‘Shameless’: Ethan Cutkosky (Carl) Wasn’t Allowed to Watch the Show Although He Acted In It

Showtime‘s critically acclaimed TV seriesShameless, is now in its 11th season. Many of the actors grew up on set over the last 11 years. Ethan Cutkosky began playing Carl Gallagher on Shameless at the age of 12, but he wasn’t allowed to watch the show until several years later.

'Shameless' Actors Emma Rose Kenney and Ethan Cutkosky
‘Shameless’ Actors Emma Rose Kenney and Ethan Cutkosky | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

‘Shameless’ character, Carl Gallagher, wasn’t supposed to have any type of storyline

When Cutkosky began playing Carl on Shameless at the age of 12, the writers and producers didn’t plan to have a storyline for him. He was only there to play one of Frank Gallagher’s neglected children.

“When you look at season 1, the role of Carl was to occasionally say something slightly shocking,” executive producer Mark Mylod told the Chicago Tribune. “We certainly would never dream of actually putting any kind of narrative on him or giving him any kind of story strand.”

The producer admitted that they hired Cutkosky because “he looked like he was slightly stoned.”

Mylod never expected the child actor to do any acting. However, in season 4, the actor had a larger role in the series and impressed the entire crew.

“He turned out to be a brilliant actor, which was a bonus,” Mylod added.

Cutkosky wasn’t allowed to watch ‘Shameless’ for his first several seasons of acting in it

Cutkosky’s parents, David and Yvonne Cutkosky, explained to the outlet that they had conversations with Ethan about the subject matter of specific episodes. However, they didn’t allow him to watch any episodes in full until he was 14. The actor thought it was funny because most of the stuff was happening around him in real life anyway.

“By the time I was able to watch it, I already knew about all that stuff,” Ethan explained. “Half that stuff is probably going on in my school.”

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He often confided in Emma Kenney (who plays Carl’s sister Debbie Gallagher). However, the two teenage actors were accustomed to the adult material.

“We don’t really talk about what happens on the show as much as we talk about normal teenage things,” Kenney added. “I feel like we talk about it sometimes because it can be a little uncomfortable, but we’ve also grown up with the show and with each other.”

Carl almost left the show entirely in season 5

In Shameless Season 4, Carl became a large part of the series. There were entire storylines surrounding his antics with his new girlfriend, and the producers were very impressed with Cutkosky’s acting. However, in real life, the actor was entering high school. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue a career in acting.

“I don’t see myself as an actor,” Cutkosky told the outlet “I see myself as someone who goes to work and then comes back and hangs out with his friends. I still want to come home and be that regular kid.”

After discussions with the producer, Cutkosky began high school with his classmates. Carl went off to military school in season 5 so that the actor could have a more typical teenage year. Thankfully, he returned for season 7.