Are you watching Schitt’s Creek? I just finished the last episode of the last season, the series finale, this morning. I laughed, I cried, I had an a-ha moment.
In the time of COVID-19, we are all the Rose Family right now, and we’re all up Schitt’s Creek.
If you aren’t watching Schitt’s Creek, I implore you to start. It is some of the best writing, acting, and staging on television. (Sidenote: Dan Levy is a national goddamned treasure.) It is the story of the Rose Family, those horribly self-absorbed, spoiled, odious, narcissistic creatures who burst onto our television sets six years ago. (Okay, well, maybe they slowly snuck into our psyche as more and more people whispered about their brilliance, and then eventually burst into our iPads in all their binge-worthy splendor.) But, we are they. They are we.
Yes, that’s right: I’m calling you names. But, I’m calling myself those same names too.
Here’s the genius of Schitt’s Creek. Episode after episode, we get to know these characters, in their worst versions but also in their best versions. They are a formerly mega-rich family who has never had to think about anyone other than themselves, who were terribly snobby, and who saw everything as a temporary (if soul-crushing) inconvenience. Suddenly, they have lost everything, are stuck in a rinky-dink small town, and are forced to come to terms with who they are, and what really matters to them.
I posit that quarantine has made many of us the same way. No longer can we hide in external entertainment. No longer can we be solely self-focused. No longer can we distract ourselves from what matters by frittering away our time. We are they. They are we.
Throughout the course of the show, each character begins to blossom and bloom. The crisis laid bare who they were, and who they wanted to be, and exactly what stood in the way of them getting there, even when it was, more often than not, themselves. They learn about each other. They learn about themselves. The beauty in the show is not just that they change, but that they become open to change.
And, as they do, we open up to like them more. We like their strengths, of course, but we also begin to like and empathize with their weaknesses.
We see who we have been, who we are, who we can be in their stories, and as we love them, we love us once again, too. In losing everything, we gained ourselves.