Awards Daily TV shines the Emmy Spotlight on Pop’s Schitt’s Creek. With previous seasons now streaming on Netflix, will Emmy finally take notice?
We love Schitt’s Creek.
Frequent visitors to Awards Daily or followers of the Water Cooler Podcast know this. This Canadian import, currently airing on Pop and recently renewed for Season 4, holds court as one of the funniest, most original, and most clever sitcoms on television. As most great sitcoms tend to do, each season builds on its characters – the Rose family played by Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Daniel Levy, and Annie Murphy. Each season evolves their characterizations while deepening our bonds with them. After three seasons, the Rose family grew into part of our very own television family. It’s high time the Television Academy embraced them too.
Last week’s season finale continued to explore threads initiated in Season 1. That season largely focused on the traditional “fish out of water” plot lines. Johnny and Moira Rose (Levy and O’Hara) lose their fortune to a crooked business manager. Forced to live in a hick town (Schitt’s Creek) they bought as a gag gift, the Rose’s continuously embarrassed themselves with their tragic disconnection from reality. A funny thing happened with Season 2 – Schitt’s Creek started to grow on them. They (slowly) started to realize that maybe their life in Schitt’s Creek didn’t have to represent the end of the line. Season 3 continued this trend, and they started to put down roots, something no one saw coming at the start of the series. And how great it is for that unexpected and unexpectedly poignant turn of events?
Classic Real Love
Most notably, the Season 3 finale closed with a sweetly realistic love scene. Without drawing attention to itself, Schitt’s Creek introduced David Rose (Dan Levy) as a pansexual character. He initially hooked up with hotel manager Stevie (the brilliantly sarcastic Emily Hampshire) but then moved on to men in later seasons. The need for splashy headlines pushed aside, Schitt’s Creek and Dan Levy developed David as a person of the real world – a sheltered man who discovered he had more to offer than bitchiness. Closing Season 3, David’s relationship with business partner Patrick (Noah Reid) reaches the logical climax.
Yet, it’s the method that’s sort of groundbreaking.
The season closes with David’s birthday, largely ignored by the often self-absorbed family. Patrick, however, treated David to dinner. He also gave David an emotional birthday gift – the first bill of sale from their new apothecary. Realizing Patrick’s true feelings, David reaches across a car seat and kisses Patrick. Traditional sitcoms would end the scene either through a comic reveal in a hotel bed the next morning or through a madcap front-seat fumbling. Instead, Patrick thanks David for the gesture. In a startlingly real moment, he tells David he was afraid he would let the moment go by because he hadn’t kissed a man before. His gratitude and David’s surprise at the admission made the scene soar. Credit the actors and writer Dan Levy for such a brilliant closing sequence. Like much in Schitt’s Creek, it offers a fresh take where other sitcoms would have clobbered the material.
Two Emmy Hopes
Schitt’s Creek dropped its first two seasons on Netflix this year. With that, it seemed the entire internet finally binged the show and recognized it as the brilliant comedy it is. Now, let’s channel that enthusiasm toward the Television Academy. The entire cast deserves nominations in my book, particularly someone like Annie Murphy for playing the sweet and sweetly dim Alexis Rose. She boasts a great Season 3 character arc as Alexis finally obtains a high school diploma. By the end of Season 3, she’s even learned to perhaps put others over her own personal needs. It’s a shocking transition that Murphy charmingly delivers with surgical precision. But that’s only if I handed out the Emmy nominations. Realistically, there may only be two possibilities at play.
Dan Levy deserves Emmy nominations for both his blisteringly funny performance and his witty writing. Truth acting and through word, he balances David between a sensitive soul longing for real human connections and a sarcastic shit who uses insults to protect his heart. Now, will Emmy reconize this difficult balancing act? Unfortunately, of the two most likely scenarios, this feels like the harder sell. Despite famous parentage, Levy isn’t a household name. Yet. If Schitt’s Creek fails to deliver the attention he so incredibly deserves, then his next project will.
The second, and hopefully most likely scenario, is the Television Academy finally recognizes the brilliance of Catherine O’Hara. O’Hara has one Emmy win: a 1982 Variety Series Writing award for SCTV Network ’90. Her only performance Emmy nomination came with 2010’s Temple Grandin. She lost to co-star Julia Ormond. Emmy needs to make reparations for that.
O’Hara’s Moira Rose is an ingenious creation as is O’Hara’s performance art delivery. She developed a bizarre accent-less accent that elicits laughs even at the most mundane words (see her early Season 3 pronunciation of “satchel” as “SAT-CHELL”). She sings her dialogue with a sober, yet boozy, warble, but she also knows how to play the comedy with surprising subtlety and grace. And Season 3 offers her best material to date: Episode 3’s “New Car.” Here, she uses her soap opera background to create a character within the character as Moira adopts a Cockney persona to avoid getting gouged when buying a new car.
There are a lot of funny women working in television today, but O’Hara remains CRIMINALLY IGNORED. I’m using ALL CAPS to emphasize the point. Does Lily Tomlin really need another nomination for a role that will never deliver a win? Let’s reward another comedy veteran instead.
With that Netflix birth and Season 4 in the works to air on Pop in Spring 2018, hopefully Schitt’s Creek appears on the Television Academy’s radar. It most assuredly holds a dear place in my heart as The Little Schitt That Could.
Let’s make that Schitt a golden one.
Catherine O’Hara, Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Dan Levy, Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series