Shameless, the hit Showtime series, has been known for bringing in some interesting guest actors. Last night introduced a new character, Gareth, who was played by Rick Fox. Rick Fox most recently played for the LA Lakers, and before that was with the Boston Celtics. Fox was a small forward on the Lakers and on the Celtics teams. He played basketball for six seasons with Boston and seven seasons with LA, from 1991 to 2004.
Last night on Shameless, Rick Fox appeared as Gareth, who was Frank’s muscle man. Carl is going through some life changes after his buddy, Nick, goes to jail for killing a boy and decides that he wants out of “the game.” Frank doesn’t want to see all that money lost, though, so he offers to take over Carl’s security rounds while Carl “gets his head on straight.” He quickly finds out that without Nick standing outside to scare the retail owners, there’s not much of a reason for the store owners to hand over the money. One owner bluntly speaks the truth. As Entertainment Weekly says in reference to why Carl got the money, “the only reason they forked over the cash was because Nick — giant, intimidating Nick — was standing at Carl’s side during these transactions.”
The episode is full of racial stereotypes that is typical of Shameless. Vulture says the following.
“The whole sequence toes a line of self-awareness with Gareth (a.k.a. big, scary black guy) noting every time Frank references a black stereotype, and resentfully addressing him as ‘cracker.’ “
Frank heads over to the local barbershop to find someone that will add a scare tactic to his operation and brings in Gareth, who is played by Rick Fox. Rick Fox is the perfect actor for the role — big, black, and intimidating. With his scruffy beard and street clothes, he is menacing. He doesn’t like Frank very much but he does like money, so he does his duty by standing outside the stores and looking mean.
Gareth isn’t about to let Frank get away with paying him peanuts though. When Frank hands him his cut after the first store, he quickly sets him straight and refuses to go any further until he gets a cut that he thinks is acceptable.
After the first day of rounds, Frank finds another reason to bring Gareth into the action. Frank has agreed to do a drug drop for the local dealer and needs a ride to Indiana. Gareth isn’t up for it at first until Frank offers him a taste of the goods. It ends up in a coke sniffing party with Frank and Gareth and the patrons of the barbershop, and they have to replace the coke they snorted with baby laxative.
Rick Fox plays a convincing Gareth. His stature makes it easy to believe that he could be mean, and with the stance and voice of a Chicago street thug, it’s easy to see how he could play the part of the muscle in one of the scams that Frank is always trying to pull off. Many of the fans agreed that Fox did a great job.
Other Shameless fans didn’t think that Rick Fox was intimidating enough to play the muscle, though. They didn’t think Fox was scary enough to play the role, and were disappointed with him as the choice for this casting.
Unfortunately, according to IMDB, this is the only episode where we’ll see Rick Fox playing Gareth on Shameless.
This is not Rick Fox’s first time on the screen, though. Although Fox is most famous as a basketball player for the Lakers and the Celtics, he’s been on several TV shows and movies. In 2015 alone, Rick Fox had eight roles, including iZombie, Sin City Saints, and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! In the past, Fox also appeared on Hit the Floor, The Glades, and even Melrose Place. Rick Fox has been acting since 1994.
Rick Fox is Canadian and was born in Toronto to an Afro-Bahamian father and Italian/Scottish mother. His family moved to the Bahamas shortly after he was born. He played college basketball at University of North Carolina, the same school that Michael Jordan went to.
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