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The Boston Globe

Television

Television review

‘Shameless’: Bring on the praise

I occasionally wonder why “Shameless” hasn’t become a critical and awards favorite, not on the level of “Mad Men” but at the upper second tier, beside shows such as “The Good Wife,” “Justified,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “Louie.” Every time I watch an episode of the Showtime series, which returns on Sunday night at 9 for a third season of Gallagher family madness, I am filled with admiration.

The acting is top-notch all around, particularly by William H. Macy, who is seamlessly gonzo as the always drunken Frank, who not only neglects his six kids but adds to their financial and emotional burdens. He steals from them, uses them to manipulate strangers, and hates them when they get in the way of his next drink. In the season premiere, sweet red-haired daughter Debbie (Emma Kenney) is loyally counting the days until Frank returns from one of his binges — he’s in Mexico, but that’s another story — but shortly after he’s back in their Chicago neighborhood, he curses his freckled daughter, and not by name, since he’s forgotten it.

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