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  • Writer's pictureRachel Beckmann

A Shameless Spinoff

Defining the UK’s Shameless versus its American Counterpart


Of course, you know your story of the Gallaghers-- the shameless family living in the run-down council estate in Stretford, Greater Manchester. For us Americans across the pond, however, the address of 2119 S Homan Ave, Chicago, IL 60623 is where it all started. Whether it be Frank Gallagher recovering from alcohol poisoning the night before (or this morning), or Fiona’s desperate attempt at finding true love in the southside of Chicago, this run-down building was home to the American TV spinoff of the UK’s Shameless.

As a native Chicagoan myself, I have personally visited the Gallagher house and could have sworn that The Alibi (or rather, The Jockey for you all) could have been perched down the road-- that is, until I learned that was one of several locations which were instead shot in Los Angeles, California.The most shocking aspect as an American, though, would have to be learning (only after Netflix-binging the entire US series) that Shameless is simply a spinoff of its United Kingdom counterpart. As clueless as I may have seemed, it also is understandable as they both could stand well enough alone.

And, it is true, there is similarity in the UK and US version: an average low-income family simply trying to get their shit together while other parts of their life go down the drain, so to speak. The genuine perspective of the family dynamic that Shameless offers brings a sense of universality to its audience, and offers a unique perspective of what it means to be a ‘dysfunctional’ everyday family. There’s highs and there are lows, no matter where you live. This may be quite the reason why Shameless works well for both UK and US versions.

Without giving any spoilers away, it is curious to see the portrayal of the two series and how they differ. Put simply, the US version of Shameless allows for you to truly know the characters involved, as within the original UK version, characters tend to drop off throughout the course of the series. Characters differ slightly and the plotline is altered a bit throughout with a particular difference near the end, and so, as an avid watcher of Shameless US, I encourage you to hop onto the television and see for yourself the specific differences and where you see them occur.


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