who wants stability. So she has creative ways of going about doing that.