Gentrfy This

By Sophia Christensen

Shameless, a raunchy dramedy (also one of Senior Kendyl Brower and I’s favorite shows,) exudes the precedent of a poor income family living in South Side Chicago in the midst of the grim: gentrification. Featuring a chaotic and exaggerated Irish American family the Gallaghers, Shameless touches upon topics such as the ugly truth of the “up and coming.”

When he’s not passed out drunk on a bench somewhere, the dad, Frank Gallagher, speaks wisely about the process of gentrification. He goes on countless drunken spiels, but within those rants are very insightful warnings about the harm of gentrifying Southside Chicago as most will not be able to afford to live in their own neighborhood anymore. In season 5 episode 2, Frank talks about the past when his hometown was “overrun with the gentry and [they] were forced out,” and he warns everyone that the same infestation is taking over their own streets.

One hot yoga store at a time, the gentrifiers in the show continue to push the South Side to “fix their grimmy ways.” The wealthier have ambitions to flip Chicago on its head and replace the grub with the “American dream.” Replacing locally owned laundromats and restaurants with Starbucks and Hot Yoga, gentrification kicks out the old and brings in the new. The incentives include a large portion of money upfront, a freshened up neighborhood, and overall beneficial to everyone. However, in the long run, that could not be further from an ideal world. Shameless points out that although gentrification makes poor parts of town look more clean, the families that have lived there for years ultimately pay the greatest price when they can no longer afford to live in even the poorest parts of Chicago.