For those of us that have endured 8 long seasons of Frank’s shenanigans, an endless sea of Gallagher children that just don’t seem to stop popping out, and one too many of Fiona’s “boyfriends,” here’s a list of all the characters that we know and may or may not love, ranked from best to worst.
**** ALERT: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD ****
“I am whatever I need to be at the time I need to be it.” – Frank, Season 3
Frank Freaking Gallagher. He is one of those characters that you completely despise at first, because you can’t understand why he HAS to scheme his way out of literally EVERYTHING, all the while reciting some long monologue about what a “hardworking American” he is.
As the seasons go on, you realize that being a total scumbag and screwing over anyone and everyone that he can (including his children) is actually part of his charm. Shoutout to you Daddy Frank. We love you, we hate you, and we love to hate you.
“I just need someone to say, 'F*** it. This kid deserves a chance.'” – Lip, Season 5
Lip Gallagher could completely ruin my entire life (*cough cough*: Mandy Milkovich) and I would personally thank him. Looks aside, the only thing more attractive than Lip’s physical appearance is his brain.
The combination between his rugged, street-kid exterior, yet low-key GENIUS interior makes him truly irresistible. He’s constantly found to be the family’s much-needed voice of reason when Fiona is absent and seems to be perhaps the only Gallagher child who’s completely immune to the schemes of his conniving parents.
Yet, although one of the most attractive and intelligent, he is also one of THE MOST frustrating characters on the show, managing to somehow continually screw-up all the many, many chances he’s met with. Still, we always find ourselves rooting for Lip because, well, he’s Lip.
“I already had my first woody in history class, talking about how Marie Antoinette's head got chopped off.” – Carl, Season 2
Probably one of the most developed characters on the show, Carl’s presence on my screen never ceases to make me laugh.
Whether he’s potential serial-killer Carl who likes to microwave Barbies, corn-row Carl on the corner, or Cadet Corporal Carl, he is one of the most diverse and enjoyable characters on the show, and he hustles like absolutely no one else.
The only category Carl could perhaps improve in is his choice of lovers (a.k.a. please dump Kassidy). But it’s okay, we still love you.
“Circle doesn’t start with an ‘S’? What the f*** !?” – Kevin, Season 2
Do I even need to explain? Kevin is the most kind-hearted, loveable and truly genuine character on the show. His love for Veronica and the twins, and unwavering loyalty to his closest friends is truly admirable and his cluelessness about life will warm your heart.
Girls love him because he’s a giant teddy bear and guys envy him for his off-the-chain sex life with Veronica. Honestly, everyone deserves to have a Kev in their life (or at least a Bart from Kentucky).
“Oh, don’t mind me. I accidentally took three of my pills instead of one.” – Sheila, Season 1
Sheila is a national treasure. A true saint. When you first meet her, you’re just like “who’s this crazy lady with the dildo fetish that won’t leave her house?” But as the show goes on, you get to see how much she truly cares about the people in her life, and how she always goes out of her way to help absolutely anyone.
You start to sympathize with her, particularly with her agoraphobia and eventually find yourself completely invested in her pursuit to finally leave her house, cheering her on with every (literal) step she takes. I don’t know where you are right now Sheila, but I hope you are living your best life.
“Too much is wrong with me. That’s the problem, isn’t it? Too much is wrong with me, and you can’t do anything about that. You can’t change it. You can’t fix me, ‘cause I’m not broken, I don’t need to be fixed, okay? I’m me!” – Ian, Season 5
Another character that we constantly find ourselves sympathizing with. His journey is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, having to constantly overcome emotional and psychological obstacles that no other character deals with.
Despite his occasional mess-ups, you always find yourself rooting for Ian to succeed, whether it’s through his and Mickey’s relationship, his battle with his Bipolar disease, his road to becoming an EMT, his efforts to win back Trevor, or even his new identity as “Gay Jesus.” Ian is a character who goes through several cycles of self-realization and continues to reinvent himself throughout the seasons, which only makes us love him even more.
