“Shameless” is bribing someone to get your kid admitted to a school they don’t deserve to attend.

Emoting for a national audience about how much you’ll miss her as she heads off to a school she shouldn’t be attending is next-level.

If Loughlin was this sad about it, she could have kept her $500,000 and let her daughter live at home forever. Because, listen: If you can’t get into USC, of all places, without handing someone a fat envelope, you probably should be living at home forever.

I mean, really:

Loughlin had a lot to say to the New York Post in 2017 about her parenting philosophy:

“For my husband too, their dad, never we were never like, ‘At school you got to get straight A’s.’ We were never those parents. We were always like, ‘You know what? Give it your all. Do the best you can ’cause in life if you give it your all and you do the best you can, that’s it. That’s all you can do.’ And that’s enough, in my opinion, especially with kids. I think we’ve put so much pressure and stress on them. A lot of it is unnecessary and I think it’s important to just have downtime, free time. I never over-scheduled my kids. Never. I always gave them plenty of time to just sit in their playroom and, you know, use their imaginations.”

“Do your best because that’s all you can do. And if your best isn’t good enough, bribe someone.” Perhaps more structured learning in the playroom might have obviated the need to commit a federal crime to see the little ones off to college.

All right, sorry. That was mean. Not to pick on her and her kids but they’re half the reason why this story has become the phenomenon that it has. For one thing, the kids appear to have cooperated in the fraud, posing for photos on rowing machines as part of the ruse to get them admitted on crew scholarships. And by taking two seats from the available pool of admissions to the class of 2021, they ensured that two kids who deserved to go to USC were improperly rejected — a fate replicated more than 750 times nationwide in this scandal. This is very much not a victimless crime.

But let’s face it, the story wouldn’t be what it is without Loughlin’s special celebrity. It’d be major news with or without her, but the idea of a beloved cast member from the most wholesome family sitcom since “The Brady Bunch” being named in a federal indictment is so surreal that you can’t go more than five minutes reading about it without thinking “Is this really happening?” It’s a Trump-era news story if ever there was one. The best reason to reelect him is that he seems to have magical powers that make insanely implausible news stories happen, like “Full House star charged in college-admissions bribery ring.” I’m actually surprised that she surrendered to the FBI today. A national manhunt for Lori Loughlin seemed not very far-fetched for America 2019.

By the way, there is an honest-to-goodness actual episode of “Full House” devoted to committing fraud in the interest of getting your kids admitted to school, in case you’re still not convinced that we’re living in a virtual-reality simulation.

Where was I? Oh, right. Loughlin’s half the reason people are following this story obsessively, but only half. The other half of the equation is obvious: It seems to confirm in the most lurid way two very widely shared suspicions about America’s “meritocracy.” One is that not only do the rich enjoy an unfair advantage, many are such colossal dipsh*ts that they require the commission of crimes to achieve what the average joe manages with very basic intelligence.

And two: College is a total, total scam, valued by many (most?) purely as a credential. The last kid in the world who needs college in order to be comfortable in life is one with rich parents. But since college has become a badge among the professional class of achievement and competence, rich parents absolutely must have that badge for their children. At whatever cost.

Many on social media have wondered over the past 24 hours what the point of the college admissions process is. In theory, demanding that students meet a certain threshold of high-school grades, extracurriculars, and standardized tests is a way to weed out those who’ll struggle with college education. In practice, grade inflation ensures that no one but the laziest students will flunk out. High admissions standards is itself just a form of credentialism by the school. Loughlin and the rest simply offered a different kind of elite credential for their own children.

Anyway, if I had had to guess which “Full House” cast member would be named in a federal indictment, it definitely would have been Kimmy Gibbler. My bad.