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Why Some Fans Don't Understand Frank And Sheila's Relationship On Shameless

Out of all the characters on "Shameless," Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) is the fan favorite. Frank's constant shenanigans were all at once a source of levity, heartbreak, and distress, both for his family members and for viewers. Over the course of the show's 11 seasons, he forged and broke numerous relationships, but perhaps the most memorable is his romance with Sheila Jackson.

To say that Frank and Sheila are an odd match would be an understatement. Frank is an alcoholic who spends his days scheming and bar hopping, while Sheila is an agoraphobic single mother with a penchant for cooking and cleanliness. The pairing was so odd that other characters on "Shameless" were left scratching their heads. Fans on the series, as seen on Reddit, have made some valid points about why the relationship doesn't add up, noting that slovenly Frank embodies germaphobe Sheila's "worst nightmare" (as written by u/thesierranj). Viewers weighing in on the topic didn't hold back.

Frank and Sheila make an odd pairing

One could point to many reasons why Frank and Sheila's relationship confuses "Shameless" fans. For many people, it's clear from the start that Frank was taking advantage of Sheila. "Frank was definitely just using her for a house and money," noted one user on Reddit, u/Substantial_Fail. For someone whose biggest character trait is their selfishness, Frank is definitely toxic for Sheila, who usually does her best to be a good person.

Frank and Sheila's relationship is on-again, off-again over the course of the series, leading some fans to question why Sheila would keep coming back to Frank even after she becomes more independent. Defining her own agency is one of Sheila's biggest plot points, and her continued dalliance with Frank seems to be more harmful than helpful. Then again, true independence is doing whatever makes you happy — and despite their differences, Frank does seem to make Sheila's narrow world a little brighter. Even though Frank and Sheila's relationship is a source of confusion for "Shameless" fans, there are a few reasons why their connection makes perfect sense (whether it's positive or not).

Dysfunction brings Frank and Sheila together

One possible answer, here, is that Sheila and Frank's relationship relies on give and take. Longtime fans of the show know that Sheila has certain proclivities in the bedroom, so perhaps she accepts Frank's many flaws because he accepts hers. After all, Sheila's first husband had an unnerving obsession with clowns, so it's possible that Sheila just has a high tolerance for the bizarre. 

It also could also be that Sheila's husband, Eddie (Joel Murray) — whose icy demise is one of the more shocking moments on the show — never took her agoraphobia seriously. Even though Frank doesn't help Sheila with her issues, he doesn't pressure her to fix or ignore them. However, this is most likely due to the fact that Frank wants to cash in on her disability checks (another item to check off on the laundry list of Frank Gallagher's worst actions).

In Frank's case, it's easy to see why he'd be drawn to Sheila. While the Gallagher patriarch's life is in a constant state of disarray, Sheila is a reliable source of kindness, food, and shelter. While Frank has certainly lost all shreds of respect from his children, Sheila is — at first — oblivious to his scheming ways, allowing him to adopt a more amenable persona in her presence. Ultimately, Frank and Sheila parted ways, but their relationship was certainly entertaining to watch.