Entertainment Television

Jeremy Allen White: Relationship troubles for Lip in 'Shameless'

When "Shameless" star Jeremy Allen White describes the Season 1 scene in which his character peed on his father, you have to wonder if the actor is sensitive—or demented.

"It's kind of beautiful when the father steps out of the stream of urine and realizes, 'this is right,' and he steps back into it," the 20-year-old White, who plays Lip Gallagher in the Showtime series, said. "It's kind of romantic and beautiful in a way. I think he's taking it because he knows he did something terrible."

That terrible thing: Lip’s deadbeat dad, Frank (William H. Macy), had sex with his son’s girlfriend, Karen (Laura Wiggins), who just happens to be the daughter of Frank’s live-in girlfriend, Sheila (Joan Cusack).

"There's forgiveness that comes in that [scene]," White said. "That slurred speech that he gives Lip about the world not being fair is the closest thing to an apology Lip will every get from Frank and I think Lip understands that.”

OK, so White is sensitive, and not demented. Bundled against a cold wind Nov. 9, he chatted for a few moments between takes at 1937 S. Spaulding Ave., which serves as Sheila’s home. He told me in Season 2, which debuts at 8 p.m. Sunday, Lip (short for Philip) faces more trouble in his relationships with Karen, Frank and Lip’s little brother, Ian.

"Obviously he's used to being disappointed by his father. This is an extreme, for sure, but I find Lip's relationship with his father in the second season, as a result of not only him sleeping with Karen but his behavior throughout Lip's entire life, he almost ignores his father. It's become something that Lip just kind of has to deal with and they don't even talk very much this season."

"What really hurts is what Karen did to him. It’s probably the first time Lip's ever been in love and it's his first relationship ever and maybe even the first time he’s had sex. And so I think that trust being broken by her is far more damaging in a way than what happened with his father. But they do still see each other in Season 2; yeah, they get together." [Laughs.]

"Lip and Ian's relationship is strained an awful lot. We go a little deeper into that. We really start to explore how Ian really does want to join the Army and specifically go to West Point. Lip is against that but because of brotherly love he decides he’ll help Ian out. He definitely feels some aggression from Ian because he’s really trying to get into West Point and his physical stuff is great but academically he just doesn't have it. It's just something he cannot do, but it comes to Lip so easily. So they really start butting heads. … Ian’s so frustrated because he can’t do it. Lip could, but doesn't give a [bleep]."

"We start to see with Lip how he really does have this gift; he's incredibly intelligent and can really do anything. And the other family members don’t have that. There's a lot of animosity shown from the other family members. And Lip [has animosity] toward them because he feels likes he's been given this responsibility to do something because he’s more intelligent. He just wants to be one of the kids in the neighborhood and live there and grow old there and have a family and work a blue-collar job. But his family really pushes on this responsibility. At least Lip feels that."

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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