I recently had a week off from work. I would have loved to have spent that week on holiday, maybe at a five-star resort somewhere by the Aegean sea. Instead, I spent all my time off in my flat in England because, you know, Covid, and also because the weather was so terrible that every time I did leave the house I immediately got caught in a storm. No matter! Time for some good old TV binging.
I love a good sitcom. I’ve watched my favourites like New Girl, Brooklyn 99 and Friends more than once. Because of this week off, I felt like it was time for a new one. I decided to go with a show several people had been telling me about, including my aunt, who has impeccable taste. If she tells me I will like something, I know I will.
It was a Canadian sitcom created by Eugene Levy and his son Daniel, who are also two of the main actors. It had started as a very small and low-budget project but it completely blew up about two years ago. Eventually, it set an Emmy record in 2020 when it won nine awards, including every actor award in its field.
That’s all I really knew about Schitt’s Creek. A week later, I had watched all six seasons, my Etsy wishlist was filled with Schitt’s Creek merch and it was on my mind basically every minute of the day. During that week off, there were days when my eyes did not leave the TV-screen for twelve hours. I was hooked. It had taken me approximately one and a half minutes to realise that I was watching something very special. I was a fan from the first episode, but the show still gets a million times better after that. So if you’re not one hundred percent convinced from the beginning, I beg you to keep watching.
I was looking for a funny, light-hearted, uplifting show. Boy oh boy. It was all of those things. But also so much more. After only a couple of episodes, I declared this my favourite sitcom of all time. Here’s why.
This is the spoiler-free bit
Let’s start with what the show is actually about. Unless you don’t really want to know that before you start watching it. In that case I lied when I said that this was the spoiler-free bit and it’s best if you leave now. Go watch it and come back later (but do feel free to like and share the post on your socials already, that really helps).
Still here? Alrightie. So, the Rose family is rich. Like, filthy dirty rich. So rich, apparently, that father Johnny once gave his son a town for his birthday as a prank because he thought it had a funny name. What happened to a nice birthday card?
The Roses (cute right?!) are only rich for about eight seconds though, because the show immediately starts with them discovering that their accountant screwed them over and that they’re in a lot of debt. They lose everything except for the one thing that the government does not want because it is of no value to them. The town that, and I’m hoping that by now you’ve been able to piece this together, is called Schitt’s Creek. John, Moira and their children David♥ and Alexis are forced to move there and live in motel rooms.
Now, maybe at this point you’re thinking, ‘This sounds ridiculous and absurd’. And you would be right. Considering the premise, the show easily could have been a silly comedy with ridiculous, flat characters. It’s not. It’s everything but that, actually.
The dialogues are incredible
The thing that honestly surprised me immediately, was how incredibly sharp and unpredictable the dialogues are. Sitcoms often do this thing where there’s a ‘rhythm’ in the dialogues (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this but I never said I would be using professional jargon and unless you came here with very wrong expectations that’s not what you’re here for either, so rhythm it is). Building towards a joke, punchline, building again… A character will say something like: ‘My husband is a very serious man’ and you go, ‘Oh, right now the husband is going to walk in and do something very silly’ and then that’s exactly what happens. It can get very predictable. None of that business here. The dialogues are extremely clever and keep you alert. You have no idea what’s about to come out of these people’s mouths. On top of that, basically every sentence is quote-worthy enough to print on a magnet and stick it on your fridge.
The characters are 100% believable
Most of the characters in Schitt’s Creek are deliciously flamboyant and dramatic. And yet they never feel fake. Even though this storyline is probably not relatable to most people, everyone seems real and believable. I didn’t expect that I would relate to them as much as I did. Even the shows with the most domestic everyday scenarios often have characters that just don’t seem real. Here, every character is layered and you keep getting to know them throughout the show. Especially Moira, Alexis and David are very flamboyant people, but unlike with many TV characters, their personalities are not reduced to them just being dramatic and camp. It feels very natural.
Yes, this is a good thing. This show, and I have no words to express my gratitude to the writers for making this decision, ends when it’s at its absolute best. Daniel Levy has stated that he did not want to disrespect the audience’s time and that he did not want Schitt’s Creek to become one of those ‘It’s good until season five’ shows. It’s so painful when shows refuse to call time of death when it has clearly been rotting for the past four seasons, the quality left the building ages ago and it’s become almost painful to watch (looking at you, Big Bang Theory). Schitt’s Creek has six seasons and when you think it can’t possibly get any better, it ends on a high note.
