Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Shameless Fans Are So Divided Over This Iffy Storyline

Showtime's flagship dramedy "Shameless" was a hit with viewers during the decade in which new episodes actively premiered, netting a respectable 81% audience score and 82% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, as is often the case with such long-running series, "Shameless" likewise became the subject of various criticisms over the course of its run.

For example, a number of viewers characterized Season 10 as the worst season of "Shameless" after they felt that it left a partially grounded approach by the wayside. At its peak, they argued, the series deftly counterbalances its wildest moments with an altogether relatable humanity, the latter part of which was lacking during Season 10. In fact, some fans have argued that the show's issues began a couple years earlier, when "Shameless" started going downhill over the course of its eighth season.

With this in mind, one user online set out to determine fans' least favorite storyline from throughout the entire series' run, and determined that there is indeed one particularly notorious storyline that has fans divided.

Shameless fans are critical of its Gay Jesus storyline

Reddit user nitewingg started a thread on the "Shameless" subreddit titled "Worst storyline in the entire show?" consisting of a poll with five possible answers to this inquiry. The poll's winner, with 222 votes and 62 more than the top runner-up, was the Gay Jesus storyline, in which Ian Gallagher (Cameron Monaghan) provides aid to LGBTIQ+ kids while calling himself Gay Jesus under a delusion of grandeur.

For what it's worth, in spite of netting the most votes, not all viewers hate this storyline. Commenter sandymilkthemechanic, for example, asked if they were the only one in the thread who enjoyed Gay Jesus, and wrote, "I found it really bizarre and interesting to watch." Similarly, LGBTQI+ news site Gay Star News published an article around the time the storyline aired outright praising it.

Thread-starter nitewingg, meanwhile, explained that their biggest issue with the storyline was not so much Ian considering himself a messiah-of-sorts, but believing that so many bystanders would corroborate what is ultimately a manifestation of Ian's poor mental health at that time. In fact, also around when the episode aired, another Reddit user started a thread titled "Let's Discuss How Bad the 'Gay Jesus' Storyline is," in which various posters criticized it for hindering Ian's otherwise compelling arc.

So, while it has its advocates, the consensus seems to be that the Gay Jesus storyline's most over-the-top moments make it a series low point.