Shaunna Murphy
October 27, 2011 AT 01:30 PM EDT

The Gallagher family won’t stumble back to Showtime until January, but it’s never too early to start pregaming before the party starts. Those who missed this loving-yet-dysfunctional family’s antics over their own summer should worry no more, because EW obtained an exclusive first look photo of William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum that proves that Shameless’ mischief is far from over. (See it after the jump!)

“Fiona [Rossum] is trying to deny that she was really in love with Steve, so she’s dating other people,” teased exec producer and showrunner John Wells. “She makes a mistake about who she sleeps with, someone that she knows from high school, and now she’s being chased by that person. She ends up hiding under the table with Frank [Macy]. He thinks it’s very amusing that now she’s hiding.”

Wells also gave EW some exclusive details on season 2 of the addictive family dramedy, which will showcase an eventful summer in Chicago’s South Side. Get ready for new additions, steamy love triangles, get-rich-quick schemes, and, of course, more run-ins with the law for Frank.


ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s the overriding theme of season 2?

JOHN WELLS: We were really pleased with how last season turned out. Particularly, we loved how terrific the cast was, and our ability to have a lot of fun with these stories; to provide a certain amount of social satire at the same time that we’re doing these outrageous things. We want to spend time getting to know them better, and seeing the situations they go through. Somebody said to me that the great thing about the show is you feel like you want to go over there and hang out on the couch, and that’s the general sense that we’re trying to continue on the show. I think the big difference that people will notice right away is that we went from where we were in winter last time, and now it’s these people’s lives in the summer, and how they’re trying to just survive during the summertime. It will just be Shameless. There’s just a tremendous number of completely politically incorrect things happening on the show at all times.

So we’re not just picking up where we left off?

Well, there’s lots going on, and part of it is at the end of last season Steve and Fiona didn’t get together and he left, because he was in danger of being arrested. So we begin with him in Brazil and Fiona in Chicago trying to date other people. It’s her trying to see if she can find love some place else, since she didn’t go to the airport with him when he had to run away. Frank, as always, is in the midst of a series of scams and ways to try to keep easy money on the table, so he doesn’t have to work. Lip (Jeremey Allen White) and Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins) are still doing the thing where they’re sleeping together and he’s falling increasingly in love with her, but she has a new boyfriend. So they have this kind of ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement.  And there’s great stuff for Cameron (Monaghan)’s character (Ian). There’s just lots going on.

A central theme of the show has been the family’s struggle to survive economically with no parental help. How will that change over the summer, with all of the kids out of school?

They run an ice cream truck with Kevin’s help, from next door. They sell ice cream, blunts and beer to kids who are at least 14 years of age. They do have some standards. Everybody works, everybody has different jobs. Debbie (Emma Kenney) runs kind of a neighborhood daycare, Fiona is working at a club as a waitress with Veronica (Shanola Hampton), who is tending bar. It’s vibrant, with a lot of stories and a lot of craziness going on. It’s fun.

At the end of last season, Fiona had taken a job with Jasmine (Amy Smart), and there were some hints at a possible romance there. Will we see more of her this year?

Amy is still there; she (Fiona) just makes more money when she can waitress in the club. But Amy is still very much there around her character, and there’s a whole storyline about what happens with the two of them. [The attraction]’s still there.

What about Steve? By the end of last season, she had clearly fallen in love with him.

She’s trying to pretend that it hasn’t affected her at all.  Really, what the first five episodes are about is watching her realize that she cared a lot more than she wanted to admit. She starts picking up the phone and calling him because she misses him, and then when wishing that she hadn’t. He’s hurt because she didn’t come with him, but understands that she chose her family instead. She’s angry that he put her in the position of having to make that choice, which didn’t seem like a fair choice to have to make, and they’re going to have to get over that. And he has to get back from Brazil. He’s got to figure out how to get back and not get arrested.

Last season Frank pushed the limits by sleeping with his girlfriend, Sheila (Joan Cusack)’s, daughter Karen, which also led to Karen’s father’s suicide. Where will that leave him?

Oh, Sheila doesn’t find out until episode 5, when Freddy’s body shows up. The police are interested in why he was looking for Frank, and now he’s at the bottom of Lake Michigan with a cinder block tied around his ankle. Then all of that comes to light. But Joan is very much a part of this coming season as well, I think she’s in all but one or two episodes.

Will they still be an item?

I think he doesn’t admit how much he actually cares about her, because everything is narcissistic and just about what he needs at any moment. But, truth be told, I think he actually has more fondness for her than he realizes. Also, there’s a woman who is dying in the neighborhood, she has a heart condition that she needs a transplant for, so he’s thinking that maybe he can move in on her and marry her in the hopes that she dies and he can collect her city pension. You know, he’s always trying to find something that will keep him from actually having to do any physical labor.

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