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Home»Features»Schitt’s Creek: Examining Eugene, Dan Levy’s surprisingly wholesome show about kindness and resilience»

Schitt’s Creek: Examining Eugene, Dan Levy’s surprisingly wholesome show about kindness and resilience

While the rise of Schitt’s Creek, which debuted on 13 January 2015, has been unprecedented, it was not overnight.

Schitt’s Creek: Examining Eugene, Dan Levy’s surprisingly wholesome show about kindness and resilience
  • Pratishruti Ganguly

Last Updated: 07.51 AM, Jan 10, 2022

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Schitt’s Creek, created by the father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, is one rare show whose acceptance and popularity has only grown, ever since its first debut in 2015.

This Canadian show, also starring Eugene and Dan Levy as father and son Johnny and David Rose, along with Catherine O’Hara (who plays Johnny’s wife Moira), Annie Murphy (as Alexis, the younger daughter of the Roses), Chris Elliott, Emily Hampshire and Jennifer Robertson, is centred on an uber-wealthy family that suddenly finds itself in the throes of bankruptcy and is forced to relocate to a small town, Schitt’s Creek, the family patriarch had once bought as a joke for his son.

With four haughty, class-conscious and scornful protagonists at the centre, who would’ve thought Schitt’s Creek would redefine wholesome TV. And yet, the Roses, with their endearing peculiarities, became one of the most lovable TV families of the decade. No, they hardly ever hug. Anything more than a few seconds of affection seems incestuous to this family. They are not even the most considerate or accommodating of others’ needs. But when ‘schitt’ hits the fan, they band together. Without a question.

It’s a comedy show, so the characters are appropriately exaggerated. But through the course of its six-season run, Schitt’s Creek slowly developed these characters, in a way that they never felt forced or in service of the narrative. So, when David discloses that Alexis’ routine escapades to faraway continents would worry him sick, Alexis simply smiles. Because this is perhaps the first time she realises that her stoic family cares about her more than they care to express.

In another scene, Johnny and Moira Rose meet their old friends at an upscale diner, hoping to not cross paths with the Schitts. But they do, and when they all sit together, Johnny suddenly realises that the family that he has been trying to fraternise with abandoned him long ago. It was the Schitts, with their ridiculous names and eating habits, attire and beings, that unconditionally helped them out.

The show has its saccharine moments, whether Moira ditching her big performance to perform at her daughter’s graduation, David humouring Alexis with a hug after a terrible breakup or Johnny volunteering to help an injured Twyla serve the customers at the cafe. But they are not “transformed” by the end of the show; their stint at this far-flung town helps them get in touch with those finer feelings of compassion and kindness that may have been chafed by their burden of wealth.

There is also growth in professional terms. At the beginning of the show, we are told David used to own art galleries in New York, but his patrons were planted by Johnny. Alexis was a high-school dropout and Moira was a has-been soap opera star reliving her glory days on the internet. But they are hustlers, so they persevere until find jobs that they enjoy and thrive at. Moral values are not shoved down one’s throat. As a matter of fact, they are so subtle that the slightest of gestures — from Patrick’s taking David out for a dinner to an ecstatic Johnny hi-fiving motel owner Stevie after the motel is booked out for the first time, makes you ugly cry.

Schitt’s Creek is also visually stunning. Forever sunny and green, it is the idyllic suburban town that an escapist comedy like Schitt’s Creek can be set in.

In 2017, Netflix acquired the show, and simultaneously, word of mouth around it also started gaining traction. However, while the rise of Schitt’s Creek has been unprecedented, it was not overnight. While most shows lose steam by the time they are discovered and rediscovered, Schitt’s Creek remained consistently good and surprisingly touching through its six-season run. With razor-sharp humour and meme-worthy moments, Schitt’s Creek started to amass a cult following soon enough.

The cast of the show is indeed one of the several reasons why the celebratory clamour around Schitt’s Creek refuses to die down. Whether it be Chris Elliot’s nervous and tardy mayor Roland Schitt’s, his cheerful wife Jocelyn (Jennifer Robertson), the fiercely independent Stevie (Emily Hampshire) or Karen Robinson’s Ronnie, Schitt’s Creek is populated with actors who slip into their characters with such ease that even their quirks seem organic, not staged. There is not a single moment that you do not buy into the crises, however small or big they might be, that the characters have to endure. And when they succeed, you fist-bump yourself in vicarious elation.

Watch Schitt's Creek here

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