The Gallaghers are back and saucier than ever.

America’s favorite inebriated family returns to Showtime Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 for its fourth season, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.

If you're reading this, you’re probably already modestly versed in the family’s trials and tribulations, but here’s a rundown:

"Shameles"  follows the story of the Gallaghers, a Chicago native family with some issues. The patriarch Frank is a morbid alcoholic, an arch that has now left him near death with a rotting liver. Fiona, his daughter, is the makeshift matriarch, exuding sex and taking charge as she dates her boss at her shockingly legitimate job. Lip is now in college, Carl and Debbie are going through puberty, and Ian has left for the Army. Fiona’s longtime boyfriend, Steve, is out of the picture. All caught up? Good.

It’s easy to brush off "Shameless" as just filthy, unapologetic and, well, shameless, but that undermines the bizarre and utterly compelling family aesthetic that drives the show. Each of the characters have their own quirks and issues, and at the end of the day they’re a family, bruises and all.

After several seasons of dealing with Frank’s shit, Fiona has now, more or less, given up on her selfish and troubled father. Carl, the conniving troublemaker, is the only one who seems to be giving ol' Dad a chance. And by chance, I mean butt-bonging boxed wine into Frank’s broken body and loading him up with Oxycontin.

As good as it is to have the guys back, there’s a certain sense of safety in this season that alleviates a lot of the compelling and entertaining plot points of previous seasons. Fiona’s new job and the subsequent boss she’s banging mean the family has money. And health insurance. The family’s various scams are (for now) relatively gone.

Lip’s wasted genius of previous seasons has  put him in a highly impressive polytechnic school, and Ian is now just gone.

Regardless, "Shameless" remains one of the most unique shows on television, with its particular blend of deep-fried entertainment and family drama.

"Shameless" returns Sunday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime.