Here’s the recipe for my seventh annual “Shameless” soufflé, which should be shared with people you love. It will serve millions Sunday night at 9 p.m.
1. Take a pinch of Charles Dickens’s compassion for children being raised in poverty by irresponsible adults, and sprinkle it over a slab of American remake of a British series by John Wells and Paul Abbott. The granules will add a nice gritty quality to the surface.
2. Place the remake in a Showtime pot, in a Chicago oven, at a very high temperature. Make sure it gets fully baked, like the addict-antihero Frank Gallagher, the father of six, played with seriocomic brilliance by William H. Macy.
3. Meanwhile, in a pan, add a collection of remarkable supporting performances by the actors who play the Gallagher kids. Stir them together over heat, and each one will become more tender, particularly Jeremy Allen White as Lip, the brilliant poor kid grappling with elite academic culture. Lip will remain unyielding, as he gets turned in circles, but his core will become slightly more malleable over time.
4. Watch the pan closely and keep your eye on Emmy Rossum as the show’s true lead, Fiona, the oldest Gallagher kid. She will hold together beautifully throughout the cooking process, ultimately remaining independent even though she gets stuck on other pieces in the pan again and again.
5. Mix the actors with the show, and serve warm but not overheated, as the best family dramas should be.