Culture Vulture: We’ve reached the end of Schitt’s Creek
If you’re scrolling through Netflix, you could easily flick past Schitt’s Creek. On the surface, the concept sounds a bit contrived and predictable, a rich family lose all their money and end up living in a poor town.
But, six seasons in, father and son creators – Eugene and Dan Levy – have created some really funny TV and some unforgettable characters.
First airing in 2015, Schitt’s Creek introduced us to the wealthy Rose family – video store magnate Johnny (Eugene Levy), his wife and former soap opera actress Moira (Catherine O’Hara), and their adult children David and Alexis (Dan Levy and Annie Murphy). In the opening episode, we see the Rose family lose their fortune after being defrauded by their business manager. They are forced to rebuild their lives with their sole remaining asset – a small town named Schitt’s Creek, which they had bought their son as a joke birthday gift back in 1991.
The Roses relocate to Schitt’s Creek, moving into two adjacent rooms in a run-down motel. As the family adjusts to their new lives, their well-to-do attitudes come into conflict with Schitt’s Creek’s unsophisticated and down-to-earth residents, including mayor Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott), his wife Jocelyn (Jenn Robertson), and the motel’s manager, Stevie (Emily Hampshire).
What makes Schitt’s Creek interesting is the sharp and clever writing. This is absurdist, situation-based, fish-out-of water comedy – a formula that can sometimes feel a bit basic, but here it really works. The Rose family are caricatures, but they’re also strangely likeable.
Beyond the gloriously over-the-top, Moira (Catherine O’Hara), there’s extra queer interest in the character of David (Dan Levy). The gay son of the family, David has an eye for fashion and style. But, beyond the familiar tropes, David is one of the most fully-realised queer characters we’ve seen on TV. What makes David so powerful is that he puts on screen the kind of every-day gay intimacy that we’re all familiar with – men kissing, men embracing, men in bed together, men singing covers of Tina Turner to each other – there’s nothing dramatic about it, it’s just what gay men do.
David is a great example of how to tell stories where gay men aren’t the victim, the side-kick, or the embarrassment. We can be complex, loving, infuriating, and entertaining. We can be the catalyst. We can be the main event.
Season 6 of Schitt’s Creek – the final season – is currently in production and is expected to air in 2020.