Schitt’s Creek’s world is better than our own
Another thing they decided very early on, was that there would be no homophobia in Schitt’s Creek. It shows people what life can be like and by doing so it has created a world that is better than our own. It would have been easy to portray the inhabitants of the small town as narrow-minded people, but that’s not what’s happening here at all. Both the Roses and the other residents learn from each other. Rather than being preachy, the show wanted to address certain topics by just making them part of the characters’ normal everyday lives.
The children are adults
This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that I’m pushing thirty and that I feel like I’m still figuring everything out, but I love that David and Alexis are about my age and they’re still very much trying to find themselves as well. These shows where sixteen-year olds get their entire lives together and know exactly what they want out of life are fun and all, but I’ve yet to meet the first real-life person who is like that. Over the years I’ve been told by many people that you need to make all of the big decisions in your life before your thirtieth birthday and that’s just not true at all. Schitt’s Creek shows that it’s completely normal to turn your life around or start new projects in your thirties (and in literally every other decade of your life).
The relationships are healthy
I will go into more detail later, but the main relationships on this show are all healthy, sweet and respectful. I’m so sick and tired of shows trying to sell mean and deceitful behaviour as comedy. No, it’s not funny to break your partner’s stuff because you don’t like it, or to take their money and spend it on what you think it should be spent on, or to trade your partner for a hotel, or to erase their name from your child’s birth certificate (this happened on Modern Family and I’m still not over it). The Schitt’s Creek relationships are honestly goals. They bicker of course, but they respect each other and they don’t lie.
The characters curse
I recently watched an interview with the New Girl cast where they said that they were only allowed to say the word ‘penis’ once every couple of episodes, that they could not talk about sex and hold a sausage at the same time and even that they had a person on set who would interrupt them and tell them they had to rewrite bits because they couldn’t say certain things. It didn’t bother me or anything, but I do think it’s wild that this is still considered a big deal. As a result, characters on TV don’t always talk the way people talk in real life. The Schitt’s Creek characters swear and it’s wonderful. There is nothing crass about it and the timing is always perfect.
The FASHION is iconic
Can we just? Because the show did not have a big budget, Daniel Levy would sometimes spend months on Ebay trying to find a specific designer item. The clothes are absolutely outrageous and so nice to look at. They truly are a character on the show. Partly because of the fashion and the wigs, but mostly because of Catherine O’Hara’s incredible performance, Moira Rose has become a modern drag icon. Although in my correct opinion, David is the show’s true fashionista. His collection of knits has become part of the show’s legacy and that black-and-white aesthetic he’s got going on combined with his skirts-that-are-not-skirts-even-though-they’re-definitely-skirts are a vibe. Also, this is maybe a liiiiiiiiiitle bit of a spoiler, but I can’t write this paragraph and not mention the shot of David in the Amish field with a pitchfork in his hand, in the middle of a community that prides itself on living a simple life free from materialism, wearing Balenciaga sunglasses and that Helmut Lang mohawk hoodie/dress creation. That image lives in my mind rent free. And as my screensaver.
This show is for everyone
When you start watching the show, you don’t expect it to get this groundbreaking. It’s very woke without telling you it’s woke, if that makes sense. On the other hand, some characters would not look out of place in Keeping up Appearances or Married with Children. It simultaneously feels like a 90s sitcom that you could watch with your very old-fashioned grandfather (luckily for me both of my grandfathers are super trendy, and also might be reading this) while at the same time, it goes where no sitcom has gone before or since, even in 2021.
THIS IS THE END OF THE SPOILER-FREE BIT
THIS IS THE END OF THE SPOILER-FREE BIT
THIS IS THE NOT-SO-SPOILER-FREE BIT. LEAVE IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE SHOW YET (unless you’re not planning on watching it, but then what exactly are you doing here?)
David’s ‘unexpected’ sexuality makes you rethink labels
David’s sexuality is not mentioned until after we’ve put him in a box. If you’ve watched the show (if not, what are you doing in the spoiler-free section, get out!): how long did it take you to assume that he was gay? Probably not that long. When he sleeps with a woman, this comes as a surprise and we need to ask ourselves why we put him in that box in the first place. This was done deliberately. Without feeling like we’re being taught a lesson or being preached to, we’re forced to think about our assumptions and how we label people. What I also found interesting is that David never actually labels himself. The only time a label is used is when Johnny refers to his son as pansexual. David gives us the iconic wine analogy that many young people have used to come out to their families. This is why representation matters. It makes conversations easier and it helps people get familiar with certain things so that when they come across them in real life, they don’t seem as strange anymore.
