A wine metaphor to describe someone’s sexuality is perhaps not as conventional. But Schitt’s Creek succeeds in putting this metaphor across without belittling the identity of a pansexual person and in fact offering us a meaning that defines the openness and inclusivity that shapes the queer community. A story of a rich, but dysfunctional, family gone bankrupt and forced to temporarily relocate to a smaller town, Schitt’s Creek is a show that represents love and inclusivity without making bold, political statements about the same, especially in the representation of its queer characters.
The scene in which David Rose, Dan Levy’s character, uses the wine metaphor to explain his pansexuality to his friend, hasn’t been dramatized by the creators of the show. It isn’t met with surprise and there are no heavy or emotional pauses. It is instead said in the most matter-of-factly manner and at the same time, sits so perfectly within the conversation and the overall setting of the show. There isn’t a single instance of homophobia throughout the series but at the same time, it doesn’t take away the centrality of queer representation. If anything, the show insists on normalizing the portrayal of queer characters, by ensuring that there isn’t anydiscussion or conversation about it within the show. In an interview with Variety, Levy discusses how he, along with the rest of the creators of the show, wanted to create a world “where things are as they should be” instead of a world that would even hint towards homophobia. The attempt, a successful one, was to show a world where queer sexuality wasn’t an important topic of discussion, but instead just existed as it should.
Perhaps the only moment where the one sees a vulnerable portrayal of a queer character is when David’s partner Patrick comes out to his parents. Only here do we witness a Patrick struggling with his decision on how to tell his parents about his identity as a gay man. That particular episode resonates deeply with the queer community as acknowledging one’s identity to their parents is probably one of the most delicate and important matter in their lives. But even here, when Patrick’s parents find out from a third person that their son is gay, what bothers them isn’t that he identifies as gay but the idea that their son was somehow afraid of coming out to them. The response that Patrick’s parents have when he finally comes out to them is one that every individual deserves. The onus then, is not on queer individuals to ‘explain’ their identity but on their loved ones and the society to accept who the person identifies as, unconditionally.
What makes the show so popular amongst queer circles is the romance between the two male characters. Their relationship isn’t unconventional nor does it have to overcome the struggle that two gay men might otherwise experience in any society. The initial friendship between them, the lowkey flirting that they engage in, their romantic relationship accompanied with tons of cheesiness and even the minor differences between the couple – all offer a brilliantly crafted show that blankets its audience with warmth. It would be difficult for lovers of the romantic genre, queer or not, to not melt when Patrick sings a song for David in front of a bunch of people, or during his swooping proposal, or even during the heartwarming wedding vows that they exchange. The portrayal of their romance doesn’t negate their sexuality. Like any other individual, the characters of David and Patrick visibly enjoy their sexual experiences. At one point, they even contemplate indulging in a threesome with a man whom David has previously been with sexually.
Schitt’s Creek shows no compromise in representing the unconditional and wholesome love between two men. It ensures that their relationship engages with the audience in the same capacity as any other heterosexual relationship would. The creators of the show insisted on ensuring a world that has no place for hatred, for homophobia. Perhaps this world is too ideal or even too far away from reality. But it isn’t unbelievable. Without even talking about it, the show encourages people to imagine a world that is primarily filled with inclusivity and love by simply offering us such a world. It resonates so beautifully because of the hope it provides and because it speaks to the desire that perhaps everyone has, to live without the fear of being shamed for one’s identity.