TCA: 'Shameless' Continues to Look for Its Boundaries, Previews Season 2 (Video)

Shameless Cast TCA 2012 - H 2012
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Shameless Cast TCA 2012 - H 2012

After Wednesday’s very contentious session with 2 Broke Girls creator Michael Patrick King in which the series’ use of ethnic, gender-based jokes and all around potty humor came under fire, there was a sense among the reporters at TCA on Thursay that Shameless executive producer John Wells would have a better handle on the Showtime series’ brand of humor and where he draws the line.

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“We’re always trying to find it,” Wells, who will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later Thursday, says of the show’s boundaries. “There are moments in the editing room where we see a scene and say we’re not going to do that. [There’s a difference between a scene that] satirizes society and just bad taste.”

He turned down requests to describe a scene he had recently cut with William H. Macy’s character, patriarch Frank Gallagher. “He won’t tell you,” Macy assured the room.

It may seem strange for a show that has portrayed so many risqué things in its first season ranging from a teen Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins) initiating sex with a drugged Frank to get back at her father, another in which Lip (Jeremy Allen White) urinated on Frank from his bedroom window, and other countless boundary-pushing scenes. Wells attempted to describe his line in the sand tangibly when a reporter asked him where his moral compass lies.

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“Not sure I’d refer to it as a moral compass,” he says. “It’s about character. We look for moments where we illuminate a character, satirize something rather than just do a joke for the laugh.”

The actors also get a say. Wells says that sometimes they will approach him and say they can totally see their character doing something. Other times, they may say that the scene doesn’t feel right. Ultimately, Wells won’t damage a character for the sake of a joke or a planned scene.

Other things fans can look forward to on Season 2.

Fiona loses her way a bit. She’ll go off the rails for several episodes before hitting a wall. "Everyone has a moment where they realize they become like their parents,” Emmy Rossum says of the moment that becomes a wake up call for her character.

Lip will also unintentionally tap into his inner Frank. “He tries to push away from being like Frank and then does the opposite,” Jeremy Allen White says of his character’s story line.

Steve will be back. “I was sweating,” Justin Chatwin says of reading scripts without his character. “But they keep inviting me to these things, so I’m coming back.” Rossum says it’s obvious from looking at her on-screen love interest why her character will miss him, but she’ll play the field for a several episodes before his return. “That’s coming from a place of hurt,” Rossum says. “He’s gorgeous and he’s really what she needs and wants.”

Expect the show to push the envelope more on gay brother Ian’s story line. Wells says that Ian’s character has become very important to gay teens and he receives many letters of thanks from them. Last season, they had several limits placed on them legally due to the actor Cameron Monaghan’s age. But he has turned eighteen since then and there are less limits on what they can explore in Ian’s story line and sexuality.

Shameless airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

Watch the Season 2 preview video Showtime screened for the session below.

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