Monica Jean Gallagher (Chloe Webb), a woman from the South Side of Chicago with a bipolar disorder who abandons her family, only to return occasionally to wreak havoc on her alcoholic husband, Frank (William H. Macy) and six dysfunctional kids: Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, and Liam (who is black).
While Monica is off doing her own thing, Frank survives on money from his disability check and other scams he pulls off around the neighborhood.
As for Monica, she feels terrible for abandoning her children but even when she is around she is a thoroughly useless and unreliable and before long she succumbs to substance abuse problems, selfishness and depression.
When Monica is off her pills, she relishes her manic periods because it gives her a sense of being strong and able to take on the world, like the time she tried to jump off a roof because she thought she could fly. But when Monica takes her meds she’s just treading water, not really able to do anything except that.
When Monica first returned to the family, she announced she was gay and intended to marry a black lesbian named Roberta aka “Bob” (Carlease Burke). Monica and Bob planned to leave with youngest son Liam, but eldest daughter Fiona thwarted her attempt.
When Frank’s mothers dies, Monica returns home (Bob has since left) to lend support to her grieving husband. During a Thanksgiving dinner, which consisted of a bald eagle shot by her husband Frank, Monica slits her wrist with a carving knife in the kitchen trying to commit suicide. She is placed in a clinic, and tells the family they’re better off without her. Then she escapes the clinic in a car with her new lesbian lover, Debbie (Jenna Elfman) who claimed to have shot her husband 26 times.
Lip: It’s actually pretty cool. There’s a lot of shit we can figure out about ourselves in here.
Ian: Yeah like, uh, if we got the alcoholic gene from Frank.
Lip: Yeah or the dummy gene from Monica.
Ian: Or if any us is gonna turn out to be gay.
Monica’s son, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is a homosexual with bipolar disorder. He accepts then denies that he has a problem. Meanwhile, Ian dropped out of high school, illegally joined (and left) the Army, started working in a gay bar as a stripper and had problems with drugs.
“You can’t fix me, because I’m not broken. I don’t need to be fixed, okay? I’m me!” – Ian
Ian ran away from the Gallagher home and was staying with Monica in an old rundown house. When his siblings came looking for Ian, both he had Monica has since left. At this time, Ian was displaying mental health issues very similar to his mother.
When Ian was in prison, Monica briefly reappeared to visit her son. Then she and Ian hitchhiked out of the city, before Monica took Ian to live with a new boyfriend called Walter who makes methamphetamine.
Note: Monica Gallagher appeared on 9 episodes of the series, which is an American remake of the UK comedy-drama SHAMELESS. In 2012, Chloe Webb was nominated by the Critics Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series.
It was revealed that Frank was not Ian’s biological father, but rather his uncle, but Monica is his mom. Ian Clayton Gallagher was born in 1996. He was the end result of a PCP-fueled affair between his mother Monica Gallagher and Frank Gallagher’s brother, Clayton Gallagher, in the summer of 1995.