Shameless a Brief Cultural Review
With the settling of many ethnic minorities in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the Southside of Chicago has had a reputation for poverty, higher crime rates, and other stereotypes that are associated with lower income status families. The television show Shameless brings the trials and tribulations from the lower income status families of the Southside of Chicago to light through the eyes of the protagonists of the show, the Gallagher family. Although the show focuses on the development of all the characters of the family, and the friends of the family, this paper will only focus on a few of the characters to paint the picture of the cultural views and values expressed by the Gallagher family.
The patriarch of the family is a man called Frank Gallagher. Frank is the father of six children ranging from their early 20’s to 2 years old at the beginning of the show. Frank is a somewhat stereotype character of the drunk, neglectful, Irish father. Frank makes his living as a very well practiced conman taking advantage of not only the governmental welfare system, but also friends, neighbors, and his children. Throughout most of the show, Frank is the only parent that is involved in the lives of the children. As the show develops it is apparent that Frank isn’t only an alcoholic, but a substance abuser of any and all sorts. That can be developed even further to say that Frank has a problem with impulsivity and also instant gratification at pattern that has been often associated with individuals from lower socioeconomic statuses.[footnoteRef:1] [1: Pinker, Steven. How the mind works. New York: Norton, 2009.]
Depending on the perspective view, this can be seen as a beneficial behavioral trait or an advert one. From the cultural perspective of Frank, who somedays is ensure if he is going to have shelter from the cold in the evening or food to eat, partaking in every bit of pleasure that life throws at him does seem to be the better choice. The question to be answered is why is that? Frank is, in essence, an urban hunter-gatherer. His behaviors throughout the series, be it getting close to a dying acquaintance that is on her deathbed to try and gain her inheritance,[footnoteRef:2] to sneaking into the house of his children, after being kicked out of, in order to steal food and sleep in a warm bed [footnoteRef:3] are survival traits and instincts that have been seen throughout history of humans in all hunter-gather societies. Through Frank’s behaviors and choices he makes, a window can be seen to the underlying biological compulsives that provide humans the means to survive in various environments. [2: ""Shameless" I'll Light a Candle for You Every Day (TV Episode 2012)." IMDb. Accessed May 02, 2017. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2108266/?ref_=ttep_ep3.] [3: ""Shameless" Summertime (TV Episode 2012)." IMDb. Accessed May 02, 2017....