“Shameless” hit American televisions on Showtime back in 2011 and has since reached its ninth season. The show focuses on the daily adventures of everyone’s favorite dysfunctional family, the Gallaghers. We have watched the six Gallagher children grow up before our eyes and this season marks the first time fans will have to say goodbye.
Cameron Monaghan, the actor who portrays Ian Gallagher, recently took to his Instagram account stating that he would be leaving the show.
“The next episode will be my last. I have known since last year, but I didn’t want to give it away too early as I wanted this season to be a surprise for the audience, allowing them to experience Ian’s unsure journey with his character,” Monaghan said.
This announcement left many fans surprised as it came soon after the announcement that Emmy Rossum, who portrays the eldest sibling on the show, would be leaving at the conclusion of season 9. While Rossum provided significant notice of her departure, Monaghan’s exit seemed quite abrupt, leaving many speculating how the writers would provide a proper farewell.
In season 8, Ian Gallagher found himself in a chaotic storyline as he protested against his own sister and sparked an anti-conversion therapy movement following a run-in with a pastor. As the movement grew, Ian found himself in a difficult position as he gained followers exponentially while being deemed “Gay Jesus” in the process. Eventually his activity promoting his cause escalates to the point of criminal actions, leaving him in police custody.
Season 9 picks up with Ian unsure of his position in life as he faces his legal troubles and is looked upon as the leader of a movement. Meanwhile, the rest of the Gallagher family members continue their own daily struggles, including Fiona’s constant pursuit to make a name for herself and Lip’s struggle with his sobriety.
This season has found the Gallaghers facing a number of situations further developing the characters at hand. Fiona finds herself seeking larger business opportunities as she boasts her previous successes. We find Lip prioritizing others by taking on a parental role, ultimately putting his own well-being in jeopardy, and we follow Carl’s journey to further pursue his military career. Furthermore, “Shameless” provides its own perspective on the current political climate as Frank dives into the world of Chicago politics.
As with many shows that have been renewed year after year, “Shameless” has seemed to struggle recently to reach the heights of previous seasons. While previous episodes this season left viewers disappointed, “Shameless” returned to true form in episode 6, “Face It, You’re Gorgeous,” left many satisfied as viewers said goodbye to a member of the Gallagher family.
“Shameless” viewers have essentially watched actor Monaghan grow up, as he was only 16 years old when filming began. The character of Ian Gallagher went through a lot as he made the best of his situation in a dysfunctional family on the South Side of Chicago. We saw his coming-out story and became emotionally invested in the relationships that followed. “Shameless” writers introduced the struggles of mental health into the series as we witnessed the diagnosis and treatment of Ian’s bipolar disorder. Ian overcame many obstacles and made a career for himself as he worked to become a trained EMT. While the writers have provided a number of interesting storylines for Ian in the past, it seemed in seasons 8 and 9 that they were unsure of where to take the character. Despite this, where his story ultimately came to a close was a fitting farewell for the series regular of nine years.
While there may be no perfect way to say goodbye to a character fans have grown to love, “Shameless” fans got the ending they deserved for Ian Gallagher. Monaghan provided fans with a final glimpse of Ian as he took to Instagram one last time with a photo of his character with a simple caption, “Bye.”