Mickey Milkovich on Shameless is easily one of the most finely drawn LGBT characters on TV right now. Maybe ever, and that’s not hyperbole or overstated in any way. He’s a teenager from a home that’s as brutally FUBARed as it gets; he’s violent, paranoid, criminally inclined, angry, unpredictable, mean, dirty, trashy and unapologetically vulgar. He’s also recklessly in love with the freckled, sweet-faced doe-eyed boy who lives down the block in their very, very rough and poor neighborhood. Whatareyagonnado.
Noel Fisher is so ridiculously talented, so raw and funny and balls-to-the-wall in his portrayal, it’s no surprise that he’s slowly taken over half the show. It’s amazing to watch Mickey go off in so many directions, sometimes in the same episode; he’s like a little tiny gay Tasmanian Devil. I don’t think any other show except for Orange Is the New Black examines the way that class and sexuality/sexual identity intersect as starkly and unflinchingly as Shameless does with this one character, and I don’t know of any other LGBT character on TV right now whose experiences lay this bare how casually class-privileged many public discussions about coming out and identity politics can be. Kurt/Blaine, this ain’t.
I really don’t know why the media isn’t talking about Mickey all that much yet, but I have a feeling that’s gonna turn around soon. And if you aren’t watching Shameless and you’re interested in one of TV’s few authentic portrayals (and vicious satire and skewering) of poverty and class struggles in American cities, I highly recommend it.