“I just want everybody here to know: I’m f***ing gay. Big ol’ mo. I thought everybody should know that.” – Mickey, Season 5
If you don’t like Mickey, then I don’t like you. And if you’re not Team Ian and Mickey, then I REALLY don’t like you. (Let’s all agree that Trevor is pretty irrelevant and kind of annoying). No matter how tough he acts and how much he tries to hide it, Mickey is completely and utterly in love with Ian and honestly, I’m all here for it. We see his true colors shine when he sticks by Ian’s side through his Bipolar episodes, doing anything and everything he can to help him.
After watching everything they’ve been through, you’re lying to yourself if you say you weren’t secretly hoping Ian would run away with Mickey to Mexico and leave everything behind. *Sigh* There’s always Season 9, right?
“I don’t care if I can’t drink or take your drugs, I got Doritos! Doritos are like crack! I might even snort ‘em.” – Veronica, Season 4
Ok, who doesn’t love V? She tells it like it is, is funny as hell, and extremely loyal to her friends. Guys want to marry her and girls either want to be her, be friends with her, or even marry her as well. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that V plays for both teams, and she doesn’t discriminate.
She’ll steal an old lady from a nursing home, make her husband have sex with her mom, nurse all the Gallagher children back to health, pour you up shots at The Alibi, and do it all in 7-inch heels and booty shorts. She’s my idol.
“Yes! It’s about me! Okay, because it’s never about me and I’m finally making it about me.” – Fiona, Season 4
You either love her or you hate her, hence her placement in the middle of the rankings. Fiona is a tornado of a character, constantly struggling with being the glue that holds the entire Gallagher clan together, attempting to pursue a better life for herself, and not to mention juggling a plethora of poorly chosen lovers who only contribute to her emotional chaos.
Her character is raw, unapologetically authentic, and embodies many of the themes that Shameless centers on. She’s complicated and she’s kind of a bitch, but she’s definitely a bad-ass one at that. Keep doing you Fi, just try to stay away from your bosses, your bosses’ brothers, junkies, and car thieves!
“You’re afraid that if I keep on showing up and actually helping, that you’ll like it. And liking it will lead to relying on it, and by relying on it, you’ll be less of the you you’ve made yourself into; a kick-ass you that you like, and I like too. But you’re afraid that if you learn to rely on me, then one day, when you really need me to show up, I won’t.” – Steve, Season 1
Jimmy-Steve!!!! Alright, let’s get real: he was sort of a scumbag. He lied, and lied, and lied, wormed his way back in again, only to lie and leave again. Deceit aside, Jimmy-Steve was a pivotal part of Shameless. He stuck it out through all the bad times and provided much-needed strength whenever the Gallagher family was in complete shambles.
He seemed to perfectly balance being the backbone for Fiona when she needed it, yet was romantic and sexy all at the same time. Let’s also acknowledge that he and Fiona’s sex life was absolutey, ridiculously good.
Their story was one of the most relatable ones throughout the show, taking us through all the stages in a relationship, up until that final heartbreaking moment when Fiona asks him to let her, let him go (*sheds a tear thinking about it*). Fiona has yet to have a love as dynamic as her and Jimmy-Steve’s again, which I think is a sign that we haven’t really seen the last of him. #TeamJimmySteve, forever.
"Just because we were born here, doesn’t mean that we end up here.” – Mandy, Season 6
Girls, we’ve all been a Mandy at one point. And guys, you’ve all had a Mandy in your life at one point too. Mandy’s dedication and love for Lip were so real, it almost made you feel bad for her. She did so much for him, and all he ever did was take her for granted and treat her like trash.
Her clingy tendencies were only a symptom of her deeply-rooted feelings for him and always came from a good place. Nothing speaks to Mandy’s thoughtfulness and consideration more than when she applies to a bunch of colleges for Lip because she didn’t want someone as smart as him to get stuck in their neighborhood.
She was the reason he got to go to college, and by the time he realizes her worth, it’s way too late. Her character allowed the audience to relate to an instance where they’ve been taken for granted and truly hit home for a lot of us.
