Felicity Huffman decided to live out her husband, William H. Macy's character on "Shameless," by paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to have a proctor correct her older daughter's answers on the SAT. She considered taking the same shameless action for her younger daughter, but decided against it.
Macy has played a starring role in the series that depicts the poor, dysfunctional family of Frank Gallagher, a single father raising six children. He spends his days drunk or in search of misadventures, and his children learn to take care of themselves. Trouble is, in real life, Macy or his wife are not supposed to take actions that might land them in jail. That's for other people, who don't have a sense of shame.
In fact, "Shameless" isn't supposed to be about Macy, Huffman, or any of the people they hang out with. It's supposed to be about other people, despite producer John Wells effort to avoid obvious Hollywood emblems of trailer part trash, like placing the show in the South or in a trailer park. Evidently people in the South live in trailer parks for than people in California or everywhere else.
"We have a comedic tradition of making fun of the people in those worlds," he said. "The reality is that these people aren't 'the other'—they're people who live four blocks down from you and two blocks over.”
Or maybe in the Macy / Huffman household.
“Shameless” pushes the envelope in the sense that instead of being remorseful from living a destructive, lawless lifestyle, it attempts to find humor and even revel in it. In other words, be lawless and reckless and show no remorse. It’s quite a contrast to the behavior of Huffman during her sentencing:
The truth is that the kind of lifestyle depicted in “Shameless” brings with it a good deal of contact with the law, police, and plenty of jail time for parents. Indeed, there is a long history of producing shows that depict people who get in trouble with the law for general drunkenness, including COPS and other shows that feature ordinary traffic stops.
The irony is that people like Macy and Huffman are supposed to be above things depicted in “Shameless” for the simple reason that they are rich beyond their wildest dreams. When Wells talks about people who live four blocks down from us and two blocks over, they are not talking about Huffman and Macy.
Here is Huffman’s statement during here sentencing:
"I'm sorry to you, judge. I am deeply sorry to the students, parents and colleges impacted by my actions. I am sorry to my daughters and my husband. I have betrayed them all.
Huffman said her daughter Sophia asked why she didn't believe in her.
"I had no answer," Huffman said. "I can only say I'm so sorry, Sophia. I was frightened, I was stupid, and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done. I have done more damage than I could ever imagine. I realize now with my mothering that love and truth go hand in hand. I take full responsibility for my actions."
Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in jail and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine for her role in a sprawling college admissions scandal involving rich and famous families who funneled cash to fixers in order to get their kids into the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities.
She must self-report to a facility chosen by the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Oct. 25. She also received one year of probation and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.
Huffman’s husband also shoed remorse, and wrote letters asking for mercy. He claimed that their relationships with their daughters "exploded" after Huffman's arrest in March. These are not the actions or sentiments of Frank Gallagher, his wife or girlfriends. To get a sense of what Macy should have done as Gallagher, let's look at the show.
Here are the descriptions of the first season of “Shameless” from TV . com:
Frank Gallagher, a father of six, spends more time partying than raising his kids, so his eldest daughter Fiona provides adult supervision for her younger siblings. When Fiona is robbed, she meets a handsome young man, while Lip makes a discovery about Ian.
One: Frank the Plank: Frank When Frank goes out on a Friday night, he disappears and misses to cash his disability check. He wakes up in Toronto, but has no recollection of what happened.
Two: Aunt Ginger: When the Department of Social Security starts asking who is cashing the social security checks of their elderly Aunt Ginger, the Gallaghers have to find her before the woman from the Department returns to interview Aunt Ginger. In the meantime, Ian gets into trouble with the brothers of a girl he rejected.
Three: Casey Casden: The Gallaghers are in deep trouble when Debbie who is devastated by Aunt Ginger's parting kidnaps a toddler from a birthday party. They try to find a way to bring the toddler back before someone is arrested.
Four: Three Boys: When the Gallagher's find out Veronica comes from a wealthy family, they try to scheme a fake wedding for the dowry. Meanwhile, Frank gets some bad news about his health.
Five: Killer Carl: Lip is caught taking the SAT for other students. In the meantime, Ian and Kash fail to stop Kash and Grab being robbed and Fiona receives a letter from Carl's teacher.
While “Shameless” attempts to find humor in lawless activities and a general state of brokenness, the truth is that it’s nothing to laugh at, as we can see from the behavior of an actress like Huffman and her husband. Her husband acted like a responsible husband before and during his wife’s sentencing, not wanting her to spend any more time in jail, separated from her than necessary, for the sake of him and their two daughters.
The truth is that Hollywood does not find the behavior of Macy and Huffman attractive, or worth creating a narrative for in a series for HBO, Showtime or Netflix. Hollywood in a sense, revels in dysfunction, in destruction, in destructive lifestyles and somehow sees redemption in this kind of behavior.
It would prefer to create some kind of mythic, random narrative that allows the main character to somehow escape jail time, since it would be much more restrictive to create a plot inside the confines of a cell. The reality is that people and families who are caught up in a “Shameless” lifestyle do not live long enough or spend enough time outside of jail or juvenile detention to make a narrative remotely possible.
As well, people and families in these situations often turn to God and organizations like the Salvation Army because of addictions and at risk behavior. In a sense, the producers and writers for “Shameless” create their own random and often impossible redemption that is acceptable to society, only so the series can continue.
But the same is truth of other popular series that involved crime, like “The Sopranos.”
The upshot is that although most people can probably understand why Macy and Huffman would act how they did. Their behavior is simply not inspiring enough to make it into a plot for “Shameless,’ or any other drama or movie, other than one that features Christian morals and sentiments. And we all know what Hollywood thinks about those emotions.
In short, we need Gallagher back so that people can watch another edition of "Shameless." So get rid of your remorse Mr. Macy. Don’t ask for mercy. “Shameless” needs the real Frank Gallagher back so your family can continue to live a life of luxury and pay tuition for schools like Stanford, Harvard and Yale.
The good news is that Macy and Huffman won’t have to pay tuition for their oldest daughter, Sophia Grace Macy, just yet. She has decided to take time off because of the scandal.
© 2019 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
Many news articles are blatantly biased against Christians and conservatives in the news media, movies and culture.
Read his exclusive articles and columns that bring balance to mainstream, leftist and liberal thinking on a variety of topics.