The TDF Top 10: Schitt's Creek
We travel down to Schitt's Creek in our latest TDF Top 10...
This year Schitt’s Creek, the Canadian sitcom created by Eugene and Daniel Levy, had its emotional final season. The show follows the Rose family, who in the first episode are a rich and pretty horrible group of people who lose everything. Their only remaining asset is a town that they once bought as a joke - Schitt’s Creek. The family moves there for a fresh start and cheap lifestyle whilst they get back on their feet, and so begins their journey of discovering themselves, each other, and the lives they want to build.
Picking ten episodes of this show was difficult, and if you haven’t, you should watch every single one. It’s some of the best writing and performances television has seen in a long time. The episodes have everything from perfectly timed comedy, heart wrenching character development, and the kind of LGBT+ representation that only comes from having an LGBT+ person at the helm of the show.
It’s a show built on a foundation of characters who genuinely care about each other and want each other to succeed. The writers take a family who feel like caricatures in the first episode, and turn them into three dimensional, tangible people. As you follow their ups and downs, growth, and relationships, it’s hard not to become attached. Even though I would have watched another five seasons of this show, the creators chose to end it in the perfect way, at the perfect time.
The ten episodes I’ve picked are the ones I felt are the perfect mix of emotional and hilarious, that also contained the most important story beats.
Allow me to present The TDF Top 10: Schitt's Creek...
10. Don’t Worry, It’s His Sister (1.03)
Season one is easily the weakest season, although it’s by no means bad, and Don’t Worry, It’s His Sister was the point I knew I was going to binge the entire show. As one of the earliest episodes, it sets a lot of the groundwork for what’s to come, and cements some of core character dynamics; Johnny’s frequent and incredulous frustration with Roland, Catherine O’Hara’s stellar performance as Moira, the beginning of David’s journey to owning his own business, and Alexis’s exploration of the kind of relationship she wants.
It’s also one of the funniest episodes, the main gag revolving around the town sign which seems to depict two of Roland’s ancestors in a compromising position. It takes Roland a while to catch on to what Johnny’s problem with the sign is, and when he finally does, gives one of my favourite punchlines in all six seasons. It’s also an important episode to see, to understand the very last joke the show gets to make in its season six finale.
9. Happy Anniversary (2.13)
The season two finale is a masterclass in how to end a season and set up the next one. It's also very funny, touching on nearly every important relationship in the show, and having one of the most heart warming moments. How they managed to squeeze it all in astounds me every time I watch it.
The episode follows Moira and Johnny as they bump into some old friends whilst out on their anniversary dinner, to which Roland and Jocelyn later join uninvited. Moira and Johnny try to make their new life sounds fancier than it is, but as their old friends make fun of the town, Johnny loses his cool and explains how hurt he was that they haven’t been in touch since the Rose’s lost everything. He goes on to explain how generous Roland and Jocelyn have been in contrast. It was an important note for the show to hit as it’s the first time we realise that the town of Schitt’s Creek is starting to feel like home for the Rose family.
8. Meet the Parents (5.11)
Jumping forward to season five, we have an important episode for Patrick, David’s partner. A lot of their relationship revolves around David’s growth as a person and a boyfriend, with Patrick often being the one to help him get there. Having an episode that dealt with Patrick coming out to his parents was an important moment to give him and the audience.
It’s also an incredible example of how to use miscommunication as a plot device without it being frustrating, and how good communication is an excellent problem solver. It’s also special to have a coming out episode that’s not about anyone’s parents being homophobic, but rather about their sadness at the thought their son didn’t want to open up to them.
7. Open Mic Night (4.06)
Season four has a lot of great David and Patrick moments, but I think most fans will agree that this is one of most memorable ones. David and Patrick’s shop isn’t getting the footfall they want, and so Patrick comes up with an idea to get more people in - an open mic night. David detests the idea, and is horrified when he finds out Patrick plans to join in.
There’s also a lot of important moments for Stevie and Johnny in this episode. After agreeing to take on the venture of running the motel together, Stevie is understandably worried about the Rose’s leaving her on her own. This results in the renaming of the motel ‘The Rosebud Motel’ which is a combination of both character’s surnames, solidifying Stevie as a member of the family.
The episode ends with Patrick performing an acoustic version of Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ at the open mic night that wins everyone over including David. The heart melting version of the song, actually performed by Patrick’s actor Noah Reid, is also available to listen to on Spotify!
