It used to be when you heard water cooler talk about ‘The Creek’, it involved James Van Der Beek, the titular character alongside anguished teens called Pacey, Joey, and Jen. Their vernacular was anything but normal…a verbal diarrhoea of intense mini-monologues and self awareness I’ve never witnessed in real life. But they struck a chord with a generation and probably gained second and third waves of fans as streaming caught on.
In my opinion, there is only one Creek that is worthy of referral as ‘THE Creek’. And I’m proud to say it’s the terrifically Canadian one that is Schitt’s. For anyone living under a rock who didn’t hear that they swept the Primetime Emmy’s with a record breaking number of awards for a comedy including all four major acting awards, you need to get with the program. It’s a classic fish out of water story when the Rose family, wealthy from America’s second largest video store chain, get swindled by their accountant and are left with nothing but the deeds to a town called Schitt’s Creek that was purchased as a ‘joke gift’ to the son in the family. Much hilarity ensues as they navigate life without their usual accoutrements and highfalutin lifestyle.
There is the one and only Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose, who can articulate more with the tiniest movement of his spectacular eyebrows than anyone in the business. Sometimes I wonder if he biologically needs to blink as often as the rest of us. He has a patented slow, swivelling head turn coupled with a wide-eyed, glazed stare reaction to exchanges of character dialogue and plot situations that beggars belief. I live for those brows and those moments. They say so much with so very little.
With Dan Levy as Johnny’s son David Rose we have the unexpected dynamic of a real father and son combo playing out onscreen. The results are always hysterical, often cringeworthy, and sometimes so tender and heartfelt, it could only have been them making this work the way it does. I challenge anyone not to love his character, or at least appreciate his character arc and witty repartee. David has a special place in most fans heart’s because not only does he say what we all wish we sometimes could, he lives his best life without regret and an enthusiasm mixed with disdain that, for my money, is the perfect blend.
The inimitable Catherine O’Hara, outrageously self absorbed and fastidiously fashionable at all times makes for essential viewing. I am not at all surprised that Moira Rose, she of the indiscernible accent with a patois nobody can identify, has become this generations gay icon of the small screen making all of us feel that ‘we’re not worthy’ of Moira’s presence. Her fashion statements alone (a monochromatic nod to her famous role in Beetlejuice) make this a series worth watching even though it is so much more than costume and wardrobe genius. *Spoiler Alert* : Moira’s “The Crows Have Eyes” film adventure is so eye-wateringly funny I had to rewind several scenes over and over and just let the laughter take over.
There are so many other well developed characters on the show, from town mayor Roland and his wife Jocelyn Schitt (always smiling and accommodating to a fault through gritted teeth), to the Rose’s daughter Alexis and her calling card: “Ew, David!”. Eugene’s daughter Sarah Levy rounds out the family clan involved in the show as the sweet and generous Twyla as a waitress from the Cafe Tropical. Patrick is the perfect complement to David, and their relationship is one I don’t wish to spoil. I wholeheartedly believe anyone watching this show will learn volumes from seeing this particular relationship grow and develop. It has already educated millions, I’m sure, about what true love is.
This show is an example of why television needs to let programs grow and build. It would have been cancelled after one season if the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) hadn’t been involved and it was left to American distributors and ratings. It generated a cult following and grew by word of mouth. Thank God it was allowed to continue. It has made me laugh, cry and thankful that a little slice of Canadiana has swept the globe getting the recognition it deserves. As a side note, the motel that is used for exterior shots is down the road from my Auntie Val’s place on Hockley Road in Ontario. I know I will be making a pitstop there whenever I manage to make it back to Canada for my very own fan photos and ‘Schitt show’ so to speak.
The entire six season run is streaming now on Netflix in the UK and North America.
If it isn’t in your country, you should shout about it and ask if and when it’s going to be available!
As the Rosebud Motel says: Best wishes and warmest regards.
Miss this proudly Canadian comedic gem at your peril.