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HOW SCHITT’S CREEK REDEFINED THE MEANING OF INCLUSIVITY & SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS

HOW SCHITT’S CREEK REDEFINED THE MEANING OF INCLUSIVITY & SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS

During the pandemic, OTT platforms across the world became the primary source of entertainment for most of us. Bigger, bolder, thought provoking, and often controversial content was all around us as our one escape from the drudgery of lockdown.

Of course, much of that popularity also turned into part notoriety as the language, contentious content seemed to hurt sentiments, resulting in calls for censorship.

However, for most part, these platforms have helped broaden our mental and creative horizons, increasingly exposing us to thoughts and ideas that we might have found more difficult to assimilate and accept. And Netflix’s Schitt’s Creek is a prime example of this.

The series, conceptualized by the father-son duo of Eugene and Dan Levy, follows the riches-to-rags story of the Rose family who move their base from upscale New York to the extremely ordinary semi urban town called Schitt’s Creek.

The people here are your ordinary folks, living uneventfully and stumbling through life. Are they special in any way? Not really, except for their individual quirks which add to the overall unconventional aura of the show. They are folks who will probably not leave an extraordinary impression on you, and at times even cause you to roll eyes in exasperation.

And yet, it is these very ordinary people who will often impress you with their foresight and acceptance. You know that feeling you get when an old relative whom you believe to be incapable of saying or doing anything intelligent at the best of times, totally throws you off unexpectedly with their uncanny perceptiveness and insight? That is the feeling you get when you start paying attention to them.

A TOWN WHERE INDIVIDUALITY AND QUIRKS ARE CHERISHED NOT FROWNED UPON

The show celebrates individuality in a beautiful, understated manner – Moira’s theatrical arrogance, Alexis’ self centric naivete, John’s aristocratic helplessness, or David’s eccentricities. They are unapologetically themselves. Even the supporting caste, with their incredible personality quirks just ease up on you and become much loved despite no special attributes.
So when every character is celebrated for being themselves, is it a wonder that these normal, ordinary, unremarkable people who accept each other without question or criticism are also easily accepting of individual sexual orientation and preferences? I don’t think so.

Among the many examples of inclusivity and individual choice witnessed throughout, the relationship between David Rose (who identifies as a pansexual) and Patrick Brewer (who identifies as a gay) is the most outstanding one. It has been woven into the story as seamlessly as Alexis Rose and Ted Mullen’s heterosexual one. Even the fact that Patrick, who had erstwhile considered himself to be straight but only later figured his preference on meeting David, does not even raise eyebrows or questions. It’s just accepted as a given, an individual preference.

And that’s where this show wins your heart. You will not witness long winding speeches, or acceptance dialogues. You will not be tutored into accepting something different. It’s devoid of any form of caricatures or stereotypes, or special treatments.
Patrick and David aren’t just a second lead couple added as a filler or side laughs. They are real, and they are the ones everyone watching the show is automatically rooting for, whether it’s within the town of Schitt’s Creek, or while sitting at home watching their story unwind on the television.

THE LGBTQ REPRESENTATION IS DIGNIFIED AND LEAVES YOUR USUAL TROPES FAR BEHIND

This portrayal of ease and good humor, beyond its holistic entertainment value, is particularly important for the LGBTQ+ community. It normalizes these relationships like no other contemporary work, with the warm flow of love and unconditional acceptance. One can only imagine the contribution that this positive step in the world of entertainment has on countless youngsters striving for their own and others’ acceptance.

While homosexual partnerships have been legalized in many countries, and even same sex marriages have garnered legal acceptance in some, there’s still a social taboo attached to these. Even when the courts accept their legal status, socially they are frowned upon by many, making it difficult for people to find acceptance for their choice of partner.

And this isn’t helped by the contemporary caricatured portrayals in mainstream works of entertainment – an effeminate man dressed in gaudy clothes with exaggerated hand gestures, or the gay best friend put into the frame to crack corny bawdy jokes for side laughs.

Amidst this loud representation, when there comes a series depicting a normal happy same sex relationship with its regular fair share of struggles, it’s a reassurance to those from the LGBTQ+ community and their guardians/supporters. It reaffirms their faith in the fact that yes, society and community CAN accept their relationships as being as normal as those between opposite sex folks.

And that’s exactly what happened in this anecdote shared by Dan Levy in one of his interviews, where he shared a moving experience of receiving a letter of thanks from mothers of kids belonging to the LGBTQ community in a facebook group. For these family members, the show was a reassuring glimpse of change in entertainment values AND the society as whole. Watching it they could believe that their own children COULD lead happy normal lives, devoid of any special struggles, and that they could have dignified relationships of their choice. how received a very heartwarming letter from representatives of this facebook group.

FIRST STEP IN THE LONG JOURNEY TOWARDS CHANGING THE NARRATIVE

Nobody can refute the impact that pop culture representation has on our society. Therefore, maybe it’s time for it to undergo a decisive, unqualified change. In order to see a change in the general acceptance towards LGBTQ community, it’s imperative that their depiction changes, becomes more realistic. Only then can we truly respect the right to freedom of choice, and help them feel more secure in the path they choose for themselves.

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About The Author

Kritika Mathur

Kritika Mathur is the Chief Editor at Sustainability Today. Her ability to perceive cultures, trends and people gives her the ammunition to understand the nuances of sustainability challenges. She also heads the strategy and operations at Envecologic. When not strategising, Kritika loves to read, bake and travel. She is also a star blogger!

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