Why Debbie on “Shameless” is Such a Crucial Character to the Show

The Gallagher family on “Shameless” all do their part to ensure that they define the term dysfunction. All their attempts to “go straight” seem to fall by the wayside when a new temptation arises, but they’re still one of the most popular families on television. They’ve managed to scrape together the means to keep body and soul together. Although each character occupies what seems like an irreplaceable role, one of the most crucial characters is Debbie (played by Emma Kenney). While it’s true that she’s not among the favorites for most viewers, her contributions would be sorely missed if the writers were to omit her from the script.Here are the reasons why we assert that Debbie is a crucial character in the show.

She’s been the focus of recent attention

Most recently, she has been the pivotal character for keeping the emotional dynamics on a high roll. Her pregnancy and the hours she has spent struggling with the notion of having an alternate birth at Queenie’s commune has been a relevant story-line for many viewers. She’s been through some serious ups and downs this season and it looks like the writers have built an interesting plot event with the birth of her baby.

The character is under-shored by the chief ne’er do well

The interaction between Frank and Debbie has been interesting to say the least. Maintaining his true form, he pimps his kid out earlier but this isn’t shocking for those of us who know Frank. Any character that he’s linked with gets special attention, simply because we love any plot that Frank is involved in. He has his faults, and that’s why he’s such a powerful force in the series, but he’s also the only one that gives her support in her time of need. He even gave up a position of sexual authority that he held over the commune.

Debbie may be the best part of Frank

Frank took things a step further and put his life on the line just to take Debbie back home so she could give birth there. Carl’s ex-employees kidnap him after he gets Debbie safely home. Frank has been known to come through and do a decent thing every now and then, but this is a touching story between father and daughter that makes the show so spellbinding and suspenseful. It’s a whole lot of terrible, but we still love the characters and Debbie has given the show one of its best plots yet. From the beginning of the show, Debbie has been the only one in Frank’s life to cut him any slack. She’s held on to her romanticized notion of who her father really is and perhaps this is why Frank’s coming through for her has meant so much.

She does things the Gallagher way

Frank shares a little more of the Gallagher clan backstory by telling Debbie that all the kids were born in the house. He also hints at the possibility that there may have been some that didn’t survive, which adds a new twist to the Gallagher history. They have never been what you could consider normal. This disclosure helps to drive that fact home, cementing it more deeply in our minds. It’s just one more thing that helps us to get the total picture of who these people really are. It’s no surprise that Debbie gives birth on the kitchen table. This is such a Gallagher thing to do. It fits right in with what Gallagher’s do and how they handle important life situations and they are creatures of habit.

Debbie’s significant contributions

Debbie holds her own and won’t allow Fiona to ride in the ambulance with her. She shows that she is a strong young woman with independence and she doesn’t back down on her convictions. She knows that she has a very difficult decision to make. The ongoing feud with Fiona over the subject of abortion isn’t over yet and Debbie has not yet let go. Fiona’s abortion made her think that she was an expert on what was right for her little sister, but Debbie had other ideas about it. Thanks to the character of Debbie, we got in on an important debate over abortion and it was educational. Debbie planned her pregnancy, but Fiona’s was accidental. It takes the issue of choice to entirely new levels for women on the issue of pregnancy and abortion. Debbie shows us that it’s okay to deliver your baby and keep it if this is your desire. It is Debbie that presents a huge argument against abortion when she tells Fiona that she was “killing a person.”

The Fiona and Debbie plot is one of the most significant contributions that the character has made to the show this season. It was about women deciding what is right for their bodies and for their futures at any given point in time. It shows the audience that it’s not the same for every woman and even sisters can be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Debbie has opened some amazing dialogues on women’s reproduction and health. There’s not much that’s pretty about her story but it is brutal and honest. Where would “Shameless” be without Debbie?



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