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Why 'Schitt's Creek' won big at Emmy Awards

"Schitt's Creek" is a Canadian TV show that won big at this year's Emmys, and gained popularity after being added to Netflix.  – Photo by Twitter / @SchittsCreekPop

Was it the Emmy Awards or the Eugene and Daniel Levy show? The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards happened on Sunday and the Canadian comedy “Schitt’s Creek” was the trailblazer, sweeping in all the comedy categories for its sixth and final season with nine wins, the most for a comedy in a single year.

The incredibly gifted Catherine O’Hara won her first Emmy Award for her performance as the extravagant and articulate Moira Rose. Actress Annie Murphy also picked up her first Emmy Award for best supporting actress, with Daniel Levy winning in the opposite category. The show was recognized for its directorial and writing efforts, and the cast members celebrated in awe at their watch party in Toronto.

The series was conceptualized and written by David Levy himself, who got his father on board with the project and transformed his intricate vision into a show that is beloved by many. “Schitt’s Creek” isn’t your standard sitcom — it features different dynamics and sharp-witted writing than its comedy contemporaries.

The show centers around the once-wealthy Rose family, who fell into bankruptcy and had to resort to their last asset, the small, quaint town of Schitt’s Creek. The Roses, husband and wife Johnny and Moira and their adult children David and Alexis, settle in an old-carpeted motel.

Their dramatic resistance to the town’s laid back culture and quiet contentment — as well as the residents’ lack of sympathy for their strife — is the heart of the show’s comedy. 

The cast stepped into their roles with devotion and spirit. Eugene Levy and O’Hara worked together behind the camera prior to their reunion on “Schitt’s Creek,” forming the unlikely but classic pair as Johnny and Moira.

Murphy was virtually unknown before she assumed her role as the stylish, confident but aloof Alexis. Daniel Levy embraced his role as the lovable David, who is arguably a more anxious and particular extension of himself.

The show lays out their journey assimilating to the town and carving out their own life paths in short, bite-sized episodes. Intimacy and care is shown in subtle ways, as bonds are formed and relationships come and go.

Each one of the supporting characters is peculiar but endearing, and is showcased through their own personal plights. The show also features a gay relationship in its truest forms, without the backdrop or connotation of the way queerness is typically represented.

“Schitt’s Creek” wasn’t always the talk of the town. The show debuted in 2015 in Canada and on POP TV, and expanded its viewership when it was picked up by Netflix in 2017. It was shut out of the Emmy Awards for its first four seasons until 2019, when it earned its first four nominations, but no wins.

It quietly evolved into a fan favorite for its heartfelt comedy and characters, who were embraced wholly and almost effortlessly by the joyful cast. O’ Hara loved to innovate with her role, throwing in a wig collection and meme-worthy pronunciations. They were able to tell a story not only through dialogue, but wardrobe and mannerisms.

Daniel Levy was inspired by the lives of the wealthy and wanted to explore the hypothetical situations of a wealthy family being stripped of all their money. He said creating the show in Toronto away from the Hollywood buzz, along with his deal with the networks, offered him a lot of creative freedom.

“Schitt’s Creek” serves as a place where members of the LGBTQ+ community can rejoice and see themselves represented so beautifully in a breakout TV series, which goes far in making so many people feel accepted.

“I want to feel like I’m putting something out into the world that’s of consequence,” Daniel Levy said. “It is a comedy, but there’s a bit of weight to it. In our own little way we’re taking a stand.”

For its initial seasons, the show is carefully paced. But, the storyline thickens and the characters blossom from the third season onwards, which stands as a testament to its writing.

The family that you see on screen is the same family that was created on set, and you gradually start to fall in love with the characters as well as the actors who play them. So if you’re searching for a show that brings warmth, laughter and ridiculous fashion, this is the one to watch.

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