The new season of Shameless premieres this Sunday, and one of the shows producers recently teased how the final go-around for the Gallagher family will handle the COVID-19 pandemic. The upcoming eleventh season for Shameless will be the shows last, and it will also feature real life situations, such as mask mandates and city lockdowns due to coronavirus. While speaking to TV Line, Shameless executive producer John Wells revealed the plans for how the South Side Chicago family will manage through all this.
Wells explained that planned issues such as gentrification will remain, but that they also added in elements related to job loss and loss of income. "So dealing with how many jobs have been lost and how much tougher it’s gotten for people who were already barely hanging on — and trying to make it funny," he shared, explaining that the show has always been satire and so they have to find the appropriate balance between mocking the situation and accurately satirizing it with their established characters. "Very serious issues about what we’re all confronting, economically, particularly for people like the Gallaghers [and] their world, who really live paycheck to paycheck and are very much a part of that cohort of [people] who don’t have 400 bucks in the bank to deal with even minor problems and things that come up."
Wells also explained that city lockdowns will also be referenced and will have an impact on the characters. "Well, the bars have been shut down for a lot of the time and then reopened and shut down again in Chicago, so we’re dealing with that at The Alibi," he shared. "The amount of business that a lot of the characters have actually been able to carry on is reflected. The school closures, because a lot of the characters have kids, and how do you work while you’re also dealing with all your childcare issues? The world of Shameless is sort of perfectly attuned to do the storytelling that reflects what’s happening to working class people and everybody who’s living just barely above the poverty line."
Regarding the use of masks, Wells explained that "anti-maskers" will certainly be around. "Frank, by definition, sees himself as a libertarian. So he thinks the whole thing’s a little bit of a plot. You never know with Frank whether he means it or whether he’s just trying to get a rise out of you," Wells said. "It’s [about] hard times and people trying to find a way to navigate through those hard times and not lose their sense of humor and their humanity and the way in which they look out for each other."