"There are scenes we shoot and watch in editing and look at each other and say, 'Yeah, we're not going to do that,'" Wells said. "There's a difference between trying to satirize a societal norm and just bad taste."
"When it goes from shameless to shameful," Macy added.
Wells said he likes to show things that illuminate character.
"But things done simply for a laugh and don't have any of that underneath it, for me, I don't wan to do anything that damages the character," Wells said, noting that "Shameless" begins each season with more comic situations that evolve into more dramatic stories as the year continues.
He said the mail he receives most often on the series comes from gay teens regarding the gay teen character Ian (Cameron Monaghan).
"The original challenge was because [the actor] was a minor when we began was what we could show and wanting to be realistic about those lifestyle choices he was making and make it seem like we're not dealing with him in the same way as everybody else but there are federal laws about what we could and couldn't show," Wells said. "[Monaghan] turned 18 this year and in one of the final episodes of this season we see him engaged romantically with a man and I loved it because the majority of the mail I get is actually from gay teenagers who say a simple 'thank you' and that's something I feel really good about. It's not a simple choice for [the character] in this neighborhood and we're not trying to underplay that. It's a perfectly natural thing he's doing and [Monaghan] has been very brave about it. He's not gay and he's completely embraced the idea of this character and what this character means from the mail we get. He has been an important character for gay teenagers dealing with all these same issues."
Although it's based on a British series and reused some of the British show's plots in its first season, "Shameless" has gone its own way in the current second season.
Wells, a Carnegie Mellon University grad who recently set up an endowed professorship at the school, said his company is not currently developing any shows set in Pittsburgh but they will consider filming future series in Western Pennsylvania. Well is due to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today.