When rich video-store magnate Johnny Rose and his family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup in Schitt’s Creek.
The Rose family was once obscenely rich, but when their family accountant, who hadn’t been paying their taxes for years, runs off with all their money and the IRS comes knocking at their massive front door, they find themselves in a bit of a pickle. All of Johnny Rose’s assets are confiscated for back taxes, with the exception of one thing: the deed to a town called Schitt’s Creek that he gifted to his son, David, when he was born (as a joke). With no where to live and no money to their name, the Roses arrive at Schitt’s Creek and take up residence in the local—and only—motel in town.
So what do a formerly successful business man, a washed-up actress, a man who only wears expensive black and white outfits, and a woman who was once held hostage by Somali pirates for a week do in such a small town? Wreak (loveable) havoc, of course.
I’m pretty sure everyone in their thirties will look at Eugene Levy and say, “Oh right, the dad from American Pie!” The man is gifted with some of the most insane eyebrows in the industry and great comedic timing. Johnny Rose usually ends up playing the straight man, isn’t afraid to point out the absurdity of Schitt’s Creek and its residents, and is always wearing a suit. At the start it’s obvious he loves his family but rarely spent any time with them.
Catherine O’Hara as Moira Rose
The neglectful mom from Home Alone! I don’t think I have seen her in anything else, though she has kept busy since 1990. When I first started watching, Moira was the most annoying Rose family member for me. She plays a very self-involved actress who is probably the hardest hit by her new-found level of poverty, and she uses the strangest inflections on words that you can’t quite pin down (I feel like it’s mocking that “Mid-Atlantic” accent that old movie stars once employed). But as episodes went on, I began to appreciate her flair for the dramatic, her variety of wigs (hung across the wall of their motel room like pelts of animals on display), and that she’s always reading (one of us!). Trust that you, too, will begin to attempt to mimic the silly way she talks. It’s addicting!
Fun fact! Eugene and Catherine have been friends for more than 40 years, and she was first person he thought of to play Moira. Isn’t that so sweet? They have such a great, comfortable chemistry on the show, and now I understand why.
Dan plays Johnny’s son and is Eugene’s real-life son, which is so precious! According to Wikipedia, he actually came up with the idea of Schitt’s Creek while watching reality TV and pitched it to his dad, who obviously had the clout to help him get it on the air. David and Alexis are my favorite characters. David is unimpressed by everything and at first that makes it difficult for him to connect with anyone. His humor and attitude are so dry it’s hard for other characters to tell when he’s being serious or mocking, and I love it so, so much. It’s also refreshing that David’s sexuality (he’s pansexual) is mentioned matter-of-factly once and then it just is what it is. He likes women, he likes men, and his family supports him no matter what.
Alexis in the wrong hands could be The Worst (think Mona Lisa in Parks & Rec), but Annie Murphy keeps her on the right side of spoiled rich girl. Alexis had a LOT of fun when she was rich and has amazing off-the-wall stories about all the places she’s traveled that her parents apparently never knew about. What keeps the show grounded is watching these four disconnected individuals get to know each other again and become true family, and I think Alexis is the one who benefits from that the most. Watching her try to talk her way out of things is the best because her reaction shots are cute, awkward, weird and yet somehow adorable all at once.
Chris is a great character actor you’ve seen in SO many things. He plays the redneck-y Roland to gross perfection.
Emily Hampshire as Stevie Budd
It should come as no surprise by now to learn that I also think Stevie, with her deadpan delivery, is a pure delight. The friendship between her and David is also a strong point of the show for me. Her look gives me strong Evangeline Lilly / Liv Tyler vibes.
Jennifer Robertson as Jocelyn Schitt
Jocelyn is one of the town’s high-school teachers and also Roland’s wife, who somehow thinks he’s the best. I love that even though Jocelyn is a nice person, there are limits to her cordiality when it comes to the ridiculous things the Roses do. She tries to stand up to Moira, but she doesn’t always succeed.
Sarah is Eugene Levy’s daughter, so this show is truly a family affair. She’s the put-upon waitress (and maybe owner? No one else seems to work there except for the cooks) of the Tropical Café, the only restaurant in town.
Dustin Milligan as Ted Mullens
Dustin is really pretty, y’all. He plays a veterinarian who plays a role in Alexis’s life, and I’ve enjoyed his character arc so far. Since I love Alexis, I appreciate that he’s sweet to her while also kind of teaching her the ways of real, normal life when she needs it.
Couch-Sharing Capability: High
Bring all your friends and family in to watch this with you! It’s fun to share in the humor and excellent little quips, and you’ll need someone around to practice your Moira accent and your “DAY-VID!!”s with. My friends forcibly put this on one night while we were visiting them, and I’m so glad they did. It’s a show that’s been languishing on my TBW list for a long time, but I’m not always inclined to put on a sitcom when I’m sitting down to watch TV, so I kept putting it off.
If there’s someone in your life that you think needs to be Schitt’s Creek-vangelized to, please do them a favor and make it happen. Invite them for dinner, turn it on, and then don’t let them leave—until they’ve watched enough episodes to fall in love with it, I mean. Don’t kidnap them like a Saudi Prince once did to Alexis.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low
I’d keep to a one drink because you don’t want to miss any great lines or sight gags. If you must drink, you can go fancy martini as a nod to the Roses’ former rich lifestyle, or a pedestrian Bud Light as an ode to their current living situation.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Must See TV
I was watching an episode last week and had a laughing-crying fit at one point (it was when they reveal Moira’s plaque at the community garden, if you’ve already seen the show). Maybe you’re on the fence about watching the show because it looks dumb. To that I will say that it couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s some slapstick-y bits, but there’s a lot of smart dialogue. There’s also a fair amount of heart to temper out some of the snarkier edges, which is great because I think you always need a good balance of both.
What helps keep everything from being too much or too mean is that despite how quirky the small-town characters are, the show isn’t mocking them in a degrading way. These people are a little weird, but so are the Roses, and neither gets a leg up on the other for long.
So don’t sleep on this funny and fantastic show! The first five seasons are available on Netflix and the sixth season is airing live now.
If you’re already a Schitt’s Creek fan, join in me in the comments to gush! Who’s your favorite character? Do you have a favorite episode?