Schitt's Creek Creator Responds To Criticisms About The Show's Take On Social Issues

schitts creek rose family pop tv

Canadian sitcom Schitt's Creek told the story of a formerly wealthy family after they lost everything and had to move to a small town they'd purchased years ago, and it gained a passionate following over its six seasons. The show wrapped back in April 2020, and it left fans with a happy ending, even if the finale didn't go entirely as planned for the Rose family. While the family faced their share of troubles over the years, Schitt's Creek avoided bigotry, homophobia, and racism and focused on the funny. Dan Levy, who co-created and starred in Schitt's Creek, responded to criticisms of the show neatly sidestepping divisive social issues.

Dany Levy was part of a roundtable for THR along with Kumail Nanjiani, Ricky Gervais, Kenan Thompson, and Ramy Youssef, and Nanjiani argued that making jokes about marginalized people can "normalize ideas" that would be "harmful" to society. Levy applied that idea to Schitt's Creek, saying:

To what Kumail was saying, in terms of, what if someone takes something and runs with it, my solution for that on our particular show was to just never give power to that perspective. So, for us, it was making sure that the town of Schitt's Creek — and traditionally speaking, small towns in comedies have always been the butt of the joke — be the epicenter for growth for our family. It's ultimately a satire on wealth and indulgence and what love means, so having the ability to say, ‘I'm not going to have bigotry or homophobia ever discussed in this town,’ it's a way of protecting a world that I felt was gentler and more accepting.

According to Dan Levy, presenting the town of Schitt's Creek -- which is a punchline in and of itself with the title -- without bigotry or homophobia was a way to avoid giving power to prejudiced perspectives. Levy's character, David Rose, was pansexual, and he married his partner Patrick by the end of the final season. While there were certainly jokes about David's relationships, they were never at his expense for his sexuality.

And David was definitely not the only one whose relationships were mined for humor, with Alexis getting into her fair share of funny situations in the romance department as well. Honestly, just the two of them sharing a room while dealing with their relationship ups and down delivered plenty of laughs, and there's a reason why Schitt's Creek is a great show to watch to cheer yourself up.

Dan Levy went on to explain Schitt's Creek's approach to love as well as avoiding bigotry:

My feeling was if I were to include homophobia or bigotry of any kind in the show, it would be giving power to those people who see themselves on TV. And what I've realized in the process of doing that is that there's so much power in that kind of projection of something nice, particularly for gay characters. We've come to expect any time we fall in love on camera [for it] to end in death or in something terrible or tragic or to never be given happiness completely. I don't ever consider our show to be very political, but I suppose that decision to just say, ‘We're never going to show the dark side,’ is the quiet politics of our show.

I can't speak for anybody else, but I definitely agree with Dan Levy that I tend to expect tragedy when characters are too happy for too long on TV, even in comedies. Schitt's Creek wasn't 100% happy 100% of the time, but there was no pervasive gloom and doom within the Rose family, and no bigotry or homophobia in the town of Schitt's Creek. It's just a fun show about a semi-dysfunctional but loving family.

If you haven't caught Schitt's Creek yet or just want to relive the Rose family's journey, you can find the first five seasons streaming on Netflix now. For more streaming options now and in the coming weeks, check out our 2020 Netflix premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).