I came really close to not doing a Spotlight piece on the dearly departed Jimmy Lishman known more fondly, at least to me, as Steve. I never warmed to Jimmy. He was an asshole. He lied, cheated, and wormed his way through life. He never once took responsibility for anything he ever did or the effects his actions had on those around him. He wanted the world to feel sorry for him because his life wasn’t perfect. Well you know what Jimmy? No one’s life is perfect. Sure your dad was an asshole, your mom was high more than she was sober, and your brother was giant tool. So what. I don’t feel sorry for you.
And there lies the problem. I never cared about Jimmy’s life.
Jimmy was weak. At the first sign of real trouble he runs to the arms of the wife he was forced to marry because her drug lord father couldn’t find another readily available patsy. How could I feel bad for a guy who cheats on Fiona because at the moment she didn’t have time to listen to him bemoan his father’s sexuality due to having to dig up a dead body from her yard? Seriously Jimmy, man the fuck up.
Now, I do admit that if I ever found out my dad was gay because he had tried to sleep with my boyfriend’s underage brother I would probably be a little freaked out. And ok, yes I would need a few days to mull it over and let it sink in. I grant him that. But then I’d move on. Instead Jimmy ran away like the punk he was. The problem with Jimmy is not that the things he did were shameless, but that they were often in service of his own needs and desires. It was very rare that he ever did anything that was solely for the benefit of someone else.
And then I came across a tumblr post that changed everything. There wasn’t anything special about this particular GIF set. In fact I had seen better, but still there was something about it that I couldn’t take my eyes off. It featured the last scene where we would see Jimmy, and in the scene Beto was telling Jimmy to be a man, and get on the boat. There were no hysterics in this scene. Beto wasn’t yelling and Jimmy wasn’t carrying on. As far as scenes go it was quite unremarkable as though this type of event happens everyday so much so that we are made to believe it is commonplace. So perhaps it was the look on Jimmy’s face (Justin Chatwin was brilliant in his last scenes) or maybe it was how Beto was speaking so softly to him it seemed as though he was convincing a child to do something they didn’t want to do. I’m still not sure. What I am sure of is in that moment everything I had come to believe about Jimmy had changed.
When you are searching for your place in this world the grass always appears greener on the other side. No matter how much you may try to change yourself or your surroundings nothing fits like you think that it should. Jimmy was constantly searching for a place he could call home. A place where he belonged. He thought Fiona and the Gallagher’s were that place, but they could never be home for him. Not because he didn’t love them, but because try as he might he would never fully understand their world or why they make the choices that they do. This was evident during the first season when he honestly believed that Fiona would leave with him and again in the third season when he didn’t understand why Fiona decided to obtain guardianship of her siblings without talking it over with him. He didn’t understand that for her there was nothing to talk about. Just like he wasn’t able to understand his parents and see that for all their faults they did love him. Jimmy left us as he came to us, someone searching for home where there was none to be found. We never got to know the real Jimmy. I think that may have been because he didn’t know himself. Those moments when he was pretending to be Steve were probably the closest we ever came to knowing him and he came to being the person he wanted to be.
Most Shameless Moment: Lying to Fiona about his real identity.
Least Shameless Moment: Leaving Frank in Canada after he hit Ian.