I watch and rewatch a lot of television.
I genuinely cannot count the number of times I’ve rewatched The Golden Girls or Will & Grace. I’m a sucker for reruns; a creature of habit. Being able to instantly say “yes” when my best friend asks, “do you remember that scene-,” even before they go on to describe said scene, gives me the weirdest sense of accomplishment.
And in all of my TV watching, I have never watched something quite like Schitt’s Creek.
Schitt’s Creek follows the Rose family, a group of wealthy, popular socialites who own Rose Video – one of the largest video chains in North America. Until their business manager defrauds them and the government seizes most of their assets. The first episode of Schitt’s Creek opens with revenue agents knocking on the door of their mansion and ends with the Rose family living in the last thing they truly own—the town of Schitt’s Creek. The town was a joke that Johnny (Eugene Levy) had bought for his son, David (Dan Levy). The series follows the family as they rebuild their lives after moving into a run-down motel.
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The Canadian sitcom first premiered on CBC Television in 2015 and is a production of Not a Real Company Productions. Created and executively produced by Eugene and Dan Levy, it features a range of impressive and experienced actors. Catherine O’Hara plays Moira Rose – an actor and the lovingly dramatic matriarch of the Rose family. Annie Murphy stars as Alexis Rose, her socialite daughter and someone whose confidence I aspire to one day have. The show and its cast went on to win 18 Canadian Screen Awards, be nominated for an Emmy, and become the first Canadian comedy series to win an MTV Movie & TV Award. Dan Levy also won the MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance for his work in Schitt’s Creek.
Dan Levy has made waves as a queer actor, director, and activist in the past few years. Dan, who identifies as a gay man, is a Canadian actor who got his start as one of the original co-hosts on the Canadian series MTV Live. The portrayal of his character hit home for a lot of people.
In the first few episodes of Schitt’s Creek, we find out that David Rose identifies as pansexual. In a subtle but powerful metaphor, he compares his attraction to people to the types of wine that he’ll drink after being asked about it by his new friend, Stevie (Emily Hampshire). She says that she only drinks red wine (meaning men) and said she thought David was the same way. In one of the show’s most memorable scenes, David says that he does drink red wine but that he also drinks white wine and he likes “the wine, not the label.”
And while I would love to talk about the way the series beautifully explores David Rose and his romantic relationships, I want to keep this article spoiler-free. Just know you’re in for a beautiful ride.
The characters of Schitt’s Creek, especially the Rose family, never treat David and his relationships – or his sexuality – any differently. While accepting the Davidson/Valentini award from GLAAD at its annual San Francisco Gala in 2019, Dan Levy describes this acceptance and how it fit into his vision for the town. “It’s a place where acceptance incubates joy and creates a clarity that allows people to see themselves and each other more deeply,” Levy said. “It’s fiction, yes. But I’ve always been told to lead by example and this felt like a good place to start.” The show is currently up for a Best Comedy Series nomination again at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
I personally have seen Schitt’s Creek make its mark in all kinds of places. Through inspiring wholesome Facebook groups – like my favorite, ‘Schitt’s Creek Fans Shoot the Schitt’ – to weekly, wild watch parties at gay bars all over the country.
The storytelling which I, and countless others, have seen on the show is powerful. Storytelling in general – through shows, media, what we listen to, what we watch – is powerful. It’s how we grow, learn, heal. And the story Schitt’s Creek tells is one in which I’ve found a lot of solace.
As a gay and transgender man of color, I’ve never really seen myself fully depicted onscreen. I work to find glimpses – bits and pieces of stories to speak to me and my experiences. Through that, though, I’ve gotten used to dealing with different quips and jokes at the expense of some part of my identity.
I don’t have to do that with Schitt’s Creek. I see glimpses of my experiences in David; in a wonderfully touching coming out episode and in lessons in learning how to not care about what people think about you. The show’s fast-paced, sometimes wonderfully dry humor doesn’t work off punching down or taking jabs at marginalized groups. It’s just genuinely good. And all in all, it feels like a place where I would fit in.
Daniel Camacho is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador and senior at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign studying Computer Science and Linguistics. He has been involved with and running intersectional activist groups – specifically for queer and trans people-of-color – for almost all of his undergraduate career. He also strives to advocate for LGBTQ+ representation and rights in the expanding field as a campus ambassador for the O4U Tech Conference and as an active member of OSTEM.