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LSA Loves: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ is the brightest sitcom in the darkest night

LSA Loves is a weekly column where our editorial team raves about something they love. From skincare to a dish or a Netflix series, this is a look into what gets us ticking.

Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.

A happy ending is hard to come by on television these days.

After the trainwreck that was Game of Thrones’ last season, I was nervous going into the series finale of the sitcom Schitt’s Creek. But as the credits rolled, I sat in my chair for a couple of minutes, appreciating the rollercoaster ride of emotions that showrunners Eugene and Daniel Levy have set me on for the six seasons.

No conclusion to a television series has made me laugh as loud while choking back the most tears. And judging by the finale’s response on the Internet, I wasn’t the only one wishing this experience didn’t end.

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of sitcoms, and me following through with one till the end is an occasion rarer than a pink supermoon. But there was something about the way in which Schitt’s Creek approached the format that had me obsessed from the get-go.

Perhaps it was the promise of a landscape that wasn’t a drab office with four walls or the dry humour that was totally on-brand with what I stood for. Either way, I’ve been following this show for years, and it’s about time it got the limelight it deserves.

Schitt's Creek

Schitt’s Creek made its premiere in 2015 with a simple riches-to-rags premise: The wealthy Rose family had lost everything they owned – except for the title deed to a humdrum town they bought as a joke back in 1991. Johnny (Eugene Levy), Moira (Catherine O’Hara), David (Daniel Levy), and Alexis (Annie Murphy) now find themselves and their entire lives – or what was left of it – squeezed into two rundown motel rooms in Schitt’s Creek. A room in their former mansion might have had more space.

There is an initial wave of tension between the elitist Roses and the down-to-earth townspeople of Schitt’s Creek, but that softens after many barn parties and long drives to Amish villages. David befriends the owner of the motel Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire), while Moira joins the a capella group Jazzagals led by Jocelyn Schitt (Jennifer Robertson). But it wasn’t until the end of the third season and the beginning of the fourth that a switch was flipped, and the narrative of Schitt’s Creek ascended into a higher dimension.

Schitt's Creek
Jocelyn Schitt, Alexis Rose, Moira Rose, David Rose, and Patrick Brewer standing outside the Rosebud Motel. (Photo credit: PopTV)

It was no longer just a fish-out-of-water story. The Rose family was slowly learning how to become a family. Not just with each other, but also with the people of Schitt’s Creek.

Johnny and Stevie form an endearing mentor/mentee bond as he invests in the motel. The Jazzagals mourned the death of Moira (a case of #fakenews, thankfully). David, not one for public displays of affection, steps out of his comfort zone in a rare showing of affection for his boyfriend Patrick (Noah Reid). Alexis starts her own public relations firm that livened the town with sold-out events like Single’s Week.

Each of the main characters slowly discovers a better version of themselves, and that’s great because that is what stories are supposed to do. But what makes Schitt’s Creek stand out from other sitcoms in the wild is its perfect balance between sardonic humour and sincerity. The Levy’s have mastered the art of championing real, worldly issues without diving into the depths of comedy hell, with tolerance and wit reigning supreme in this backwater town.

There is no tragic backstory or tokenism for the LGTBQ characters portrayed in Schitt’s Creek. Homophobia is a concept that doesn’t exist here, simply because Daniel Levy chose not to give a platform to that sort of negativity. An example that defines the show’s attitude towards equality and acceptance was David’s pansexuality. “I like the wine and not the label,” he explained to Stevie. The succinct metaphor has since been used for real coming-out stories as told in the post-series documentary.

Schitt's Creek
Catherine O’Hara’s avant-garde portrayal of Moira Rose has garnered a cult following, and deservedly so. (Photo credit: PopTV)

There’s also no lack of viral, meme-worthy clips and extracts that cemented the show’s position in the hierarchy of popular culture. From Moira’s glamorous collection of wigs (every single one is named, BTW) to the pop banger “A Little Bit Alexis” that I just can’t get enough of. All that was made perfect for today’s age of social media consumption. It’s that easy to express yourself with an “Ew, David!” reaction GIF.

But beyond just the laughs, there are also momentous, heartfelt scenes that will tug so hard at your heartstrings. Who knew Patrick’s cover of an iconic Tina Turner song would inspire a new way for so many people to express their love? Or the Cabaret episode where the once-aloof Stevie seized her fears by the throat and blossomed into a confident lady who owned the stage. I’m not going to spoil any more of these tearjerking scenes because you deserve to experience them for the first time like I did, caught unawares without a box of tissues by my side.

Schitt's Creek
A very happy ending for the Rose family. (Photo credit: PopTV)

It’s a bit serendipitous that the series had to finish in a time when the world is going through so much grief and turmoil. I wish that there was more Schitt’s Creek to look forward to next week because it’s one of the only things (besides food) that can make me laugh as hard as isolation would allow.

But at the end of the day, I found some comfort – no, a whole lot of it – in a story about a little town in the middle of nowhere. By concluding the series with a happy ending, it also makes rewatching the show a lot easier, because there’s something to look forward to.

The Levy’s love story to the world was a universe where smiling is made a little bit easier, and I hope that by sharing this gem of a show with you, it can make passing the days a little bit easier too.

Josiah Neo
Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.