The show: Shameless (Showtime, 2011-present)
The dysfunctional clan: The Gallaghers
How dysfunctional are they? Single father-of-six Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) loves to do about four things: Get drunk, get high, pontificate on the political issues of the day, and scam the system to keep his family (barely) afloat. All that leaves little time to actually, you know, care for his kids, thus leaving most of the actual child-raising to eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum). The rest of the family compensates with all kinds of unhealthy internalizing and/or lashing out, from the self-destruction demonstrated by 20-year-old genius “Lip” (Jeremy Allen White) to Debbie’s (Emma Kenney) impatient quest to lose her virginity.
The show: Six Feet Under (HBO, 2001-’05)
The dysfunctional clan: The Fishers
How dysfunctional were they? When death -- be it that of your father (Richard Jenkins) or just the random dude you’re preparing for burial -- is a quotidian occurrence in your family, then yeah, your family is probably pretty messed up. The Fishers’ funeral-parlor business may have kept them living and working under one roof, but the fissures (hey!) that kept mom Ruth (Frances Conroy), sons Nate (Peter Krause) and David (Michael C. Hall), and daughter Claire (Lauren Ambrose) emotionally distant from one another made for some powerful explorations of decaying family dynamics.
The show: The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-’07)
The dysfunctional clan: The Sopranos
How dysfunctional were they? From a business standpoint, the Mafia family headed by Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) runs like a well-oiled stripper pole at the Bada Bing! But emotionally speaking, fugghedaboutit. Tony’s a serial philanderer and tough-as-nails father who also personally offed his nephew Christopher (Michael Imperioli), as well as about a half-dozen other members of his mob. Meanwhile, wife Carmela (Edie Falco) strives to fabricate a facade of normalcy for her son A.J. (Robert Iler) and daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), except for when she’s flaunting her wealth around her financially strapped friends or flirting with her own marital infidelity. Fungool!
The show: Weeds (Showtime, 2005-’12)
The dysfunctional clan: The Botwins
How dysfunctional were they? Father knows best? More like mother knows bud (har). On this dope dramedy, Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) makes the mistake of turning to pot-dealing in order to prop up her family’s finances after the sudden death of her husband Jonah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). As the Botwins’ chances at a normal life go up in smoke, Nancy’s two sons Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould) spliff -- sorry, split -- and relocate to Denmark once she’s finally sent to the slammer. Definitely a sticky, icky situation.
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Rose Maura Lorre is an American journalist living in Montreal whose own dysfunctional family makes The Osbournes look like The Andy Griffith Show. She writes mostly about TV and food, which is sort of like saying your beat is "Netflix and chill." You can find her on Twitter @rosemauralorre.