1. Stand up for those that have stood up for you.
In Season 2, Episode 13, John and Moira head out to dinner on their anniversary night when things get uncomfortable. Their old friends, along with Jocelyn and Roland, end up joining them for dinner, putting them in a tense confrontation between their old life and their current life. But after their old friends go on a barrage of rude comments about the town’s name that makes Roland and Jocelyn go silent, John takes a stand. Admirably, he tells the truth about his life and puts an end to the comments, saying, “…that town you passed through, it’s not called Shittsville, its called Shitt’s Creek, and its where we live.” He could’ve continued to fake it and not address the elephant in the room, but instead he stood up for the people that were there for him and admits they’re members of the town. After seeing the Rose family in such denial of their current state, this shocked me at first, but in a good way. It drew me into the show even more because they could’ve made John the typical stuck-up, washed-up character. But they didn’t, they made him honorable while relaying the message that you should always stand up for those that have stood up for you.
2. Sometimes, money can take away more than it can give.
Prior to living in Schitt’s Creek, the Rose family supposedly ‘had it all’ due to their endless stream of money. However, after they lost everything material, they gained back each other. In Season 3, Episode 12 their old, giant family portrait shows up at the motel because it didn’t end up being sold. Stevie catches John looking at it and reminiscing as he says,”The family often wasn’t all together back then, but I could look at this and there we were.” But Stevie’s response says it all, “Well, you guys are together like all the time now, so who needs this?” Yes, they may have lost their material wealth but that loss instigated the reunion of their family, making them richer than ever. Yes, it’s nice to have money, but it certainly isn’t everything.
3. Pursue your desires, even if they’re a little daunting and scary.
Multiple times throughout the show we watch as many characters go out on a limb and conquer a goal, even if it may seen lofty and unattainable. Alexis returns to high school and finishes her degree and then moves onto college. David took over the failed general store and turned it successful. Moira campaigned for and scored a position on the town council. The list goes on. But watching these characters strive for the next step in their walk of life, reiterated the lesson that it’s always good to follow your dreams. I don’t want to go to over-the-top with this classic cliche, but its true. Set goals for yourself. Whether they be small like deciding to run a mile everyday, reading a book, or large like buying a house, getting a promotion etc. Achieving those goals, big or small, seemingly easy or seemingly hard, is what keeps us moving forward on our journey. It makes us feel complete. And we need that.
4. Support the people you care about– whether they ask for it or not.
Achieving a goal is so rewarding, especially when you’re able to celebrate it with someone. The Rose’s dramatic attitudes and sassy remarks made me not want to watch the show at first, thinking that’s all it was going to amount to. But soon I came to find that each of them are more genuine than they first appear. Countless times throughout the show we watch the way they support each other. Subtle signs of support at times? Yes. Support along with sarcastic comments? Oh hell yes. But, support nonetheless. Like when David supports his mom and sings an old Christmas jingle with her on stage when she’s too afraid to do her one-woman play. Or when John goes into business with Stevie on the motel and, when Stevie gets scared, re-brands the sign to say, “Rosebud Motel”, a combination of their last names, to show they’re a team. Or how about when Alexis helps David get a partnership for his store even though it’s with Ted’s new girlfriend. I mean the list goes on and on, shining a light on what true friendship is: support. Whether our loved one asks for it or not.
5. There’s no shame in exploration.
A slightly raunchier lesson was instilled in Season 1, episode 10 with Stevie and David’s talk about “wine” after their first sexual encounter.
Stevie: “I only drink red wine, and up until last night, I was under the impression that you too only drink red wine, but i guess i was wrong?”
David: “I see where you’re going with this, um, I do drink red wine but I also drink white wine, and I’ve been known to sample the occasional Rose, and a couple summers back I tried a Merlot that used to be a Chardonnay which got a bit complicated…”
Stevie: “Okay, yeah, so you’re just really open to all wines.”
David: “I like the wine and not the label.”
In this scene David is entirely open and honest about his sexual exploration, and possible orientation of being pansexual, which I think is a topic that doesn’t get spoken about enough in today’s world. It’s okay to be curious. It’s okay to explore what you like. It’s okay to label things, not label things, not care about labeling things, etc. It’s your body and you’re free to express and use it in whatever way makes you feel good. Whether that means exploring as much as David has or simply exploring your body by yourself, you make the rules. Embrace who you are, what you like, and don’t be afraid to do so!
6. Be vulnerable.
On a less physical note, is the lesson that being vulnerable is being human. We all have emotions and crazy thoughts and weird reflections because of life and it’s encouraged to share those things with someone else because that is how we connect. That is how we build relationships with our partner, our friends, our family. Throughout Schitt’s Creek we see how many characters struggle with letting their walls down or asking for help when they need it. David was afraid to tell Patrick he loved him. Alexis thought Ted was too nice for her, drove him away, and then after falling in love with him, was afraid to tell him how she felt. Moira having multiple panic attacks and not wanting to admit her fears of becoming a washed up actress. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, with more examples of how frightening it can be to let someone in, even if they’re someone as close as family. But, in the end, being vulnerable and sharing those moments with someone never makes you weak and trust me, you never come off as fragile as you feel.
What do you know? A comedic sitcom can have more laced into it than just the humor. And it’s those bits of real thread that kept me around, wanting more.