6. The Hike (5.13)
The episode follows a familiar structure of Patrick planning something - in this case, going on a hike and having a picnic - and David making a lot of fuss about it. He hates hiking, he’s hungry, he has no phone reception, his list of complaints goes on.
It turns out the spot Patrick wants to take him to, is a spot he hiked to a lot when figuring out his feelings about his sexuality and David. He thinks it will be the perfect spot for a proposal if he can just get David there. The day of course, doesn’t go to plan, but somehow ends up being perfect anyway.
5. Life is a Cabaret (5.14)
The season five finale is another example of the writers knowing how to end a season just right. This episode is another culmination of a lot of story lines; the performance of Cabaret that Moira has been directing which stars Patrick and Stevie, Ted heading off to the Galapagos Islands, and David and Patrick trying to make the perfect engagement announcement.
More than anything, this is a great Stevie episode (not enough of which I managed to include on this list). She spends the episode retrieving the the engagement gift for David she’d been planning and nearly being late for opening night. She has a heart to heart with Moira and if that doesn’t make you cry, her powerful rendition of ‘Maybe This Time’ is sure to.
4. Presidential Suite (6.08)
I’m a very easy person to make cry, but not many TV episodes have me absolutely bawling like this one did. This is the climax of the relationship between Ted and Alexis, which begins in season one, and ends here in Presidential Suite. Alexis is the character that does the most growing up over the course of the show; we see her go from selfish young woman known for following sketchy men around the world, to a generous, career driven, family person that still manages to be very much, herself. A lot of that growth happens with, and because of Ted.
They end their relationship on the perfect note. Not because they don’t love each other anymore, in fact, they have grown to love each other more deeply than either could have imagined. But simply because their lives are heading in different directions. This makes it all the worse of course, but it would be unfair to both characters to not be true to their journey.
3. Singles Week (4.12)
The only thing better than Alexis and Ted getting their perfect, heart-breaking ending, is the two of them just getting to be in love. Singles Week centres around the singles event Alexis and Moira have been planning. By this point Alexis has been through a lot, and is a lot closer to the person we see in season six than the person we meet in season one. This is the episode where the surrounding characters start to see this for themselves. It’s big moment in them trusting her, and letting her shine.
At the end of the episode, and after pining after Ted for a long time, they finally share a kiss in one of the most romantic scenes in the show. A lot of other important things happen in this episode as well; David and Patrick say I love you for the first time, we get a rare but heart-warming scene between Ted and David, and after a bit of drama, Roland and Jocelyn’s baby is born.
2. Grad Night (3.13)
You’re probably noticing a running theme here, that the season finales in this show are excellent. Grad Night, the last episode of season three, is no exception and was my favourite episode of the whole show before season six aired.
The episode revolves two key celebrations; Alexis graduating, and David’s birthday. At the top of the episode the family seems indifferent about both - Moira has plans, Johnny is busy with work at the motel, Alexis doesn’t want anyone to attend her graduation anyway, and the family forgets about David’s birthday. However, the family we met in episode one is not the family that exists anymore, and it’s key moment in feeling their growth. By the end of the episode there’s a lot to smile (and cry) about. Alexis clearly wishes someone had come to her graduation and is delighted when Ted turns up, followed by Moira changing her plans so she can be there as well.
We also get the first, very awkward date between Patrick and David. David firstly needs Stevie to explain to him that Patrick definitely thinks it’s a date, and after Stevie politely excuses herself, Patrick and David celebrate his birthday and share their first kiss.
1. Happy Ending (6.14)
Since their first kiss, it’s obvious that Patrick and David are meant to be. Their relationship is a fan favourite and a core pillar of the show. There was no other way to end the show but with their wedding, with the knowledge that afterwards, the characters will all be moving on with their lives in different directions. Of course nothing goes to plan, but in true Schitt’s Creek fashion, everything happens precisely how it needs to do.
It’s a celebration of the show, of the town, the family, and their friends. It’s a goodbye, and it’s funny and touching in just the right amounts. No one does character development like the writers of Schitt’s Creek, and even though no one wanted this show to end, it would have been a disservice to do so in any other way.
What are your favourite episodes of Schitt's Creek? Do you agree with the choices above? Let us know in the comments below...