Four years ago, I stumbled across Season 1 of “Schitt’s Creek” purely by chance. I was mindlessly scrolling and clicking when the cast list of the show caught my eye. I recognized Catherine O’Hara from “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2” and Eugene Levy from “Cheaper by the Dozen 2.” I figured together they would make an interesting pair. Even more so, the father-son duo of Eugene and his father, Daniel Levy would be fun to watch.
Boy am I glad the show caught my eye and I gave it a shot. I watched the entire series, and then re-watched it recently, and I honestly laughed just as hard as I did the first time around. That, in my opinion, is a near-impossible feat for any show or film.
The Canadian series follows the wealthy Rose family (John and Moira, along with their children David and Alexis) and the drama of their day-to-day lives. Episode 1 of Season 1 opens with the Roses in their mansion in an unnamed location. Almost everything they own is repossessed, including their home, furniture, appliances and handbags (much to Moira’s dismay). Wait, aren’t they wealthy, though?
Yes, the Roses were rich, until “schitt” hit the fan: the family’s long-time accountant bled them dry to escape to the Cayman Islands. The Roses, now penniless, think they have nowhere to go until their estate lawyer mentions Schitt’s Creek, the town John bought his son, David, as a joke for his birthday. But at this point, this was no joke. Nobody laughed when they realized this was the Rose family’s only option, unless they preferred living on the street.
The family settles in at Schitt’s Creek, a place that reveals a lot about the Rose family. Shortly before the end of the first episode, the camera zooms in on a life-sized portrait of the Rose family. John is standing uncomfortably tall on the right, Moira rigid on the left, while David and Alexis sit on chairs beneath their parents. Neither parent nor child cracks a smile, and the portrait serves as a symbol of the family and its dynamic. As viewers will soon learn, the Roses have very dysfunctional, albeit peculiar relationships with one another.
Forced to live at the town’s one and only motel, rent free I may add, is far from the disgraced family’s first choice of accommodation. They live in tight quarters, with only a single door separating parent from child, and after living in a mansion growing up, with maids, nannies, and butlers taking care of Moira and John and watching over David and Alexis, the Roses are completely disconnected from one another.
Whether they want to believe it or not, their low-life accountant bleeding them dry was the best thing that ever happened to them — a blessing in disguise. Living in this run-down, rinky-dink town forced the Rose family to spend time together, help each other and cherish the meaning of family.
For the first few episodes, all that anyone in the Rose family could think about was escaping Schitt’s Creek and never looking back. But, toward the end of the season, their feelings change. In the final episode, when John receives an offer to sell the town, his children convince him not to, because they’ve formed connections and relationships in the town that they didn’t want to abandon.
But the Rose parents were hesitant to stay. In one episode, John and Moira try to force a burly, drunk and dying man to sign papers that would rid them of the town and supply them with enough money to start over somewhere else. Deep down, however, neither character could force their signature, as they grew to feel something for the town, too.
For instance, Moira becomes involved in an all-female singing group called the Jazzagals. As she was an actress on a show called “Sunrise Bay” for many years, Moira missed performing. And although through the group Moira made more acquaintances than friends, it was something she could turn to nonetheless.
While Moira was busy singing, John took charge of the motel, trying to spruce it up to attract tourists and provide for his family. He previously owned a chain of video stores, called “Rose Video” (similar to Blockbuster), but they went under. In the motel, John finds a new task to get excited about, so much so that he goes into business with the motel’s young, snarky female owner, Stevie. Over time, Stevie develops a close relationship with the Rose family.
Alexis makes headway as well. She never finished high school, so she decides to go back, earn her diploma and take online classes at Elmdale College. David opens his own store, called “Rose Apothecary,” after the town’s general store closed down, and eventually goes into business with a man named Patrick, whom David becomes romantically involved with. Good for David since, so far, it’s the longest relationship he’s ever been in.
The Roses may have their qualms about Schitt’s Creek, but it really was for the best. John and Moira are finally getting to know their kids, and every member of the Rose family seems to be thriving. Of course, they have to worry about getting by sometimes, but knowing the Roses, they’ll pull through.
But the relationships extend beyond the camera. Just because you’re father and son, or mother and daughter doesn’t mean you should produce, work, and act together. But, in Eugene and Daniel Levy’s case, it does. The father-son pair both share insanely thick eyebrows, twinkly eyes and an amazing chemistry on the show.
I promise that once you watch one episode, you’ll have to watch them all. And lucky for you new viewers, you’ve got four seasons to get you through. It was agony waiting for the second, third, and now fourth to be released.