The Roses Are in Deep Schitt
Main Cast: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara
Creators: Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy
Fear not, there are no schitty spoilers contained herein
For years my favorite image of Eugene Levy was him walking in circles due to his literal two left feet in Christopher Guest’s Best in Show. To be fair, it might still be my favorite. But thanks to Levy and his son Daniel, I now have so much material to choose from that those left feet might pale to something the pair dreams up for their Canadian sit-com Schitt’s Creek. Haven’t seen it? You should.
Schitt’s Creek stars Levy senior as Johnny Rose, a big shot businessman with tons of money. Catherine O’Hara is his wife Moira (oh, that name, it’s the best). Daniel Levy is their adult son David and Annie Murphy their adult daughter Alexis. Their world of privilege is turned upside down when Johnny’s business manager makes off with all of his money, leaving the family with only a single asset – a town that Johnny purchased as a joke gift for David. The town of Schitt’s Creek. The series begins with the family leaving their mansion for more humble digs at the Schitt’s Creek motel. Ah, life is good – for us.
We spend the first season getting to know the residents of Schitt’s Creek – including Mayor Roland Schitt (say that out loud) and his wife Jocelyn (played by Chris Elliott and Jennifer Robertson), motel employee Stevie (Emily Hampshire) and mysterious bearded sexy man Mutt (Tim Rozon). As the Roses come to grips with their diminished circumstances, the community has to come to grips with the Roses. It’s less of a perfect match than one might imagine.
During the second season we dive further into the extraordinary lengths the Roses must go to in order to survive (things like “jobs”) and continue to play with the snobby city folks vs. the unimpressed town folks.
The set-up is fairly simple, and if you only watch an episode or two you might be annoyed by the Roses and repulsed by the Schitts (especially Roland – there are few people who do disgusting as convincingly as Chris Elliott). So give yourself some time to get to know the Roses – you won’t regret it. In particular, Daniel Levy is absolutely perfect as David. His wardrobe, his demeanor, everything he does is funny. And Catherine O’Hara is audaciously hilarious as the equally bizarrely wardrobed Moira – just her fake “accent” lifts her whole character to a new level. Eugene Levy is for the most part the straight man and it works. As patriarch he is more serious than the rest of his family, perhaps a touch more grounded in reality. The rest of them need someone to play off of and he fits the bill without misstep.
Now, a crucial warning – seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix, but try to resist the urge to binge them all in a row. Not only do most sit-coms have trouble surviving more than an episode or two at a time without becoming tiresome, but you’ll deny yourself the joy of visiting the Roses every day. Watching their characters evolve a little is actually tremendously gratifying – the Levy men do not make the mistake of relying on the single joke of the newly penniless rich people being snotty as the sole source of Schitts and giggles (see what I did there?). They allow in just the right amount of actual story line, keeping us from simply hating the Roses and cringing every time Roland and his mullet show up on screen.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed the first two seasons of Schitt’s Creek. There is a third season already made (hopefully it will stream soon – I miss my Schitts) and a fourth has been ordered (it’s won a ton of Canadian TV awards). Thank you, Canadian TV, for the gift of two talented Levys and their Schitty show.