Schitt’s Creek won all the Emmys on Sunday night, and I’d been long been meaning to write a blog entry about what became one of my favorite shows of all time.
A co-worker–with whom I frequently discussed our mutual love of Archer–recommended this show to me years ago, when it was only available to stream on Amazon Prime. I’ve never really been a huge fan of the Christopher Guest movies (although For Your Consideration was probably one of the most brilliant send-ups of Hollywood and the Oscar chase I’ve ever seen), which was primarily what I knew Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara from (although I’ve always been a big fan of hers and thought she was always under-appreciated and should have been a much bigger star than she was); but when I watched the first episode, I wasn’t convinced it was something I’d want to watch. I’ve never understood Chris Elliott, or understood his style of “cringe humor”, and the old “fish out of water” trope being explored here didn’t seem especially interesting or original. It didn’t grab me on that first watch, and I never went back to it. I just didn’t see how this was any different from any other “filthy rich awful people lose all their money and have to live in a rustic quirky backwater with eccentric people” show/movie/whatever I’d seen already.
I’m also not entirely sure why I decided to go back and try it again–this time with Paul watching with me–but the second time was definitely the charm. We found season one amusing, and by season two we were bingeing unashamedly and reluctantly turning it off every night because we had to go to bed. We finished everything on Netflix, and then had to wait for the final season to air so we could watch it as well–the entire time telling everyone we knew they had to watch. The final season was, as opposed to most final seasons of beloved shows, quite good; I should have known they would know how to end the show properly.
Why did Schitt’s Creek resonate so strongly with us, as well as with so many others? I think it was because the Roses–despite all appearances to the contrary at the beginning–weren’t truly terrible people; it’s just that their wealth (and soap stardom, in Moira’s case) had disconnected them not only from each other but from any sort of sense of reality, and the real world. Their interactions with the eccentrics of Schitt’s Creek–and their own eccentricities–were never cruel, insulting or condescending; we also got to see the Roses grow and adapt, get closer to each other and develop not only a true sense of family, but of community with everyone else in the town. There is a genuine sweetness to the show, and the way everyone grows is something that is rare on a situation comedy; it was also genuinely touching. The friendship between David and Stevie, for example; also the way Stevie gradually became a part of the family. The friendship between Alexis and Twyla, as well; the entire Alexis arc, going from brainless celebutante to high school graduate to businesswoman; from self-absorbed to genuinely caring enough about other people to put their own happiness before her own, was not only inspiring but impossible to watch without the occasional tearing up.
David’s relationship with Patrick was also probably one of–if not the best–same-sex love stories to ever play out on a television series.
And while I was sorry to see the show end, I was absolutely delighted to see it get the Emmy love it got Sunday night.
And if you’re looking for something equally charming to watch, I’ve got to say that Ted Lasso on Apple Plus comes pretty damned close to matching it.