Jimi Hendrix once said, “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” An incredibly important, grand quote, these words are more relevant than ever for Americans. In a totally different sphere, the Canadian sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” demonstrates the music icon’s message in real life… or rather, on television.
At the 71st annual Emmy awards ceremony in 2019, “Schitt’s Creek” was nominated for four awards, but the cast and crew walked away with zero wins. This year things couldn’t have been more different, and the show deserves nothing less. Created by father-son-duo Eugene and Dan Levy, “Schitt’s Creek” is truly more than a regular sitcom. Rather, it’s a show that we could all learn some lessons from. For the sake of time, I will pick two: how the show reflects Hendrix’s quote, and the nonchalant manner in which the show’s primary love story, which is between two men, is portrayed.
The show follows the extremely wealthy, powerful, and spoiled Rose family, as they, in short, lose nearly all of their money and possessions, and are forced to relocate from their pampered lives to a small town called Schitt’s Creek (which was purchased as a joke, due to it’s amusing name). At the inception of the show, the Rose family perfectly encompasses the “love of power.” They’re pampered, selfish, judgemental, rude, and they perceive their previous wealthy lifestyle as ideal. However, as the show develops, the family slowly embraces their new life in Schitt’s Creek and genuinely becomes part of the community.
In an article for CNN, Elizabeth Yuko remarks that the show “gives us an example of what life in a small North American town could look like if people valued respect and kindness over money and power.” In the show, this important message is clear; season after season, viewers witness the change in the family’s relationship to the community and amongst themselves. With wealth and power out of the picture, the kids, Alexis and David, become close friends and confidants, and they get to know each other and their parents in a way they never seemed to have time to before. In the community that they initially looked down on, they become respected and adored figures. If you want to see the change for yourself, and see how Hendrix’s message is reflected in this hypothetical family, I encourage you to watch the first episode, and then any episode in the most recent season. You’ll see a family with little to no apparent love between members turn into a family with love for each other, their friends, and even, their tiny, “Schitt-y” town.
The other lesson from the show is short and simple. The main love story that the show follows is between David Rose and Patrick, a young man and resident of Schitt’s Creek. The message that the show sends here is clear: there is a love story, and the genders and sexual orientations of the figures in this love story do not matter. No attention is paid to the fact that the relationship is between two men. No fuss is made. A BBC article by Manish Pandey describes how David and Patrick “[aren’t] seen as the ‘gay’ couple, they are the couple that everyone’s rooting for.” Similarly, a Huffington Post article notes that the sexuality of the queer characters is “casual and as unremarkable as any of the straight characters.” And that’s where the show strikes gold. Schitt’s Creek sets an example here for viewers, and for other shows and media, in how LGBTQ+ couples might be portrayed in the future: as regular couples, with regular love stories, because that’s what they are.
All in all, the Levy duo’s sitcom is more than just a sitcom. It’s a story that highlights humanity, kindness and community, and it deserves all the praise in the world. Congratulations to Schitt’s Creek on it’s amazing portrayal of love and life, and congratulations to the Emmys, for finally realizing that this show deserves awards.