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Emma Kenney Reveals Her Most Traumatizing Storyline On Shameless

Any longtime fan of "Shameless" knows that Debbie Gallagher is a character that changed tremendously over the course of the show's 11 seasons. Portrayed by actress Emma Kenney, Debbie starts out as a sweet, if sometimes misguided, young girl, but as she gets older, she becomes selfish and manipulative. 

What "Shameless" fans hate most about Debbie is that her personality change is so severe, turning her from one of the most amiable characters into someone that left a perpetual bad taste in the viewer's mouth. Her character becomes so unlikable by the end of the series that one could argue that Debbie is the Gallagher child that ends up being the most like Frank (William H. Macy). As reported by TV Insider, Kenney was only 11 when filming on Season 1 of "Shameless" began, so viewers got to watch Debbie grow up into a not-so-savory member of the community. For fans who loved Debbie's genuine kindness in the earlier episodes, her actions in later seasons can be jarring in contrast.

Debbie has had some wild storylines throughout the years, including lying about contraception so she can get pregnant on purpose, stealing strollers from new moms, and having her decaying toes amputated on the kitchen table. However, Kenney revealed that there's one traumatizing Debbie moment that was especially humiliating to film.

Debbie gets pranked at the pool

In a recent interview, Emma Kenney was asked what "Shameless" plotlines were difficult for her to film. The moment Kenney chose occurred in Season 3, Episode 5, "The Sins of My Caretaker." It's summertime on the south side of Chicago, so Debbie heads to the community pool to give her new white bikini a try. She accepts praise from two teen girls who criticized her body earlier in the episode and they encourage her to take a swim. Debbie quietly works through her discomfort in her ill-fitting bikini, but her embarrassment grows tenfold when she heads back to her seat to discover that the mean girls put ketchup all over her chair. The ketchup stains her bikini bottoms, making it look like she is on her period. Everyone laughs at her, and Debbie heads home heartbroken.

"I think back on that now and I'm like, first of all, f— the writers, mortifying me when I was so young," the actress explained to Entertainment Weekly. "But I am so glad I got to do something like that because things like that happen to people all the time and maybe somebody watched and went, "That happened to me or my sister."

Even though Kenney was anxious about filming that scene, Debbie did get her revenge in true Gallagher fashion. She heads back to the pool and almost drowns one of her bullies, an act that's still far from the absolute worst thing Debbie has ever done.