Brace yourself for the show that’s more shameless than ‘Shameless’

Dark comedy SMILF, first and only on Showmax, proves that being trashy is nothing to look down on

12 March 2018 - 15:18
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Usually, scraping the bottom of the barrel is a bad thing. That’s where you find dirty, unsavoury emotions and thoughts – or even actual dirt that gets trapped under your fingernails. 

If you’ve watched dark comedy Shameless (seasons 1-6 are on Showmax), you know what we’re talking about thanks to the wheeler-dealer con-artist family the Gallaghers, “who are pretty much the dregs of society”, said lead star William H Macy (who plays patriarch Frank) in a Build interview.

Showmax has clawed its way through the grime at the bottom of the barrel to bring you arguably the most awfully, brilliantly bad series we’ve ever seen: SMILF, which debuted this year. Showmax is the only place in Africa where you can watch it!

Stream or download all 8 episodes of SMILF >>

Lead star Frankie Shaw plays Bridgette Bird, a struggling single mom from Southie, the rough side of Boston – the same neighbourhood that Liev Schreiber’s troubled Hollywood enforcer character calls home in Ray Donovan (seasons 1-4 on Showmax). But, unlike Ray’s tale, Bridgette’s is mostly true.

“She’s loosely based on me,” says Shaw in candid interviews with production network Showtime. “I was a single young mom trying to make it in LA as an actress and I was just over everything. We filmed a scene from the pilot that I wrote. I filmed it because I knew that the grittiness in my head didn’t match what was on the page, so I needed to be in the moment and be the one being filmed to bring it to life.”

She may be a hot mess, but no one can deny that Bridgette is trying her best with her son Larry, despite being young, broke, desperate and alone.
She may be a hot mess, but no one can deny that Bridgette is trying her best with her son Larry, despite being young, broke, desperate and alone.
Image: CBS

While the short-film version of SMILF won an award at the indie Sundance Festival, it also got TV bigwigs taking note of the fact that you can be overtly sexual, rude, crude and lewd on the small screen and get away with it. And Shaw knows how to work the charm, even when she’s standing braless and scratching her crotch.

“If you tell something in an honest way, people will relate to it. I was editing the pilot, for example, and one of the producers wrote me an email: 'What if you cut the scene where she’s masturbating to the girlfriend?' And my assistant editor started crying: 'I did that. When my husband cheated, I did that, you can’t cut it!' And I was never going to because it’s those weird moments behind closed doors that I feel like when you reach somebody,” she told Variety in 2017.

But if you thought that was a bit rough, fasten your seatbelt – SMILF is taking you on the rudest ride on TV… and you’ll love it! (Don’t want any spoilers? Stop reading now!)

In the first episode, newly single Bridgette wants a no-strings hook-up, but she has been out of the dating game for a while. When she does find a one-night-stand, they get jiggy on her bed where her toddler son has been sneakily hidden under blankets. “Oh my God – that’s a foot!” will either have you crying with laughter or cringing like you’ve eaten an entire lemon.

Bridgette, as usual, takes things just a step too far, this time with a former pupil.
Bridgette, as usual, takes things just a step too far, this time with a former pupil.
Image: CBS

Episode two takes things up a notch when Bridgette beds a teen she used to tutor. C’mon – she’s a 20-something and he’s in college now. Not that his mom, Ally (Connie Britton), will see it that way, because she paid Bridgette to teach her son his ABCs, not the birds and the bees. 

How I kept a straight face with all the dirty sex talk is a miracle 
Frankie Shaw

Her quest for an orgasm continues in episode four when Bridgette takes her toy-boy store clerk into the warehouse for a quick session. “How I kept a straight face with all the dirty sex talk is a miracle,” says Shaw in a Showtime interview. “That poor kid. He had no idea what he was getting into when we cast him!”

But it’s the season finale that takes the cake. Still looking for love, our dirty diva signs up with cellphone dating app Tinder. Despite all she’s been through, nothing can prepare her for the person she's matched up with on the app. Sure, she wants him and he wants her – but let's just say he's not exactly a stranger...

Said Shaw to Showtime, “I’m flawed. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve been ‘that mom’ that everyone talks about. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m Bridgette – now get me a beer and a boyfriend!”

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Sources: Bustle.com, IMDB.com, Sho.com, Variety.com, YouTube.com

This article was paid for by Showmax.

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