One of the reasons why I had a tough time getting into this series is that it starts off with the obnoxiously wealthy family (whose money was made from a video store franchise) losing their assets when their advisor absconds with their funds. They are forced to vacate their mansion and have only one place to go: Schitt's Creek--a town purchased as a joke by Johnny Rose for his son, David. They arrive at the Budd Motel, a ramshackle roadside facility that has seen better days (though probably not much better). They're cranky, self-absorbed, whiny and demanding all at once. The show literally starts with a cacophony of complaints as they must cope with their sudden impoverishment.
If you can hang with a few episodes, the show becomes infinitely more interesting as the family starts to adjust, adapt and evolve, all while living in two rooms of a really dumpy motel and eating all of their meals at the local Cafe Tropical (known for its extensive, but not very well-executed, menu). The most evolution takes place with the character of Alexis Rose (played by Annie Murphy). We meet her as a vapid, self-absorbed social media-lite who struggles to find her way without the constant affirmation of clicks, likes, friends and parties. Each season she becomes more and more interesting as she becomes increasingly capable, flexible and caring. Her brother, David (played by Dan Levy), is a neurotic art gallery curator who must adjust to the lowbrow atmosphere and tastes of his new hometown crowd. Early in the series, we learn that David is pansexual--a revelation handled with incredible tact and tenderness. After some failed relationships, he eventually meets a man who will become his better half.
I love many things about this series, but I especially appreciated that Dan Levy decided to have his character meet the love of his life without any hometown complications. No homophobia. No slurs. No beatings. No rolled eyes or turned-up noses. At first I found this remarkable and perhaps even a bit naive. But here's the thing. Why can't this be the case everywhere for all couples? You have two people in love who are clearly suited for one another. Why must their happiness be blighted by anyone else's limitations or opinions? I was delighted to see a gay story line that decided not to take a journey into strife, hardship and bigotry. However, it also saddens me that this offers such an unusual take. After all, why should any couple have to endure hatred and verbal and/or physical violence for being in love? Why should this show be a case of poetic license? Imagine your own relationship status. If you're heterosexual, think about if others found your sexual preference abhorrent. If you're in an interfaith relationship, or an interracial one, think about the strictures that used to limit those marital ties and how it would have impacted your lives.
If you decide to commit to watching Schitt's Creek, be prepared to laugh and to learn and to re-imagine rural America. What is truly important to you? What would you do if faced with sudden ruin? How do you pick up the pieces? How do you ask more of yourself? How do you deepen your relationship to others? To place? To a new version of self? Enjoy and grow with the Schitts! You will emerge with a sense of what could be, for yourself and for your communities.