What have you binge-watched lately? I’m always late to the party when it comes to must-watch TV shows so we didn’t start watching Schitt’s Creek until this month. And I am hopelessly addicted.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m going to try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible but this is why I love Schitt’s Creek and the way it tells stories which delight and break the mould.
1. Stories of everyday life in a small town
I recently wrote about why I help business owners tell more of their stories and that there are many more Love Actually stories of everyday life than there are exceptional 007s.
While the Rose family’s situation and lived experience are exceptional, the stories on the show are every day. The story revolves around a core group of characters, mostly one family, a motel, and a cafe. There are a few more locations, but I said no spoilers.
The stories involve every day situations: meals, forgetting family details, friendships, dating, jobs and pastimes. Stevie plays a lot of Solitaire on her computer.
2. Everyone gets to be themselves
In Schitt’s Creek, everyone is unapologetically themselves. We often feel the need to blend in and act the same as those around us. We can fear saying or doing the things we want because we’re not sure what other people’s reactions will be.
No-one blends in in Schitt’s Creek. The characters are also willing to be vulnerable and talk about their insecurities. They say things out loud to parents, partners, children, and friends which we so often feel we can’t say. They let people in. They’re honest with each other.
That mix of people who are happy to be themselves while wanting to contribute and lend support to each other where they can see they have something to offer creates a great community.
3. The wine, not the label
Schitt’s Creek refuses to stereotype. As it’s set in a small town, I confess I started watching with some preconceptions about how this was going to play out and I was delighted to find it was nothing like I expected.
It’s a show I wish I could have watched when I was in my early 20s instead of my early 40s. There are very few storylines on TV where being gay is not an issue and isn’t used as a source of conflict as part of the dramatic narrative.
“I like the wine and not the label” is such a great analogy. You can be you and have relationships with whoever you want without people questioning how you identify or whether you still are ‘who’ they thought you were if you date someone of a different gender from the one they expected.
Dan Levy deliberately didn’t write any storylines around homophobia into the show. By doing so, he created the world as it should be.
4. Characters step out of their comfort zone
We often feel stuck on a path. We believe the decisions we made at school, or 18, or 21 are the ones we have to stick with. Doors have closed behind us and we can’t reopen them. And perhaps we feel we have to stick with people’s expectations or beliefs about ‘who we are’.
While we might want to make a change, we feel we can’t, or our fear holds us back.
Characters in Schitt’s Creek do things which many viewers might wish they could do. They re-open doors, they take risks, they give things a go. And while yes, I know it’s fiction, why shouldn’t those stories inspire viewers to do the same?
5. Characters are allowed to change without leaving
What on earth do I mean by that? Something which doesn’t come across when you binge watch six series at once is that the action takes place over several years. And in that time, the characters are allowed to change in front of us.
No-one goes away to university (college), no one moves to New York (though they might wish to) and comes back a totally different person.
Their changes in attitude, work, relationships, and values alter during the course of the show without them going away, being transformed, and returning. They’re allowed to shift expectations of who they are while staying in a close-knit community.
6. The music!
Music can transport your customer in time and place, even if they only hear the first few bars. It’s part of the atmosphere and plays a key part in our stories. It creates associations in our minds. I love all the music in Schitt’s Creek and now, when I hear certain tracks I think about that part of the story.
Hooray for the person who put together the Schitt’s Creek playlist on Spotify! And when it runs out, the Spotify algorithm plays me songs inspired by it, many of which I associate very strongly with my late teens/early twenties. Maybe my eclectic taste is a little less individual than I thought.
7. They stage Cabaret!
Ok, so this is a spoiler but I’ll try not to give away too many details. I had to share it though because when I was about 15 I was totally obsessed with Cabaret. I’ve watched it hundreds of times and adored Liza Minelli as Sally Bowles. Seeing something which you thought was quite niche shared by other people is validating.
So often we believe we need to keep our personal interests locked away. We only show people our business life. We don’t wear our hearts on our sleeves. But talking about the music you love, the shows you watch, the places and experiences that matter to you, brings people into your world. You will make connections with people because they watched that show hundreds of times too.
By the time you read this, I will have watched the final episode. I’m not going to lie, I don’t want it to end. Best wishes and warmest regards to all the cast and crew. Thank you.