The couple that is ‘endgame’ gets together and stays together
The main couple does not break up a million times. How refreshing! Apart from the little mishap when Patrick forgets to mention that he had a fiancé (to be fair, if I were in David’s presence, I would not be concerning myself with irrelevant details like that either), there is no drama between this couple. There is no will-they-won’t-they situation where couples break up after one season to then realise that they want to be together but that’s become impossible because one of them is in another relationship and then there’s a handful of misunderstandings and fights and they only get it together towards the very end. Sounds familiar? Yes, because almost every show does it. Most television writers seem to think that you can’t create interesting storylines without making characters dance around each other for the majority of the show. The only other time I’ve seen a couple get together and stay together throughout the entire thing is on Brooklyn 99 and I remember actually being surprised and waiting for a break-up. Is that not weird?
Alexis’ ending is empowering and absolutely perfect
So, apparently a lot of people don’t agree with this. I’ve read a LOT of comments of people wondering why Alexis didn’t get a happy ending, and frankly I’m baffled. Allow me to make this bold and controversial statement: People Can Be Happy Without Being In A Romantic Relationship. And if there was one person who needed to realise that, apart from apparently the people who wrote these comments, it was Alexis.
At some point Alexis asks her dad, ‘I don’t have a boyfriend anymore, what do I do now?’ and I just wanted to scream at her that she didn’t need a boyfriend. Eventually, she reached that conclusion herself. She finally realises that her self-worth does not depend on a man and she decides to go after her goals on her own. HOW is that not a happy ending? People were hoping for Ted to show up last minute or for her to realise that she wanted to be with him after all and I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I adored Ted. I thought he was a great guy and a wonderful boyfriend. HOWEVER. Everything that needed to be said about that relationship was said during the dinner scene (which, by the way, was so beautiful I’m literally crying as I’m typing this). It was not working, they wanted very different things. I’m so done with these shows where two people clearly can’t make it work but during the last five minutes of the finale they somehow decide to just give up their entire lives for each other anyway. It’s not realistic and we all know that at least one of them would have been super unhappy. The Roses all needed different things. David needed to see that he was worthy of love, that he didn’t need to hide or change himself and that when people love you, they also love your dark and ugly bits. Alexis never doubted that she was worthy of love. She needed to see that she was enough on her own. If you did not understand that this ending is exactly what this character needed, you did not understand this show. Period. I will fight you over my girl’s ending.
David’s sexuality is not treated like a funny phase
David is pansexual (not the cookware fetish, Roland) and he STAYS pansexual, even after he’s found a life partner. This should not be such a rarity in television, but it is. In film and television, queer women usually have a ‘fun’ phase before they officially decide on a gender, or they talk about their ‘highschool days when they used to be wild and gay’. On the other hand, men who say they’re bi- or pansexual eventually realise that they were actually gay all along and that, as Carrie Bradshaw so charmingly put it, ‘It’s just a layover on the way to Gaytown’. Of course these double standards are all lovely examples of your typical sexism and a touch of toxic masculinity, but we do not have time to unpack all of that here. David keeps mentioning ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends and his sexuality does not get minimised or treated like a phase. And how often do we even see a male bi- or pansexual character in a sitcom anyway? That in itself is revolutionary.
That wedding outfit is everything
Yes, David’s wedding outfit deserves its own paragraph, for I could write essays about that skirt suit. This is the best wedding look I have seen on anyone EVER. Real life and TV. Sorry not sorry. Although of course Moira’s finale outfit had me screaming as well. Considering the fact that it was only decided that Moira would be officiating the wedding the morning of, I do wonder where she managed to find that creation in such a short window of time in a town where there’s no clothing shops, but let’s not dwell on that. Actually, she does seem like the kind of person who would have a pope outfit in her closet at all times, just in case. But back to that Thom Browne suit. When I saw David in his wedding outfit for the first time, I honestly think I blacked out for a second. I must have watched this wedding a hundred times by now and every time I see that outfit, I’m still amazed. Fuck, that was a look. Also, Daniel Levy wore the exact same suit in grey to the Emmys. How cute.
Not wanting children is considered a valid decision (wow)
David does not want children and that’s fine. His partner does not try to change his mind. I hate nothing more than when shows pull the ‘I never wanted to get married and I never wanted children but now that I’ve met you all of that has changed and if I don’t have a baby with you right this second I might actually die’. UGH. In one of the sitcoms I really like, there’s this episode where one of the main characters says that they’re not sure they want to be a parent and their partner’s solution is to organise an actual debate on whether having children is the way to go or not. Unsurprisingly, the ‘pro-side’ wins and they end up having children. That bothered me. Another thing that often happens is that the character who does not want children eventually realises that they do want them, they just needed to overcome some trauma and insecurities, because of course all normal people want children. NO. David does not want children (he kind of seems to hate them, actually) and that does not change when he meets Patrick, who knows this and respects it. Another bold statement: Happy Relationships Do Not Have To Include Children.
