Shameless Season 11 is premiering next month, and we now have a sneak peek at the Gallagher family masking up for their final season. In new photos published exclusively by TVLine, at least two of the Gallaghers are seen doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by donning masks. In one photo, a maskless Frank (William H. Macy) is sitting with his youngest son, Liam (Christian Isaiah), who is responsibly masked up.
In another photo, elder Gallagher brother Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is out for a stroll with his new baby, and has a mask dangling from one ear. Shameless executive producer John Wells spoke with TVLine about the use of real-world circumstances in this fictional series and explained some of the logic behind how the different characters are approaching it. Regarding Frank's unwillingness to wear a mask, Wells stated, “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."
While most of the scripts for the dysfunctional-family dramedy had already been completed, Wells explained that they knew they had to acknowledge the coronavirus pandemic. "We decided it would really be impossible to not deal with the current issues in Shameless," Wells said. He clarified that the show will handle it, however, as more of "a ribald satire about public policy."
"We’d written an awful lot of the episodes," Wells shared. "We went back and put them into the world that we’re experiencing now. So that changed a lot in the storytelling." He added that, as a result of this, Season 11 will deal "with how many jobs have been lost and how much tougher it’s gotten for people who are already barely hanging on — and trying to make it funny" in a manner that falls in line with the series' humorous tone.
It was previously announced that this will be Shameless' final season, with Showtime co-president of entertainment Gary Levine saying, "Shameless has been such a great performer for us, and we just felt like, 11 seasons is a big fat number." He went on to praise Wells "and his people" for how they've been able to "refresh it each year, and it still gets a huge audience for us as well as for that streaming services that run our reruns (Netflix)." Finally, Levine said, "We just felt it was time, and we also liked the idea of giving John and Co. a chance to end it well, to be able to aim for that landing."