'Shameless': Romancing the working class

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One of the aspects that we love about Showtime's American adaptation of "Shameless" is that it doesn't look down on the working class and that was made clear after the creative team and some of the cast appeared at the Television Critics Association Press Tour.

"I love the outrageous situations, but that they're true to life," says William H. Macy, who plays Frank Gallagher. "And there's love at the bottom of all of it."

Loosely based on executive producer Paul Abbott's' challenging childhood in England and informed by his fellow executive producer John Wells' ("ER," "The West Wing") own upbringing in Virginia, they both seem very dedicated to honoring the experience.

"I greatly admire [executive producer] Paul Abbott's writing," says executive producer John Wells. "And how he holds taboo subjects up to the light."

It's those taboo subjects which they seem so dedicated to celebrating. "We enjoy testing the extremities we can go to," says Abbott. "And that's how the audience knows you're looking out for them."

Macy is the patriarch (and we use the word loosely) of the Gallagher family. He's a hard-partying man whose conman tendencies we believe we haven't seen the full extent of yet. The star also sees some honor in the drunken portrayal of Frank Gallagher.

"A lot of people all over this country are toasted right now," jokes Macy. "And I speak for all of them."

In contrast to Macy's character, we have Emmy Rossum's Fiona, who steps into the maternal (and paternal) role and keeps the family intact. Wells calls her the moral center of the show.

"Life can be very funny and very tragic," she says. "I think everyone has stuff that they've been through that makes the fire in their gut."
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