Last Sunday, Sept. 9, the ninth season of “Shameless” premiered on Showtime—just two weeks after lead actress Emmy Rossum announced that the season would be her last.
Rossum, who has been with the show since its premiere in 2011, plays the oldest sister of the Gallagher family, made up of six children and their alcoholic father. Each episode of “Shameless” follows the dysfunctional family through financial struggles and relationship drama, each one crazier than the last.
The familial bond with fellow cast members—William H. Macy, Ethan Cutkosky, Shanola Hampton, Steve Howey, Emma Kenney, Cameron Monaghan, Jeremy White and Joan Cusack—extends off set, Rossum wrote in a Facebook post announcing the end of her time on the show.
“We’ve watched the kids grow into the strong, talented, independent human beings that they are,” Rossum said. “I taught Emma to shave her legs. I was there when Ethan learned to drive. Shanola and Jeremy and Joan and Bill danced at my wedding in New York last year…It really feels like a family.”
Sophomore Maya Thompkins, an avid “Shameless” viewer, said that the news of Fiona Gallagher’s inevitable departure from the story overshadowed the season premier itself.
“I do really love her as a character and I think that she really brings a lot to the show,” Thompkins said. “So, it’s going to be interesting to see how they are going to be able to continue without her. She is like the glue between the family.”
Though she said the premiere was “nothing special,” Thompkins said she’s looking forward to following the rest of the Gallagher family drama throughout the season, particularly Ian, the middle child who identifies as gay.
“I did appreciate that he was, like, helping people in the LGBTQ community but I definitely think that he went a little far last season,” Thompkins said.
Sophomore Alicia Grand, on the other hand, thought the first episode was “hilarious” and “already better than last season.”
“I’m excited for this season because a lot of story lines are going to be shown,” Grand said.
After hearing the news of Rossum’s departure, fans started speculating how the season will pan out and what will happen to Fiona. Some said suspect they’re going to kill her off, while others wondered if the show would even continue past season nine.
“I know you will continue on without me, for now,” Rossum said. “There is much more Gallagher story to be told. I will always be rooting for my family. Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block.”
“Shameless” airs every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. EST.