Lip Gallagher is the new Will Hunting

Over the past few weeks of winter break, I really have not done much besides work. After that, I’ve done a whole lot of nothing. During all that down time, I decided to (binge) watch a new TV series. Ultimately, I decided to go with shameless because the humor was tailored to my type of comedy. All I have heard from others who watch the series is that they are addicted to this show. I should have listened. After about 2 weeks, I am almost to season 4 of the show. So much crazy and messed up shit has happened already to the Gallagher family. Just when you think the show has pushed the limits, the Gallagher family finds a way to prove you wrong; it happens day in and day out like clockwork. Although I still may be considered a novice to the series, I can tell that Lip is a fan favorite among a lot of people. For whatever reason it may be, he is a likable character. Don’t get me wrong, he is one fucked up individual but he reminds me a lot of Matt Damon as Will Hunting. Let’s take a look at the similarities:


1. Both Lip and Will are geniuses that don’t act upon it

Lip was one of the top students in his class. He could have went to prestigious schools like Harvard and Yale. Every time Lip took the SAT for himself or for others, he always got above a 2000. However, Lip did not go to any Ivy League school because he decided to “work” and support his family. Will, similarly, is a genius. At his custodial job at MIT, Will solves different advanced arithmetic theorems and problems posted around the school. No MIT student has solved these problems before but this janitor from South Boston (Southie) did it without thinking twice. However, Will wants to be anonymous and even flees MIT when the professor catches him completing the problem. On top of that, Will uses his knowledge to make fun of weird creeps at the bar (which is one of my favorite scenes). It’s truly amazing what both of their minds are capable of and yet both of them do not challenge their own potential which is a shame (pun intended).

2. Both are bad boys in a tough situation from the south side of town

Lip grew up with 5 siblings in the south side of Chicago. The Gallagher family has always had a tough life, mainly due to the negligence of their drunk father, Frank and bipolar mother, Monica. Since he was young, Lip has had to face a cold reality and he has matured quickly because of it. Similarly, Will grew up in Southie and was in a foster family because he was an orphan. The movie does not mention his foster family too much but we do find out that Will was abused as a child from his foster father. Life has not been easy for neither Lip nor Will.

3. They both fought the law, and the law won

For both of these characters, the world has never handed them anything on a silver platter. Rather than expecting handouts, they both take matters into their own hands. For Lip, this means helping others steal luxury cars, among other things. Although grand theft auto can be lucrative, it is also very risky. Eventually, Lip gets caught in a stolen car and almost faced 5 years in prison. Likewise, Will takes matters into his own hands. One day, at a local park, Will and his buddies see some guys they hate. Being the bad ass that he is, Will walks up to the group and immediately starts throwing punches which led to this specific arrest. Now, everyone messes up in their life and pay the price but for Lip and Will, they deliberately choose to take the risks and they do not care about jail time.

4. Neither can maintain a healthy relationship

For both Lip and Will, the only relationships they have end up getting fucked up in one way or another. They both grew up in a fucked up family and because of that they cannot confide in any other person. For Lip, his relationships are, to put it nicely, unique. The first girlfriend, Karen, is a crazy, psychotic maniac. Although their relationship is open, Karen still pushes Lips buttons too far, like hooking up with his dad.
After Karen came Mandy, who is arguably just as if not more messed up that Karen. Although the women Lip has been with are crazy, he always pushes them away or messes up the relationship when it is going semi-well. For Will, he met a smart and pretty woman named Skylar at a local bar. After thoroughly impressing her and roasting another guy, he gets her number and they hit it off. Will gets closer to Skylar by lying and not being honest about his life. Eventually, Skylar asks Will to move with her to California where she will attend Stanford. Will, as we come to learn, cannot deal well with failure and ends up breaking it off with Skylar. This sent Will in a downward spiral that only his therapist, played by Robin Williams, can save him. Will and Sean (Williams) actually help heal each other and in the end, Will decides to pursue Skylar in California to try and save their relationship. Although this relationship is more genuine than anything Lip has had, it is still not one filled with complete health.

5. Both have trouble opening up to other people

In the episodes of Shameless I have seen to date, Lip has gone through a multitude of people that could have helped him through the journey of life. Some of these people include the girlfriends he has had, his family, his high school dean, the professor from the University of Chicago, etc. When Lip gets close to anyone, he ends up pushing them away because it is the only thing he knows how to do. Although his family is constantly there for him, he finds a way to get in fights with all of the members. The reason he pushes all of these people away is because he physically cannot open up to other people and that is a direct result of his shitty parents. In Good Will Hunting, Will, as we learn, cannot deal with failure in any relationship so he sabotages them in order to save himself from the emotional pain and suffering. Again, this can be attributed to his shitty childhood and life as a whole. However, after years of having trouble opening up to others, Sean finally breaks through to Will through their countless therapy sessions. If it weren’t for Sean, Will would never be able to open up to anyone.


Although I am only about 3 seasons into Shameless, I think that Lip Gallagher is the new Will Hunting. I mean, how can one not see ALL of those similarities between the characters? For now, I’ll just have to keep watching Shameless and learn more about Lip and the Gallaghers as a whole. For viewing sake, I hope that this show gets more fucked up than it already is because I am enjoying every bit of it.



One thought on “Lip Gallagher is the new Will Hunting

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  1. HMMM! This is cool and I enjoyed your comparison between Will Hunting and Lip Gallagher. The comparison mirrored out what both characters are in the various movie and they really made the movies interesting and fascinating.

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