I’m just going to come right out and say it: I royally screwed up.
For years, trusted friends and colleagues urged me to check out Schitt’s Creek, a new sitcom starring LOL MVPs Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as Johnny and Moira Rose, 1-percenters stripped of their riches and forced to relocate with their spoiled brats David and Alexis (Levy’s son Dan and Annie Murphy, respectively) to the titular small town. And for years, I allowed those recommendations to enter one ear, ruminate in my brain for a few seconds and then get pushed right back out of my other ear.
It was nothing personal. I like my friends and colleagues, and, for that matter, I very much enjoy the comic stylings of the Levy/O’Hara tag team. It was just that my Peak TV cup was already runnething over. Also, I wasn’t convinced that Pop was even a real network.
But midway through the series’ current fourth season, I received a text message from yet another friend and colleague, Charlie Mason, basically demanding that I Schitt or get off the pot entirely, and I finally relented, binging the first season in a matter of days. That quickly led me to binge the second season. And the third. And now, less than two weeks later, I’m all caught up. Actually, I’m ahead — I’ve already seen tonight’s Season 4 finale (8/7c). And I can now declare that I am deeply and madly in love with Schitt’s Creek. It might even be one of my favorite comedies of all time. But that could be the binge afterglow talking. I’ll get back to you on that.
Meanwhile, I’m going to suppress the guilt and shame and regret I feel for being so tardy to the party and instead focus on the positive by counting the ways that I adore this show. Ready? Here we go:
1. O’Hara’s performance as curiously-accented socialite-turned-commoner Moira is even more uproarious — and heartfelt — than the deafening buzz lets on. The fact that she has not been nominated for an Emmy is a wrong that needs righting. But have no fear — I am officially on the case. (Look at all the success I had with Lauren Graham!)
2. If O’Hara is Schitt’s ace in the hole, then co-star Murphy — who plays privileged daughter Alexis — is the series’ breakout star. The way she makes her ditsy, self-indulgent character come off as wholly grounded and relatable and sympathetic and charming is more than just good acting, it’s a freakin’ magic trick.
3. The series is impressively consistent. Of the 51 episodes I binged, I counted only two all-out clunkers. That’s an enviable Veep-level batting average.
4. The writers, led by Team Levy, miraculously allow the characters to grow and evolve without ever losing their quirky essence. Even better, the big emotional moments are earned and never feel contrived or manipulative. (I know this because I cried a half-dozen times during my binge.)
5. The Canadian-produced show celebrates small-town living. I adore the little enclave that is Schitt’s Creek. I want to relocate there. I want to shop at David and Patrick’s adorable apothecary shop. I want to work as a waiter at Café Tropical (if for no other reason than to serve Moira her signature fruit cup). I want to make up fake diseases to give my cat as an excuse to visit Dustin Milligan’s dreamy veterinarian Ted. I want to stay at the Rosebud Motel and, while checking in, ask owner/manager/housekeeper Stevie what the spa hours are.
So, yes, I’m late in discovering this gem of a show. But it’s definitely a case of better late than never. If you’ve yet to take the advice of your friends and colleagues, and try it out, start with tonight’s heart-bursting Season 4 finale, then rewind to Season 1 and settle in for the binge of your life.