“Everything I say is bullsh*t, but you believe me because I have accent and I never smile.” – Svetlana, Season 6
Russian prostitute turned mom, turned bar-owner, turned trophy wife? I honestly don’t even know. What I do know is that Svetlana is one of the most underrated characters on Shameless. She is extremely intelligent, calculated, and excruciatingly blunt.
She’s even funny at times, especially with her lack of patience when dealing with Kev and V’s lack of business smarts. Svetlana makes moves like no other character and is a true hustler, and for that, you can never really hate her.
13. Professor Youens.
“We have only two jobs on this earth: the first, to learn, the second, to cope.” – Professor Youens, Season 6
To truly understand Professor Youens contribution to Shameless, you have to watch all the way through Season 8. Youens is yet another frustrating character. We first meet him as Lip’s gifted Physics professor who forms a close-bond with him, taking Lip under his wing. He acts as a sort of father-figure for Lip, and we grow to cherish their relationship, which has its own ups and downs.
Youens helps Lip through his alcoholism, constantly sets him up with work opportunities, and even pays for his rehab, only to have Lip disappoint him time after time. As the seasons go on, we see the roles flip as Youens’s alcoholism begins to overtake him, and its Lip who is now constantly let down, despite doing everything in his power to save Youens and keep him out of jail.
He was one of the best and worst things that happened to Lip, which makes placing him kind of tricky, but ultimately, he was one of the only characters who knew and cared for Lip in a way that no other character really did.
“Can we maybe find another house to rob? Dylan’s my friend.” – Liam, Season 8
I honestly still don’t really know how or why Liam is Black. I’m not sure anyone does. His complicated lineage aside, Liam’s character comes to the forefront in Season 8 as he forms a close bond with Frank, acting as his right-hand man.
Liam has a carefree and aloof exterior, constantly showcasing that he has nothing but good intentions. He seems to not have let his dysfunctional family affect him and is honestly quite…… normal. Maybe he really isn’t a Gallagher (?)
“I wanna tell you something, but… I don’t really wanna talk about it because I’m not sure how I feel about it, and… I don’t wanna be told how to feel.” – Debbie, Season 5
Debbie just sucks. No explanation needed.
“I don’t wanna be me anymore.” – Monica, Season 2
Monica is the root of most of the show’s emotional chaos, and for that, I sort of resent her, as do most of the Gallagher children. Just when you’d start buying into Monica’s “Mom of the Year” act, she’d enter into another drug-induced downward spiral of some kind, leaving you even more heartbroken and distrusting than before.
And you were just an audience member; imagine the Gallagher children. On the other hand, Monica and Frank’s love, although utterly toxic, was sometimes kind of cute. Yet that will never take away from Monica’s ability to always screw her children over, even from beyond the grave (*cue the Gallagher family digging her out of her grave to retrieve the Meth she left them*
“Addicts are selfish a**holes. We don’t care who we hurt.” – Sean, Season 8
Sean was a hypocritical, self-centered, lying junkie. He creeped me out from the moment he came on the show, and I never really understood why Fiona was so infatuated with him.
Then again, I never really understand any of her romantic choices. This was easily her worst one. Sean, you suck. Please never come back.
“I screwed Timmy Wong as much as I screwed you. I never said it was your baby, you just wanted it to be.” – Karen, Season 2
A true demon. I have honestly never hated a character on a show as much as I DESPISED Karen’s entire existence. A sort of sociopath, Karen’s heartlessness and selfishness is epitomized when she not only lies to Lip about her baby being his, but also when she refuses to take care of him because he’s born with Down Syndrome (not to mention she refers to the baby as an “It”).
Even more annoying than Karen’s psychotic tendencies (let’s not forget the 'Daddy’s Girl' incident), is the fact that Lip is somehow in love with her.
WHY!? We’ll never know.
Thank God karma eventually catches up with her, and that karma is my main girl Mandy. Shoutout to you Mandy for incapacitating one of the most unpleasant and undeserving characters in TV history and ridding "Shameless" of Karen’s bad vibes forever.