Shameless is back for a landmark 10th season (beginning Nov. 10 at 8pm ET/PT) on Showtime, and it promises to bring all of the craziness you expect from the Gallagher clan. One thing is for sure — the show still hasn’t run out of stories to tell. “We’ve been watching the family members grow up, with the exception of Frank [William H. Macy], who will never grow up,” said executive producer John Wells. “So their lives keep changing, they keep having different challenges. That gives us a lot of material to work with.”
Of course, this time the show is returning without its golden girl Fiona, played by Emmy Rossum, who at the end of Season 9 fled Chicago for places unknown. “We get to deal with all of those issues about what happens in a family when somebody who has been so central to the life of the family leaves. And how do people fill in for everything that she was doing before?” asks Wells. “Debbie [Emma Kenney] feels it’s kind of her responsibility to take over, but everybody else is like, ‘Who? Why? We don’t need another big sister. We had one and we loved her and now she’s gone, thank God, so we can actually breathe.’”
But with the departure of Rossum comes the return of another Gallagher sibling, Ian (Cameron Monaghan), who left the show in the early part of Season 9 and whose storyline culminated with a prison sentence. Monaghan is back full time, along with Noel Fisher, who plays his cellmate and lover Mickey Milkovich. Though the two start things off still incarcerated, expect that to change over the course of the season. “Nobody stays in prison forever. How [does] he go through that whole process of parole? … He’s not going to spend 20 years in prison for what he did,” said Wells.
After 10 years, the show remains fresh by continuing to show what life is like for many people across the country. “In the United States, it really is more and more difficult for people to rise above their existing station. And for these people it’s one step forward, two steps back. We satirize it, we try and make fun and have a good time, so that you’re laughing about it. But it is really, really difficult to actually get yourself out of this working-class poverty,” Wells explained. “And all the stories that we tell have some versions of that in there, whether it be dealing with alcoholism or drug dependency or how difficult it is to work in a gig economy, unionism and just the overall political situation in the country.”