They’re all very open about sex
David and Patrick consider having a ‘whiskey’ with Jake, which in itself is rather unusual behaviour for the main couple in a sitcom. Later in that same episode though, it turns out that Stevie is one of the attendees at a pre-drink that will very clearly result in group sex with what must be about half the town (where did Jake find all these people). Nobody cares that she’s into this and it’s never discussed again. And then, of course, there is the massage on David and Patrick’s wedding day, which is different to say the very least, but it was also a very cute and funny moment. I still would have murdered David though, make no mistake. (But all would be forgiven the second he appeared in that suit.)
The nighttime oopsie-daisy is some groundbreaking TV
Can we talk about how a sitcom had an adult man wet the bed and everyone treated him with respect? Well, we must, because this might be one of the best storylines I’ve ever seen on TV. I can’t help but think that in any other sitcom, the character’s partner would tell the others and they would all be making fun of them for the rest of the episode. The oopsie-daisy is not not funny, but the funniest thing about it is David’s embarrassment and the fact that he makes it into a much bigger deal than any of the other characters. His partner is worried about him and does not care one bit (ok, maybe he’s a little bit worried about his expensive mattress). Intimacy, sharing your life with someone, means having to deal with these things too and Schitt’s Creek went about this in such a perfect way. It was also just a very sweet moment. His ‘impending nuptials’ just made him very excited. SOBBING.
There is a healthy and respectful gay relationship
My heart. Schitt’s Creek has the healthiest gay relationship, maybe even relationship, that I have ever seen on TV. David and Patrick are also unbelievably cute together. There is no drama, no ‘look what we’ve had to overcome to be together’. Things happen, they handle it like adults and they take care of each other. When it matters, like when Patrick’s parents come to town, they put the other person’s needs first. Patrick has never been with a man but he doesn’t feel insecure or weird about that. David has, ehm, a bit more experience, and that’s fine too. They’re honest, they communicate, they don’t lie and they don’t do things behind each other’s backs. Modern Family’s Mitch and Cam could never (honestly, how toxic are those two together? There is nothing cute about watching the mess that they call a relationship, but that’s a story for another time).
David Rose is the best TV character ever and that’s a fact
Sorry Phil Dunphy, sorry Schmidt, but I have a new favourite character. David Rose is a whole mood and I don’t think I have ever related to a fictional character (or to anyone, for that matter) more in my life. From his aversion to sports to his love for food, but also his insecurities and coping mechanisms. Some scenes looked like they were taken from my own life (the scene of him 30 feet in the air on the shaky logs, the entire baseball episode…) It’s also for the best that David’s store, Rose Apothecary, does not exist in real life because I want every single thing in it. Even the toilet plungers.
I’m not exactly sure why, but something about this character really got me. I’ve always had a very soft spot for the ‘I act tough so that I don’t get hurt’ characters, but this is next level. I think it’s because David’s anxieties and fears, but also his entire personality, feel so real to me. One day I might be able to watch that scene on the hood of the car in the last but one episode without feeling my heart break for him and without absolutely bawling my eyes out, but I very much doubt it. Also (and this might sound weird), that man looks like he gives the best hugs in the world and he smells like heaven. Is that just me?
The minute I was done with the last episode, I immediately wanted to watch the show again. But you know when you really love a book, film or TV show and you’ve made it into this massive thing in your head and you want to read/watch it again but you’re a bit scared that your mind has exaggerated how good it is and you’ll be disappointed? I have the same thing with my favourite book of last year. I really want to read it again, but I’m worried that my memory of it is better than the actual thing. Yesterday, I decided to risk it. I started episode one of Schitt’s Creek again and you know what? It’s better than the first time. I’m actually enjoying it more now that I know and love these characters already.
Every so often, there’s that movie, book or TV show that you just know is going to stay with you forever. And based on the immense success of Schitt’s Creek, I’m clearly not the only one who feels that way about this show. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go. I’m positively bedeviled with meetings etcetera. Just kidding. I want to dance to A Little Bit Alexis. Vroom vroom bitches.
P.S.: Is there such a thing as a birthday registry? Because I keep adding Schitt to my Etsy wishlist. Oh, Ted would love this joke.
Thank you so much for reading this piece! I hope you liked it. If you did and you want to be the first to know about new blogposts and my monthly newsletter with things that I find interesting, please consider subscribing to my website by filling out the box below or going to this page. I promise I won’t spam you with emails. Unless that’s something you’re into.