As much as I am one Schitt’s Creek fan, it was hard to find consistent laughter and be able to live with the Rose family early in the series – married couple Johnny (Eugene Levy) and Moira (Catherine O’Hara) and their adult children, David (Dan Levy), and Alexis (Annie Murphy) – because they were so self-absorbed. Then came the perfect finale of season 2, episode 13, “Happiest Anniversary.” It’s an episode that puts each rose in a situation that provokes their insecurity and challenges them to separate and see what they’re hiding underneath.
The anniversary in reference is Moira and Johnnys. After rejecting the mayor of Schitt’s Creek, Roland (Chris Elliott), and his wife, Jocelyn (Jennifer Robertson), for a dinner invitation that night in nearby Elmsdale, Moira and Johnny make their own reservation there, and then encounter a couple from their “old” rich lives. Roland and Jocelyn show up, and it’s a perfect storm that reveals how superficial and, frankly, Moira and Johnny’s audience felt, and how honest and genuine Roland and Jocelyn are. There, at the restaurant’s dinner table, Roland and Jocelyn’s appreciation of the evening outlines a bridge to the warm, intimate atmosphere back in Schitt’s. Creek. At a local (Tim Rozon as Mutt) stable party, filled with tealights and filled with snacks, beer, hot vodka in red plastic cups and well water cisterns, is the place where we find David and Alexis.
From David’s side, he is pursued by another man, Schitt’s Creek, Jake (Steve Lund), which fills him with a surprised, happy wish. His interaction with Jake – who calls David “beautiful” and later kisses him on the mouth and invites him to drop by his wood shop sometime – is also played for comical, fake competition with his best friend, Stevie (Emily Hampshire), a local to whom David immediately connects. Stevie tells David that Jake likes her and that she has kissed him too. However, it is not a real competition, but a fun attraction that they briefly flirt with by sleeping together. David is both inside and out of his element here. He is used to being wanted, but we realize that David has never been persecuted true. Jake is sweet to him and honest. David has also never had a real friend, so his fun, flirtatious but also friendly connection with Jake is a refreshing change to everything he has experienced before.
Alexis, who is usually confident in her intimate scenarios, becomes uneasy when she meets her ex (Mutt’s) new boyfriend, Tennessee (Sarah Power), a physically striking and charming woman, not unlike Alexis. Murphy is a master class in acting in the few minutes the three of them interact. Sadness and insecurity twitch in her face, fight against her pride, and sweetness win out. She may be jealous of Tennessee, but admires her, and we realize that Alexis also has little experience with real people. Alexis then talks to his ex-girlfriend, Schitt’s Creek local, Ted (Dustin Milligan), and asked him how he got over her. In the end, Ted says, he just had to get through it. It’s a pear moment for Alexis; I bet she’s not completely healed from an experience before, and Ted’s directness softens and interests her. Pride, which truly serves the ego as a bandaid, is always worth sacrificing for interactions that force you to be genuine with yourself.
Then sasha Moira and Johnny enter the barn – after a heartbreaking scene in the restaurant, where Johnny finally shows up for Schitt’s Creek, their friends and himself in front of their fake friends – and tells David and Alexis to their first horror at. to see their parents at the youth party that we are dancing tonight as a “family”. Moira can not get the words out – “Well, just say it!” Johnny shows up – as she begins to say how much she and Johnny care. “We love you both very much,” Moira says, and Alexis cools it back. The focus is on David, who hesitates over these words – he says it, then he and Alexis spin each other sweetly.
Next to the roses, Schitt’s Creekers dance and laugh. Jocelyn takes Mutt, their son, alienated from Roland, away for a dance while Roland spins around Tennessee. Stevie smiles to herself, jumps into place, and the local waitress, Twlya (Sarah Levy), swings his arms while James Morrison’s “Precious Love” swells. “This is precious love, and it teaches me / everything I need to know.” It is one of the most feel-good moments in modern television. The stable party exists as it is, without preconditions. Seeing the roses detach, finally, from their narcissism, because they finally close the beautiful conversation and vibration offerings of their new friends and the city they live in, into what makes this episode of Schitt’s Creek so heartwarming.
So ‘Shameless’ has called it a day; what’s next?
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