Levys Give Comedy the ‘Schitt’s’

Schitt's Creek

Eugene and Dan Levy’s Schitt’s Creek is even funnier in its second season

Pop’s (look it up) Schitt’s Creek was always the kind of show that immediately said “cult hit” when it first aired here in the United States early last year. The “fish out of water” story offered up as many if not more laughs than its American cousins, but you had to work to find the jokes. Some jokes were absurdist delights. Some joke hit a few minutes later, making you think “Did I just hear that?” As such, Schitt’s Creek season one was something of a minor comic masterpiece, one that you missed when it went away.

Absence, in this case, has clearly made my heart grow fonder. I couldn’t be happier to have the series back for another season. A more confident and focused tone makes the season two return even better. Schitt’s Creek is most assuredly the best show you’re not watching right now.

Season two picks up where we left off with the Rose family in turmoil. Having lost their fortune at the start of season one and relocated to the only thing they had left – the comatose town of Schitt’s Creek – they reluctantly tried to make the best of their circumstances. Eventually, though, the pressure of being dirt poor wore them down, and son David (Dan Levy) fled Schitt’s Creek in mayor Roland Schitt’s (Chris Elliot, say the name out loud please) beat-up pickup. At the start of season two, the family is in disarray, partially worried about David’s absence. Eh, maybe less than partially…

Moira Rose (Catherine O’Hara) spends most of the premiere fraught with worry – not over David’s absence but of the disappearance of a handbag.

“It’s an heirloom. My great grandmother took it from her husband when she left him, and it has been passed down through all the women in my family as emergency currency in case we need to leave our husbands in the middle of the night,” says Moira. “I love that bag — I’ve kept it safe all these years, and now it’s out there, frightened and alone.”

It’s a great comic moment made even funnier by the genius vocal affectations O’Hara applies in the role.

Daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy), having assumed the family was leaving town, slept with local stud Mutt Schitt (Tim Rozon) while accidentally becoming engaged to nice-guy vet Ted (Dustin Milligan). Her attempts at rectifying the situation over the first few season two episodes provide much more comedy than Alexis was given in season one. Especially when Murphy is given such brilliant throw-away moments as her frequent references to abduction at the hands of a Saudi prince. Murphy really embraces absurdist comedy in season two. It makes the entire enterprise stronger for it.

With Eugene Levy left as the straight man (which says a lot about the remainder of the cast), Schitt’s Creek has grown tremendously in sitcom brilliance. There is no laugh track to guide you. Sometimes, you can’t even tell the difference between honest sentiment and ruthless puns. I’m not even sure there is a difference between the two, honestly. What makes season two so fantastic is the doubling-down on the central comedy of the Rose family. Season one seemed to try to broaden the comedy to the supporting cast. That was fine, but the show is stronger with a renewed focus directly on the main cast.

Episode two confirms the heightened comedy with an inspired episode centering around Moira and David’s attempt to make enchiladas. Like most great comedy, it’s best seen and not explained. It also puts the focus on the series’ greatest assets – Dan Levy and Catherine O’Hara – while smartly using Annie Murphy and Eugene Levy’s strengths to play against the central pair.

Schitt’s Creek is the definition of a great cult comedy. And it is most assuredly the best show you’re not watching. Rectify that immediately.

Schitt’s Creek airs Wednesdays on Pop TV at 8pm ET. A marathon of the entire first season is planned for Wednesday, March 16, leading up to the season two premiere. Check local listings.
Schitt's Creek
Dan Levy and Catherine O’Hara star in ‘Schitt’s Creek.’ Photo courtesy of Pop.

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