2020: That Schitty Year

When I give up on a show, it’s usually for good. Like unfamiliar cuisine that I am not sure about upon first taste, shows do not usually get second chances with me. I’m not forgiving when it comes to such things. But this is no ordinary year, so I tried Schitt’s Creek again after the crazy run it had at the Pand-Emmies.

Many agree this has been a shit year for most. For me, it has been a breakthrough year, but in a slow burn kind of way, where I’ve had a lot of success in some areas of my life, but also areas where I’ve experienced real difficulties, most having been blessings that nonetheless left me feeling like crap. Still, I’ve been fortunate in many ways—I have family, work, and faith that keep me growing even though great disillusionment at times, a home that is secure, and healthcare. The last part is important as I continue to navigate all things autoimmune. I’ve spent a good part of my life hating myself; it is with hilarious irony that as I have moved more towards loving my soul, my body has decided to take over that self-loathing and turn it inward, quite literally.

I’ve had time for passions that I left behind before, like swimming. I’ve read a record number of books for a year, including deep dives in different disciplines that interest me. I’ve waded into online book clubs, and I’ve entered a new season in my faith life.

But I’ve also worried, been overcome with sadness, and been angered, even enraged at times.

Enter a show that seemed so vapid at surface glance: a family that’s lost everything material and can’t cope, a family that didn’t connect well until they were mashed in a motel with no prospects and nowhere to go. Life imitates art in 2020.

There is so much that is hugely impactful about this show. I’ll try not to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but I can’t promise I won’t give way a bit along the way.

Here are my random thoughts about this gem that I can only imagine has been life enriching for so many:

  1. It is completely relationship based, with amazing dialogue but with the nonverbals that are perhaps the best I’ve ever witnessed. The pauses, the looks, the body-speeches between the dialogue are like astonishing little bombs of happiness and hilarity, which bridge the humorous and the serious much better than the whatever-word of “dramedy.” The relationships feel authentic and even when not perfect (and they aren’t), they are clearly growing in a positive way; they just plain leave you happy and with hope. I’m grateful that I didn’t discover this until 2020, frankly. It’s been bone broth for my crepitus joints, a shot of orange juice for my plummeting blood sugar, and a cup of chamomile for my jaded psyche.
  2. It’s Canadian in the very best sense of the word: belly-funny, understated while still somehow being over the top, and a bit self-conscious but full of love. The cast was well curated and the show’s leader Daniel Levy is a crazy-amazing gem we didn’t know we needed in this world.
  3. It provides different relationships where you can see yourself—your best self and your most insecure self. You can see yourself in the romantic relationships, the sibling relationship, the work relationships, and the weird neighbor relationships. I don’t live in a tiny Ontario town but a large eastern city. Nonetheless, we all have a Roland and a Ronnie, do we not?
  4. For the first time ever, I observed (or perhaps I appreciated) the arc of a beautiful LGBTQ+ relationship that wasn’t stilted—it wasn’t only fun, or only slapstick, and it wasn’t ever cringey and sad for the hardship and hate they faced. Maybe that last point isn’t realistic, but dare to dream, right? It was also a relationship that this 53-year-old straight woman who has been with the same guy for 33 years related to. I could see myself in David, in his worst and even best moments, and I was floored to recognize I’d had a Patrick all along. This coincides with having more than just a passing acquaintance with couples who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community in the past few years. What I love about this friendship experience coinciding with this show is that I’ve connected more deeply with what it means to be a good neighbor and a real friend.
  5. It left you wanting more. It did what The Office (may its memory be blessed) didn’t–it ended as well, even better, than it started. It made you sad to see it go. It made you stalk the actors for their other works (ok, that’s probably just a Kathleen thing; I tend to the stalker-like, in the non-criminal sense of the word). If you haven’t heard Noah Reid’s music, you are missing poignant lyrics with a voice that keeps coming back to you throughout the day. If you haven’t seen Daniel Levy’s scene in Coastal Elites, it’s award-worthy.

In a nutshell, this piece of art made 2020 more beautiful and bearable.

What did you love about it?

Your’s in this Schitty year, and with love,

Kathleen

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