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The Five Spot: John Wells

Bonus Five

TV shows on your DVR? Watchmen, Peaky Blinders, Succession, Chernobyl, Vida, Better Things, Barry
All-time top TV show? I’m really loving Better Things, Vida and Barry now.
Favorite podcast? This American Life, TED Talks.
What was a recent memorable meal — where and what did you eat? Angelini Osteria on Beverly Boulevard for their branzino.
Books on your nightstand? Maid by Stephanie Land, The Falconer by Dana Czapnik

Season 10 of Shameless starts on Showtime Sunday, Nov. 10. The dark comedy about the hapless Gallagher clan on the South Side of Chicago picks up six months after the season nine finale. William H. Macy’s boozy Frank uses his leg injury to collect prescription drugs. His exploits lead him to an old friend, and the usual Shameless mayhem ensues.

Showrunner John Wells spoke to B&C senior content producer, programming Michael Malone about his highlights of the new season, the keys to hitting 10 seasons and fans’ reactions to the Gallaghers.

How has the show been able to reach 10 seasons?

It’s about a family and we’ve been watching the kids grow up and struggle. It’s about income equality in America and it’s funny. We’re all laughing about hard times that a lot of people are actually going through, and here’s a group of people that, with all their troubles and difficulties, pull together and love each other and look after each other.

Who’s an unsung hero of the Shameless gang?

There are so many on the show. Mike Hissrich, who is [co-executive] producer and makes it all happen. Nina Ruscio, who’s our production designer, who finds a way that, between Los Angeles and Chicago, makes it all look like Chicago. Lyn Paolo, our costume designer, who is just wonderful. We just have a great crew on the show.

What’s your favorite moment from the new season?

There’s an infant crawling race to see which one gets sold. That made me laugh out loud. There’s a wonderful chase where Debbie is trying to chase down her baby daddy’s new girlfriend all through the “el” tracks that Bill Macy shot.

How many more seasons do you see Shameless going?

I could do it forever. The reality is, however long the cast wants to keep doing it with me. I love writing the show. It’s a great way to talk satirically about a lot of the things going on in the country, people just trying to get by. But the cast will really make that decision.

What’s something a fan of the show has said to you that stayed with you?

Many, many people come to me and tell me that Frank reminds them of their own dad. I think they don’t mean literally, but there are things about their dad that are similar — the drinking problem or the narcissism or the lack of concern for their children. That happens kind of regularly, to tell you the truth, people saying, Did you meet my dad?