If you get Showtime, or know somebody who has the password to a cable account that gets Showtime, you should watch Shameless. It's a messed-up show about a messed-up family on the messed-up South Side of Chicago. It ranges from touching to disgusting to poignant in the span of a few minutes, and the last episode of Season 6 aired Sunday night.
The show generally goes out of its way not to use real college names -- instead of UChicago, Northwestern, Loyola, or any other Chicagoland school, the show's smartest character chooses to enroll at Chicago Polytechnic, a college that doesn't exist, but we're told is very good.
So I was a little bit surprised by a subplot in Sunday's climactic finale. Carl, the 15-ish son who's in-and-out of juvie, is trying to make nice with his girlfriend Dominique's dad, a cop, so Dominique invites him over to their house to...
WATCH A DEPAUL BASKETBALL GAME.
Nobody has ever done this. Nobody is out there hosting DePaul hoops watch parties. But two or three times, this plot point is repeated. Dominique and Carl repeatedly confirm their plans to watch a DePaul basketball game together with her CPD dad.
Eventually, the time comes, and we're shown her dad's TV, and...
They're playing Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena. And getting their asses whooped. By 20.
Carl and his girlfriend's DePaul Dad are not having a good time.
You cannot bond through watching DePaul. It can only bring sadness into your life. By agreeing to watch DePaul with each other, these two have agreed to experience emptiness in each other's presence.
It's strange, though -- this year's Northwestern-DePaul game was pretty close. It actually went into overtime.
They're actually watching the previous Northwestern-DePaul game, which happened in 2008. Indeed, asses were whooped in that game, a 63-36 Northwestern victory, and play-by-play shows Northwestern did lead 45-27. It was such a whooping that DePaul promptly stopped playing Northwestern, breaking a then-annual series that wasn't continued again until this season.
You can make out Juice Thompson with the ball, and it looks like NU was rolling with an absolutely unstoppable lineup of Jeff Ryan, Mike Capocci, Luka Mirkovic, and Craig Moore (The play-by-play seems to confirm that lineup). Bill Carmody has his arms folded on the sideline, presumably thinking about when to send in Kyle Rowley for the kill.
I actually distinctly remember this game -- the ones from my junior and senior years kinda blend together, but this was one of the first games my freshman year. I remember that down like 20, DePaul's star Dar Tucker somewhat obviously flopped, then got viciously booed by the crowd, and that he proceeded to fake an injury right in front of the student section before laughing and putting his hand to his ear to encourage more boos. I remember this game, and it is weird to watch TV characters watch it.
To make matters weirder, the audio to the game -- which is played quite loudly to highlight how completely silent the two characters are -- is not from this game. It's from a Duke game:
All the tweets I could find about this segment of the show were upset about this:
On #Shameless they're watching a DePaul/Northwestern game, but the announcer mentions Scheyer, Singler, + Smith. Um, they all went to Duke.— Matt Schuldt (@MSchuldt29) April 4, 2016
Wonder why they were wearing DePaul gear on @SHO_Shameless watching Northwestern with a gamecast calling out Scheyer and Singler (from Duke)— Guy Rimbey (@geowiz85) April 4, 2016
I'm genuinely interested how this came to be. Shameless is on Showtime, which is owned by CBS, so maybe it was hard to get any footage from Big East games, which are typically on FOX or FS1. So I can imagine it was hard to get good footage of a DePaul game. Maybe BTN was the only channel that used a scorebox with the full word DEPAUL to make it clear DePaul was the team being watched?
And, like, why DePaul anyway? Why did anyone think "Everybody gets together to watch DePaul" was a conceivable storyline? One major plot line in Shameless involves a woman realizing she's infertile and urging her husband to impregnate her mom instead, and that seems significantly more plausible than a family bonding over DePaul basketball.
It would've made more sense for Chicago friends to get together to watch literally any other Chicago sports team: the Bears, the Bulls, the Blackhawks, anybody. The episode appears to be set in the winter, but a December White Sox game would still be a more realistic storyline than DePaul basketball.
I have no idea why a popular, well-done TV show dedicated a significant portion of its season finale to a 27-point Northwestern basketball victory, but I'm glad that it did.