It's summertime once again on Shameless, and with the heat comes a whole lot of drama. Sunday's Season 10 premiere of Showtime's most popular drama revealed how the Gallaghers are doing in the wake of Fiona's (Emmy Rossum) departure last season, and it's more or less the same.
Although Debbie (Emma Kenney) has taken over the household finances to ensure that Frank (William H. Macy) doesn't blow it all on drugs, she's not interested in cleaning up after everyone the way that Fiona did. However, being in charge of the family's finances means that Debbie can have a little fun without anyone else knowing; she's running a clothes scheme in which she buys high-end fashion items and then returns them at the last minute, just to allow her the chance to feel happy. Unfortunately, the plan leaves the rest of her family a bit strapped for cash as she holds onto the money for "safe keeping" — and if anything goes wrong with her return game, things are going to get weird fast.
The clothes racket pales in comparison to what Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is dealing with in the Season 10 premiere, though. Tami (Kate Miner) goes into labor and gives birth to their baby boy, but there are complications with the delivery and Tami has to deliver via c-section. At the end of the episode she is still in surgery while Lip holds their newborn.
TV Guide spoke to Shameless executive producer John Wells about crafting the show's first Fiona-less episode, what's ahead for the Gallaghers, and what we can expect from Gallavich when we finally return to them next week.
You make sure to embed Fiona's presence right off the bat. Why did it feel so important to establish that she didn't just ditch this family, especially in the first episode back?
John Wells: We're trying to do something that is realistic to what happens in families where someone who seems central to everything that is going on with the family moves on with their life. Sometimes people get married. Sometimes people move away for a job. Sometimes people have another job opportunity. When that happens, you stay in touch with them but they slowly, over time, you stay less in touch with them than you did at the beginning, no matter how much you love them. We just want to make sure that we're telling the audience that she is gone but not forgotten by the people on the show.
Lip becomes a parent in a very traumatic fashion at the end of the episode. How is this baby going to shake him up in Season 10?
Wells: No matter how much you prepare to have your first child, you really can't imagine how much having a child will change your life. That's going to be very much Lip's experience. It's, as all of us [who] have children know, wonderful and extraordinary and changes everything. Nothing stays the same.
We're not sure what Tami's condition is at the end of the first episode. Can you talk about where that is headed and what it means for Lip's early days as a father?
Wells: They assumed they were going to be parenting together at the beginning. Tami has a very difficult pregnancy, so that leaves much more of the responsibility to Lip. He thinks he knows what he's doing because he's had so many other younger siblings to care for as a child. He's in for a rude awakening. It is a lot harder than he expected.
What can we expect from Debbie's apparent shopping addiction?
Wells: I think she just wants to do something a little nice for herself. She's doing all this work and she wants to have something that makes her feel a little bit more special. It's pretty hard to feel feminine when you're a welder, so she feels like she's deserving for all of the extra effort that she's doing for the family. She's looking out for herself a little bit.
Is she only using her portion of the Fiona money or is she using her siblings' share as well?Wells: She's using a lot of the other siblings' money, but she has that whole system in place so that everything is going to go back in time, so ultimately she won't spend anybody's money. She gets to wear something, return it, wear something, and return it. That's the system she has in place, but like all good systems, you can't really deal with unexpected consequences.
Liam has bonded with Vee (Shanola Hampton) as he tries to dig deeper into his identity. Is he going to have any black male role models to look up to this season?
Wells: Right now he doesn't, but eventually he will. Again, be careful what you wish for.
He's 10-years-old now. Why did this seem like the right time for him to be asking hard questions about who he is?
Wells: Whatever your family history is, that's the age when you really start to look around and think, "Oh, I wonder where I come from?" You become conscious of needing a history, something that helps you understand everyone else around you. Up until that point, you're kind of in that latency period of childhood development and then as you move into your tween years, you're looking around thinking, "I wonder who I am. Do I belong here?" You're increasingly conscious for the first time of everyone else's faults and foibles. That's what's really set him on this journey.
Mikey (Luis Guzman) has moved in with Frank. What does it mean for this family to have a double dose of their dad around?
Wells: [Frank] has his wingman with him. Frank doesn't ever pay that much attention to begin with. Now, with him having a best friend who is an equal [low life], [the kids] are really on their own.
There's a few mentions of Ian (Cameron Monaghan) in the premiere but we don't actually see Ian and Mickey (Noel Fisher) yet. What can we expect when we check in with Gallavich in Episode 2?
Wells: They're in prison. They are trying to have a relationship in prison. It is hard enough to have a relationship when you can get away from each other, but trying to have a relationship when you're sharing the same 9-by-6 foot cell is a real challenge.
What would you call the theme of Shameless Season 10?
Wells: Change in family, in the family dynamics. With Fiona gone, it leaves a huge void in who is going to do what and how people are going to do things within the family. This is them having to really face up to it. There's a tremendous amount of change going on. The children have grown up. They are young adults, having children of their own, having relationships of their own. There's lots of change with Fiona no longer there to be the big sister and protector for everyone.
Shameless airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.
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