The series Shameless on Showtime has always skirted the fine line of good taste, it’s the foundation of the show.
However on Sundays episode they may have taken things too far. Sheila played by Joan Cusak took her daughter Karen to a support group of people who have children with Down syndrome. Karen has a baby with Down and Cusak’s character thought this would be a good experience for them both
The mentally challenged members of the support group speak up; they want to “reclaim and redefine” the word retard, taking ownership of the word and turning it from a slur to a rallying cry. They chant “Me-tard, You-tard, Retard nation;”
In the scene a character claims, “the gays took back the word Queer…why can’t we…”
From here it grows to a campaign to support Retard Nation. Frank Gallagher played by William H. Macy wears a shirt that says “ I am a Retard,” and Sheila sets up a booth outside a store to raise money for Retard Nation. In an odd TV twist, Macy is also the narrator for the kids show Curious George.
Is this a creative way to bring attention to a word that is flung around too loosely or was this one of the most tasteless scenes in recent television history.
In a series that has a a young boy fake cancer to go to camp and his younger sister pretend to be molested by her uncle, in order to save her house, is Retard Nation too much even for Shameless?
We searched for any charity or group that empowered people who are mentally challenged with the name Retard Nation and the only thing that came up was in the Urban Dictionary-
A group of friends based in Brampton(A.K.A B-Town or Bramadesh), Ontario age range 11-13. Naturally living in the suburbs is a boring life so they found awesome new ways to entertain themselves. There are different divisions of Retard Nation such as:
The Hobo Tribe: Responsible for finding new areas for Retard Nation to hang at. The RN Mofia: Responsible for doing Retard Nation's "Dirty Work" Some of retard nations pass times have been:-Bonfires in their forest hideout.
As far as we can tell neither William H. Macy or Joan Cusack have family with Downs and we can't find any charitable donations or causes they support with Downs, so it seems clear that this wasn't a way for the starts to champion a cause close to their hearts. In his defense William H, Macy is the face of the web site My Child Without Limits.
What do you think? Is Shameless, Shameless and you have to be ready for anything as you watch the adventures of the Gallagher family as they struggle to survive on the South Side? Did the creators of the show go too far with Retard Nation, or was it a creative way to bring an issue of insensitivity to a wide audience?