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  • Writer's picturePierre Eustache

I'm sorry I waited to watch 'Schitt's Creek'

Courtesy of Pop TV

After watching the first two seasons, I suddenly realized what I had been missing out on.

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States in March earlier this year, many people found themselves attempting to stay safe by sheltering at home, myself included. I was put on furlough from my job, and suddenly, I had wealth of time available to me. I attempted to fill it with new activities, like learning to cook simple but delicious dishes (thank you, Jamie Oliver) and picking up Animal Crossing for the first time ever. However, I was most excited to finally catch up on a multitude of television shows. Just a couple of months before the shutdown, I had actually made a queue of series to watch for the first time: episodes of The Witcher, Succession, The Umbrella Academy, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and many more were enthusiastically consumed. Then, as the pandemic showed no signs of letting up, I turned to some comfort series, repeating episodes of my favorite comedies like How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, Happy Endings, and New Girl.

While watching New Girl, I started to feel like since it went off the air, I was lacking a current singular comedy in my life to obsess over. It was admittedly a weird feeling, because there are plenty of worthy comedies I’ve seen in that time: Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a laugh riot, but I only started watching shortly before its move to NBC; The Good Place was brilliant, but it always felt a little different than most comedies. It was almost an intangible feeling, but I wanted something that just had that special feeling I experienced with those other favorites of mine.

So, imagine my inner dread over the last couple of weeks when I discovered (five years too late) that Schitt’s Creek should have been that show. It was a series I knew existed, had seen promoted on talk shows, contained actors I adored, and somewhat heard people rave about. Yet, for whatever reason, I never actively sought it out. Recently, I stumbled upon an installment of Variety’s Actors on Actors series that featured Kieran Culkin (whose performance in Succession is sublime) and Dan Levy, co-creator and star of Schitt’s Creek. I wanted to watch the interview for Culkin but realized that I could be spoiled about Levy’s show. So, I finally decided to pick it up, and after having watched the first two seasons, I’ve realized that Schitt’s Creek has all the hallmarks of the amazing comedies I’ve previously fallen in love with.

Of course, as is the case with any great comedy, the laughs come a mile a minute. And no characters have me laughing harder than the members of the Rose family, which just may be the best comedy family since the Bluths. The Roses are similar enough in their demeanor for me to believe they are actually a family, and at the same time, each of them stands out in their own hilarious way. As patriarch Johnny Rose, Eugene Levy elevates the role of the comedy straight man; I love the perpetually incredulous look on his face as he reacts to all of the ridiculousness around him, best of all his sometimes-clueless kids. Then there’s daughter Alexis, whose constant stories of her sketchy past have me both incredibly amused and bewildered—How in the world is she still alive? Last, and perhaps greatest of all, is Moira, played to perfection by Catherine O’Hara. With her lilting mannerisms and that silly style of speech, O’Hara completely loses herself in the character and steals the attention in every scene she’s in, just as Moira would do in real life.

I could also tell very early on that the series would be creatively fresh. With the premise of a wealthy family being forced to live in poverty among small-town folk, the show could have easily gone down the road of familiar tropes and stereotypes, making the Roses too inept around a capable community. But not only do they know how to handle themselves socially, I also love how the citizens of Schitt’s Creek are just as quirky as the Roses, just in different ways. And then there’s Dan Levy’s character, David. As the episodes went on, I began to notice how the show didn’t feel the need to address his sexuality, even as Alexis promptly began chasing after town hotties. I found this quite refreshing—despite David behaving in a manner one may assume is gay, it didn’t immediately define his character, and I was left to focus on just how funny he is. Of course, towards the end of the first season, after David sleeps with Stevie, we find out that he is pansexual, which is described with the most amazing metaphor and is a testament to the writing in this series.

Even better than David’s metaphor were the scenes from that same episode which featured Johnny talking to Roland Schitt about his own confusion coming to terms with David’s pansexuality. It was at this point that I began to sense the heart of the show, which is perhaps the most effective element of a comedy that leaves an impression on me. As Johnny talked with Rowland, and Moira shared a part of her history with Roland’s wife Jocelyn, I began to feel a connection with all of these characters. The show would continue to build on those connections in Season Two, especially as Alexis got to know former fiancé Ted on a deeper level, and Moira spent more time with the ladies of the town, eventually becoming a member of city council. By the time the finale came around, and Johnny told off his old rich friends in defense of the town that had taken his family in, I truly felt the love. And as everyone danced together in the barn, the show’s place in my heart solidified.

Later this month, I’ll be sharing a few of my desires for the results of the 2020 Emmy Awards, but I’ll go ahead and give you a bit of a spoiler: I want Schitt’s Creek to win as much as possible. As strong as this series has started in the first two seasons, I can only imagine how much better it has gotten over the rest, and an Emmy win would be the best way for them to cosmically receive my apologies for not having started watching the show earlier. It’s smart, unique, touching, and most importantly, downright uproarious. And once I finish it, much like my other favorites, I’ll look forward to watching it over and over.

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