By Nate Millado
No shame in their game: If there are two things the Gallaghers are really good at, it's knowing how to get back up—and knowing how to party! But after 11 seasons, who would've thought that the family that puts the "fun" in dysfunctional would also be really good at inspiring deep thoughts and profound messages?
As Shameless comes to a close on Sunday, April 11, we look back at a dozen life lessons Frank & Co. learned from the school of hard knocks.
Lesson No. 1: Make Time For "Me" Time.
Although to be Frank, when you use Liam as collateral for a stupid bet, fake Carl's "cancer" to exploit the kindness of strangers, or call child protective services on your own kids—it's "me" time all the time for the selfish Gallagher patriarch!
Lesson No. 2: Be A Good Listener.
And if lending an ear also involves extending a drink, even better!
Lesson No. 3: Where To Find The Best Gifts.
If neglect is the best gift you can give, then Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) is the most generous Chicagoan since Oprah.
Lesson No. 4: When Opportunity Calls…
Lesson No. 5: Pay It Forward.
"Right your wrongs and help others do the same," said Carl Gallagher (Ethan Cutosky). Of course, Carl's sage advice was directed at a detoxing drug addict he was holding hostage in the Gallagher basement. Words to live by nonetheless.
Lesson No. 6: Love Is Love Is Love.
Was it Lin-Manuel Miranda who said "love is love is love" after accepting a Tony Award for Hamilton…or Frank Gallagher after a closeted bisexual husband outed himself? Regardless, love is love and nothing on Shameless exemplifies this better than Ian and Mickey (Noel Fisher)—at times a dangerously unhealthy relationship, at times the series' most stable union. Who didn't shed a tear during the Gallavich wedding at the end of Season 10?!
Lesson No. 7: When All Else Fails…
When the smartest Gallagher gives advice, it's not just Lip (Jeremy Allen White) service. "You're a Gallagher, right?" he tells Ian. "Always lie."
Lesson No. 8: Embrace Book And Street Smarts.
Liam (Christian Isaiah) may be the youngest Gallagher, but he's easily the most resourceful one. With Frank's help, Liam uses his street smarts to pursue education—even earning a scholarship to private school. This Gallagher is going places!
Lesson No. 9: Know When To Seek Medical Attention.
Get treatment when required (ahem, Debbie), but don't abuse the system and treat the ER like a Holiday Inn (cough cough, Frank).
Lesson No. 10: Invest In Yourself.
Because of her deadbeat parents Frank and Monica, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) had to step it up as the sole caretaker—and her scrappy hustle always put food on the table. But after being her siblings' rock for nine seasons, the eldest Gallagher sib finally makes good on her promise and sets out on her own! Fiona doesn't leave her family high and dry, though; she gives $50K to Debbie before hopping on a plane to…somewhere.
Lesson No. 11: Love Thy Neighbors.
It takes a village to survive on the South side, and the Gallaghers couldn't have gotten by without help from their friends Kevin and Veronica.
Lesson No. 12: Family Is Family.
The one throughline over 11 Shameless seasons is that family is everything. Remember that when we first meet the Gallagher clan, they all chip in to pay the electric bill. They might fight (a lot!), but they'll always have each other's backs.
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