The Gallagher family officially enters a new phase when Shameless returns for Season 10 this Sunday: life without their matriarch Fiona.
Now that the eldest sibling (played by Emmy Rossum) has exited the Showtime dramedy, power dynamics have shifted within the clan, executive producer John Wells shares in the following Q&A. Off-setting Fi’s departure are the series-regular returns of Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher), but love behind bars won’t be easy for the jailhouse couple.
Read on as Wells previews the difficulties awaiting “Gallavich,” Lip’s journey into fatherhood and much more.
TVLINE | How does not having Fiona around change the dynamics within the family?
Everybody has to figure out what their new roles are in the situation. So it’s very much like a big sister who always gets everything together leaving to get married or go to college or get a job in another city. It’s something that I think most of us are familiar with, that people who are really important to us and to our lives leave to go somewhere else, and it doesn’t seem like it’ll be possible to figure out how to survive without them, and then everybody sort of shifts into new roles and takes on other responsibilities. Suddenly, you’re not talking to them all the time anymore like you thought you would be. So that’s really what happens in the family. They don’t think they can do it without her, and then everybody starts to move into taking different responsibilities. Debbie, very much, wants to feel that it’s her responsibility to now become Fiona, much to the irritation of all of her siblings. Lip’s trying to pick up a little bit of the slack, but doesn’t really want the gig, and everybody else’s like, “Debbie shouldn’t have anything to say to me.”
TVLINE | Are they keeping in touch with Fiona? Do we get any mention or update of how she’s doing or where she is?
Yeah, I mean, we keep up with people in our lives who move far away, but it’s always that thing of where there’s a lot of it at first and then increasingly, it’s like, “Geez, we haven’t talked in a long time. How are you?” So it’s very much that dynamic. She doesn’t just get blown off the face of the earth. We hear about her and hear from her.
TVLINE | Going back to Debbie, how is having all this money going to affect her? And what she’s going to do with it?
That’s exactly what the first few episodes are about. She’s actually got some power in the family, and she plans to use it. Fiona left her in charge of that dough that she left, so that’s a big part of the dynamic of the first part of the season.
TVLINE | Does it create any tension with any of the siblings?
Yeah, I’ve never been involved in any family situations in which somebody having more money didn’t cause all sorts of complications. So yeah, I think you could say that people are not pleased, particularly Frank, that Debbie has now got her hands on the purse strings.
TVLINE | What is Frank up to?
One of the wonderful things about someone like Frank, who’s a narcissist, is he never seems to really evolve. He’s always doing exactly what he was doing before. The one thing that you can depend upon with Frank is he’s never dependable. He’s looking for a bromance, for somebody else to hang out with, and that’s what happens at the beginning. He finds a familiar face from the past to come and hang out with him, and that’s Mikey, and they have a great bromance at the beginning of the season.
TVLINE | How is Lip adjusting to fatherhood?
Oh boy, how do any of us adjust to fatherhood at the beginning? It’s wonderful and a shock all at the same time. And he’s trying to figure what this relationship is going to be with Tami, a woman he’s had a child with. How is that actually going to work? Are they going to fall in love based on having this child together? Or is it going to be something where they realize that they didn’t belong together? That’s really the dilemma that they’re trying to figure out.
TVLINE | I’m really curious to find out what they name the baby boy.
It has some history to it.
TVLINE | Moving on to Ian and Mickey, what is it like for them to juggle being cellmates and being in a relationship at the same time?
That cell is six feet wide by 10 feet long, and they’re in there 22 hours a day. So you can imagine being stuck in that kind of space with anyone, even if you love them or care about them, it’s not an easy place to be. So I feel badly for them. It’s “careful what you wish for.”
TVLINE | Are they in a more committed place now?
Yeah, I think part of what happens now for gay couples is you have to decide whether you’re going to get married or not. You didn’t use to have to decide that. So there’s great joy to the fact that you now have that right and opportunity, and also, “Uh oh. I don’t have the excuse anymore about how we’re going to create a committed relationship.” So there’s quite a bit about that this year.
TVLINE | You cast Rachel Dratch as Ian’s parole officer, so I’m assuming he’s gonna make it out of prison at some point this season.
She is the parole officer from hell, the one that you would never want to have.
TVLINE | Mickey’s crimes are a bit more serious, so I don’t think it’s gonna be as easy for him to get out. How does that relationship change once one of them is on the outside?
You know, it’s hard to stay committed to somebody you’re not with, even though you really want to be. So not easy.
TVLINE | What’s next for Carl?
He wants to change the world, and yet, he’s not really up to it. He’s back out of school eventually this year, and he’s gotta then figure out what he’s going to do with his life, if he can pursue the military or not. Is that really what he wants to do? He’s back at Captain Bob’s, dropping some frozen shrimp into a fryer and trying to figure out what he should do with his life.
TVLINE | How is his relationship?
He and Kelly are still trying to make something work, but she’s headed off to Annapolis.
TVLINE | What’s in store for Liam?
[He’s exploring], “How am I going to figure out how to be a strong young black man in America, growing up around these white people?” So he’s on a search for his identity, and V is somebody who’s going to help him with that.
TVLINE | And what is this identity crisis that Kev’s facing?
His age. It’s a horrible moment for anyone who’s been an athlete and depended upon physical prowess, where you realize you can’t do everything that you used to do. And that’s what he’s got to come up against. “Wait a second, if I’m not that guy, if I’m not the strongest guy in every room, if I’m not the best basketball player, football player, whatever it is for anything that I go to do, who am I?” These are shocking, sad moments.