Can you imagine being so afraid of who you are, and what that means that you would rather live a life of pain and unhappiness than face the truth? Imagine for a moment the person who is supposed to love you and care for you and protect you from harm is also the monster lurking in the shadows waiting to strike you down. Mickey Milkovich doesn’t have to imagine this; he lives with this reality every day. In his life loving someone means not only risking his life, but theirs as well. It’s easy to judge and make choices when you’re sitting on the outside looking in, but I imagine life is very different when you’re a Milkovich.
I’ve been watching Shameless since the first season, but it wasn’t until the 3rd season that it became must see TV that I stopped letting the episodes pile up on my DVR. This was not completely, but in large part, due to the tremendous growth of Mickey, played with a daring honesty by Noel Fisher. When he first came on-screen he was nothing more than a greasy thug who had the audacity to want to beat up Ian because he mistakenly believed his sister, Mandy, when she told him Ian had attacked her.
In a few seconds of screen time Mickey had gone from thug, to bully, to protector. The grime and tough demeanor were shields used to protect him from the physical and emotional torment he felt. It was no wonder he had never bothered to get to know Ian or any of the other Gallagher’s, they were everything his family would never be. They were laughter and love. They were support and acceptance. Sure they had it rough, but it was nothing compared to the hell Mickey and his siblings faced on a day-to-day basis.
For the Milkovich family it was all about survival of the fittest, and Mickey knew better than any of them what it took to survive in that house and in their world. No one knew how to hide their true selves better than he did. He had gotten so good at it in fact that not even his own family knew his true self, especially not the monster lurking in the shadows. No one in his family was safe from Terry’s special brand of torture.
The one and only bright spot in his life was one that came in a fit of fury over a gun. He had never meant for it to be anything more than what it was, but somehow despite his every intention he had dared to fall in love. He had dared to believe for just a moment that he could have goodness and light. That when the shadows came too close there was a place he could go that was full of unconditional love.
Mickey wasn’t stupid. He knew he was never leaving the Southside. He knew he was destined for a hard, cold life filled with stints in jail and hustling just to get by. He knew all of this and yet for a brief second he allowed himself to believe in love. For a brief second he believed that he and Ian could live in their world where the monster in the shadows couldn’t reach him. A place where he felt safe and loved, but that isn’t the world that he lives in and now he has to figure out how to live without the one person he could be himself with. The one person he didn’t have to hide from. He has to figure out how to live in a world that doesn’t include Ian.
Most Shameless Moment: Hitting Ian
Least Shameless Moment: Jumping on Terry’s back to keep him from attacking Ian
**This Spotlight is dedicated to E of Team Gallavich for who this would not have been possible.**