Showtime dramedy bows out after 11 seasons
It’s three days after “Shameless” wrapped filming after 11 seasons and reality hasn’t completely set in yet for Jeremy Allen White.
Yes, in his mind he knows the Showtime dramedy is no longer and so is his character of brilliant though troubled oldest male sibling Phillip “Lip” Gallagher. And thanks to the pandemic there was no formal wrap party to put a coda to things, just a small dinner outside series star William H. Macy’s house for cast and producers. That became their official farewell to one another.
The series returns for its 132nd and final chapter Sunday, April 11, marking a farewell to the rough-and-tumble Gallagher clan of Chicago’s South Side. The finale, which executive producer John Wells has hinted will be more just another day in the life rather than a conclusion, finds White’s Lip settling for a new job, Debbie (Emma Kenney) facing a dangerous new world and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) finding a purpose with the police force. Elsewhere, Kev and V (Steve Howey, Shanola Hampton) look to sell the Alibi while Ian and Mickey (Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher) are in a buying mood, going furniture shopping. And Frank (Macy), struggling with dementia, faces his mortality.
For White, his 11-year stint on “Shameless” represents a significant chunk of his life. He was 18 and just out of high school when he auditioned for the role of Lip. Now 30, he’s taken somewhat of a parallel journey with the character, having gotten married and become a father for the first time. Of course, he never sold pot out of an ice cream truck, gone into rehab or gotten kicked out of college as did Lip, but he did learn a lot about himself as an actor and a person. In some ways, he looks up to Lip.
“At that point in my life when I was 18,” White reflects, “there was just like this idea of maybe who I wanted to be when I was older and I think I got to put a lot of that into Lip … . So in those first couple of years, there was like this fun thing where Lip got to say all the things that I wish I could have said or he got to do some of the things that Jeremy never had the courage to do. And I think that never really stopped. You know, I think I got to kind of live vicariously through Lip, which was a blast.”
As for what he’ll miss most about “Shameless,” White says it’s the companionship.
“I’m never really going to grow the way I have on this show, on another show,” he says. “And while I’m hopeful about the sort of like richness and full relationships I could have on other jobs in the future, I just don’t know if it’s in the cards to have the same experience. … I know that this was special and it won’t happen quite like this again.”