SCHITT’S CREEK Review: “Milk Money”

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Airtime: Wednesdays at 8PM on Pop
Episode: Season 2, Episode 8 (S02E08)

Tweetable Takeaway: #SchittsCreek gives all of us an election worth following


Unless you’ve been locked in a dark room for the last year, or you’re a baby and can’t yet understand current events, we’re electing a president of the United States soon. And as the campaign season reaches its final six months (yes, there are still six months of this to go), you’ve probably picked up on the fact that image means a lot. Is a candidate presidential? Is she approachable? Can a candidate pull off wearing space-age wrapping paper?

CBC.ca

CBC.ca

These questions and more are asked this week on SCHITT’S CREEK.

“Milk Money” kicks off the town council election, pitting Jocelyn’s gee-golly half-Palin folksiness against Moira’s snippy and spotlight hungry half-Clinton entitlement. It’s delicious.

Smartly, Michael Short’s script focuses Jocelyn and Moira solely on this image issue, and it’s a simple progression: Moira wears a gaudy gold outfit; Jocelyn teases her but quietly worries she needs to raise her game; Jocelyn involves David in finding her the right ensemble; Moira sees through the immediate image fix and implicates David in helping the opposition.

Then she asks David to get her a knife.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I think you’ll find one lodged in the middle of my back. And when you pull it out of my back, you can plunge it into my heart. … Plunge it into my heart.”

Classic mom. Catherine O’Hara was on fire.

Also this week we had the Jazzagals getting drunk on free vodka, and a candidates’ breakfast with homemade cupcakes. It’s great small town stuff.

More philosophically, we’re seeing Jocelyn begin to feel pressure about her status in town. She’s demonstrated in small slices that she probably thinks she’s too cultured for the residents of Schitt’s Creek, but she’s stuck there, for obvious reasons.

“What you’re wearing is something that people around here aren’t really used to or comfortable with,” she tells Moira about the gold outfit. The remark comes just one minute after Moira enters the room. On one hand Jocelyn is attempting to speak for the townspeople; on another hand, she’s purely afraid of this flashy outsider making a splash on her turf. And if Jocelyn isn’t the alpha female in Schitt’s Creek, what’s the point, really?

So Jocelyn is worried, leading her to play dress-up with David knowing he’s easy to nudge. It’s cold, calculating and fueled by fear. And again, it’s delicious.

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Meanwhile, we’re still unfortunately in hit-or-miss territory with Johnny and his quick get-rich schemes, though this one week’s feels more like a hit.

Johnny’s flabbergasted that Bob pays $7 for a 12 ounces of raw milk and decides to try his hand at selling the stuff himself. It’s illegal, however, which means working backchannels. Good thing Alexis knows a thing or two about backchannels.

We have a great setup here – jittery Johnny and unpredictable Alexis working together in the illegal raw milk game. It starts strong, too, as Alexis misunderstands Johnny’s order and gets him 12 huge jugs of raw milk (not 12 pints). It leads to this fantastic exchange:

“This costs $300?”

“Yeah well like three-ish … okay well $394.40, so I guess kind of closer to $400.”

“Alexis, what am I gonna do with $400 worth of raw milk?!”

“Sell it!”

“To whom?”

“To your customers!”

“I don’t have any customers!”

“Well then why would you order so much milk?”

“I didn’t! You did!”

Annie Murphy plays this whole scene perfectly, allowing Eugene Levy to play “boiling frustration,” which may just be his natural state.

Then they add Roland to the mix to drive the milk to a farm but get caught at a police checkpoint. While it allows for more wonderful Alexis moments – she was apparently alone at age 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa – the checkpoint is a big deus ex machina. In the end Roland proves an utterly useless milk carrier and, ultimately, lends nothing to the scene.

At least we have Peak Alexis this week, as Johnny-Alexis stories have pretty high comedy potential.

And we do get something else out of the thread: Alexis happens to run into old boyfriend Ted, tanned, toned and cruising on a motorcycle. Seeing Ted that attractive, and seemingly doing well for himself, bothers Alexis, though she does call him to get that raw milk for Johnny. Ted’s a more appropriate device, a reminder to Alexis (and a perfect counter to Moira and Jocelyn) that image is great, but self worth is everything.

TB-TV-Grade-A-

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is a writer who grew up on “The Golden Girls” and “Seinfeld,” and writes regularly about entertainment, arts and lifestyles for a number of publications. Talk TV with him over Twitter.

Twitter: @timothymalcolm
www.tsmalcolm.com

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