The acclaimed Canadian sitcom goes out with a bang in an uproarious, heartfelt final season.
One of the things that makes Schitt’s Creek so special isn’t just the fish-out-of-water element of a wealthy family finding themselves in a backwater town without a paddle, but the surprising growth of its beautifully realized characters. Johnny (Eugene Levy), Moira (Catherine O’Hara), David (Dan Levy), and Alexis (Annie Murphy) have all come so far from the miserable, sniping people they were in season one. The most memorable and touching moments haven’t been the punchlines (though those are almost always gold, especially when delivered by Moira), but the moments where you really see the Roses’ evolution from snobby rich kids to earnest members of their small-town community. Based on the four episodes of season 6 made available for critics, Schitt’s Creek looks to end the show on a high note.
The Roses’ transformations are doled out so subtly that you don’t really notice until the big moments, like Johnny standing up to his rich friends to defend the town that took him in, or David finding the courage to let himself be loved, or Alexis deciding to finally stop running and stay in one place. These characters haven’t just been learning to love the town and its kooky, salt-of-the-earth inhabitants, but also each other. Because when you’ve lost everything else, family is what you’re left with.
Season six picks up not too long after the memorable Season 5 finale, Cabaret having just closed and Moira still bunking in the hotel closet. Patrick (Noah Reid) and David are deep into wedding planning, Alexis is preparing to join Ted (Dustin Milligan) on the Galapagos Islands, and Stevie (Emily Hampshire) is feeling empowered but at loose ends after her turn on the stage.
Again we get the sense that David and Alexis are learning their way around the sibling bond as they grapple with Alexis leaving at such a big, emotional time in David’s life and missing out on all the fun of helping plan his and Patrick’s wedding. Because of Alexis’ upcoming sabbatical with Ted, David has asked Stevie to stand as his maid of honor, a role that Stevie may not be entirely prepared for. Season six has Stevie grappling with her own issues as she tries to “see what’s out there” for her. Stepping away from the hotel, she leaves the responsibilities to Johnny just when he’s thinking of starting a Rosebud franchise.
By the fourth episode, Stevie—and her future—are as uncertain as ever, but in a moment of selflessness, Alexis has mostly relinquished the maid of honor duties to her. Watching Stevie find joy in the unexpected is itself a revelation for this character, whether it’s singing her heart out on stage, donning a flight attendant’s uniform for a new job, or helping to plan her best friend’s wedding. There’s an element of risk for someone like Stevie in opening herself up to new things, and it’s been so refreshing to see her following through.
Speaking of Johnny, without Stevie’s involvement in the expansion plans, he doesn’t have enough stake in the Rosebud to finance a mortgage on a second motel. This leads to an amusing B-plot where Jocelyn (Jennifer Robertson), Roland (Chris Elliott), Johnny, and Moira attempt to woo Bob (John Hemphill) as a potential investor based on Bob’s expensive new leather getup. They make their pitch over a dinner of “Sloppy Jocelyns” and it turns out Bob isn’t experiencing an influx of income at the garage, but going broke in the midst of a midlife crisis. In the end, it’s Roland who comes up with a solution, and it’ll be interesting/hilarious to see how Johnny and Roland operate as more equitable partners.
The Roses’ transformations are doled out so subtly that you don’t really notice until the big moments.
Of all the Roses, the character growth its most slippery with Moira, mostly because she’s such a difficult character to quantify. Stans of Moira can expect to see more wigs and verbal acrobatics from Catherine O’Hara in the final season, to be sure. But when The Crows Have Eyes 3: The Crowening is picked up by streaming behemoth “Interflix” it’s not the usual Moira brand of braggadocio we see but genuine pride in something she’s made. Okay, and a little braggadocio.
Also, there is finally some payoff to Moira’s hopelessness with technology when Interflix asks her to take over their social media for a day as a marketing ploy. Watching Moira screech crow noises to her Instagram Frans (friends/fans) could be an episode in and of itself. But when Moira learns—or rather, doesn’t learn—to live stream that we get one of the funniest and cringe-iest episodes in six seasons of this show.
As all good things must end, so we come to the final season of Schitt’s Creek, the plucky little sitcom that quickly became a certified phenomenon. American audiences haven’t been this in love with Canadian television since Degrassi, but after six seasons the time has come to pack away the wigs and wave farewell to that perfectly normal sign on our way out of town. Whatever the rest of the season has in store for the Roses and the audience, it’s the moments of grace and emotional growth that have elevated this show beyond just highly binge-able comedy. The Roses aren’t simply characters anymore. They’re family.
Schitt’s Creek premieres its final season on Pop TV on January 7.