Sheila Jackson

Sheila Jackson

81
    Shameless
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in the south side of Chicago in Canaryville, with her husband Eddie and daughter Karen. Sheila lives near the destitute Gallagher family, but enjoys a much more prosperous and comfortable lifestyle. It’s good that her house is so nice, because Sheila’s agoraphobic and even the thought of leaving her house makes her panic.

Profession… stay-at-home mom. Like Frank Gallagher, Sheila loves to play the system, acquiring as much government assistance as possible. She spends her days cooking, cleaning, and having as much sex as possible. Still, for someone without a job, Sheila has a lot to deal with: social anxiety, a clown-obsessed husband, and a rebellious daughter. She copes by buying as many shoes as possible and watching TV.

Interests... cleaning, sex, and overcoming her crippling agoraphobia. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her, but beneath Sheila’s sweet, motherly exterior lies a sex addict. Her husband Eddy can’t live up to her desires, and no longer likes having sex with Sheila, forcing her to seek male attention elsewhere (although it’s tough to start an affair when you can’t leave the house). Sheila is also embarrassed by her agoraphobia, and wants to overcome her fear and become a functioning member of society. She frequently spends hours psyching herself up to walk out her front door and to the front of her lawn. While Sheila is damaged enough that most of her time goes to dealing with her own problems, she is also a dedicated mother, and desperate to help her rebellious daughter, Karen.

Relationship Status... married and unfulfilled. Her husband Eddy provides a decent life for Sheila, but is unable to satisfy her sex addiction and spends most of the time in the basement – indulging his creepy obsession with clowns.

Challenge… overcoming her intense psychological issues and keeping her daughter Karen from ruining her life. She is in dire need of inner strength, and can’t help but think that she’s the cause of all the problems in her life. While there were ways in which she failed her daughter, she never failed to show her love.

Personality… motherly, kind, and more than a little nutty. Sheila is extremely nurturing and protective of the people she loves, but her dense collection of psychological ticks and quirks marks her as indistinguishably crazy. Sheila recognizes that the lives of her daughter and her are coming apart, but she is unable to pinpoint exactly where everything went wrong. While she loves those who are close to her, she is, at her basic level, selfish. A slave to her addiction and phobia, she’ll happily let herself be used, as long as she can get what she wants.

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