Sailing Up "Schitt's Creek"
via the Hollywood Reporter

Jewish nebbish paragon Eugene Levy stars in new sitcom.

For a long run that peaked at the new millennium, Eugene Levy personified the American Jewish nebbish. Capitalizing on something broad audiences didn’t know they wanted, he stole the show as the dorky dad in all eight – no really, eight – "American Pie" movies, and walked with two left feet in "Best in Show."

But now, at 68, Levy has traded his glasses for an ascot to play the silver-haired patriarch of a wealthy family who has lost everything on the Pop! series "Schitt’s Creek." Along with his co-stars Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, and real-life son, co-creator and writer Dan Levy, he gets to shine on a traditional sitcom format that subverts every expectation of its characters.  

The plot is laid out within the first few minutes of the pilot: The obscenely wealthy Rose family made some bad investments, and the government has come calling. Now, they’ve only one asset remaining: a town called Schitt’s Creek that SaJohnny (Eugene Levy) bought as a joke for his son David (Dan Levy) years ago. Sharing two motel rooms among the four of them, the Rose family melts down in their new small-town surroundings, and makes sure to remind the locals that they do not belong in this nightmare.

But the Roses soon reveal themselves to be more than caricatures of wealthy jerks meeting their comeuppance. Moira (Catherine O’Hara), a lubricated former soap star, may nail her wigs to the wall and speak with Madonna’s affect, but in her interactions with Jocelyn Schitt (Jennifer Robertson), the mayor’s wife, Moira really tries to reach out and understand how someone so simple could be so much happier than she is.

And fortunately for everyone, O’Hara and Levy – longtime friends and costars from SCTV and the Christopher Guest movies - get to be affectionate with one another. Rather than fall into the exhausted TV trope of the resentful married rich couple, Moira and Johnny continuously reaffirm that all they have is each other.

But the kids pull their weight just as much as their veteran acting parents. Alexis (Annie Murphy), the family dunce, attempts to flee the town in the first episode, but gets abandoned by her party boy boyfriend, Stavros. “He was never my favorite Stavros,” Johnny says, trying to comfort her. Wearing platforms to her street-cleaning community service, she tries to emulate her felonious icon, Naomi Campbell, and seeks to find genuine beauty in her new hellscape.

But of all the Roses, David is certainly the most original. All eyes and eyebrows, Dan Levy stares his victims down before eating them whole. Handsome, soft-spoken, and hyper-intelligent, David doesn’t fit in with any other male on television. His sexuality has yet to be identified, but any way David breaks, he could be a revelation for gender on TV.

In 2015 most gay characters still operate as some straight girl’s best friend. David doesn’t have any kind of friends. It would almost be refreshing if he revealed himself to be straight, as he’d have so little in common with the brooding buzzkills of series like "House of Cards" or the misogynist scum of the fast-approaching "Entourage" movie. And if he’s asexual then he’ll be part of a whole new vanguard.

It’s a matter of time before the town of Schitt’s Creek fills the vacuum of Pawnee and Star’s Hollow before it. Until its demented townspeople do the heavy lifting, the Roses will satisfy just fine. With nothing to distract themselves but grim motel walls and a barren hamlet, Moira, Johnny, Alexis and David are forced to look inward.

In the depths of their humiliation, they may not be so shallow after all. 

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