I watched “Schitt’s Creek” a few years ago because I am a fan of the great Second City Television alums Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, who star in the Canadian sitcom as filthy rich couple Johnny and Moira Rose. After Johnny’s video store business implodes, they have no choice but to relocate to a podunk town with an obscene-sounding name that they’d once bought for their son, David (Daniel Levy), as a gag gift.
I hoped the show would be funny. It seemed contrived and dumb. I flicked it off after 10 minutes.
Then I ran out of shows to binge over the past holiday season and gave Season 4 a try. Maybe the series got better, maybe I’ve changed, but I could not stop laughing — and am really psyched about the 14 episodes of Season 5, which launches at 10 p.m. Wednesday on the cable channel Pop TV.
O’Hara, portraying a haughty former soap opera actor, elicits guffaws just from her parade of eye-poppingly weird black-and-white outfits and Lady Gaga-esque shoes. She’s the kind of mother who, when her adult kids greet her on a phone call, will say, “Who are those voices?”
“Your children,” says David.
In the new season, she’ll be in Bosnia filming an apocalyptic movie about crows. She looks fabulous in feathers.
The children are equally amusing. David makes extremely funny faces to express his exasperation with pretty much everything. And his sister, Alexis (Annie Murphy), had an unusual past life: “I drove into the Prada store on Rodeo Drive. In fairness, it did look a lot like an entrance to a parking garage, and I was high at the time.”
Daily life in Schitt’s Creek is delightfully absurd. When Johnny — the show’s perpetual straight man — orders the special to go from the diner, the waitress hands him a sack of cream of mushroom soup: “We don’t actually have to-go containers for that so I’ve just doubled-bagged it. Would you like a spoon or a straw?”
But as I laughed, I felt something else: empathy and joy! The series, created by Eugene and Daniel Levy for Canada’s CBC Television, isn’t afraid to tug at heartstrings as the emotionally handicapped Roses learn to become better people.
David has trouble saying, “I love you.” But he overcomes his inner demons and expresses his love for his low-key partner by lip-syncing while Tina Turner sings, “You’re simply the best.” Which sums up my feelings about “Schitt’s Creek.”