SCHITT’S CREEK Review: “Moira Vs. Town Council”

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Airtime: Wednesdays at 8PM on Pop
Episode: Season 2, Episode 6 (S02E06)

Tweetable Takeaway: Moira gets things done, while fine acting elevates a crucial scene between Alexis and Mutt in #SchittsCreek.


“We know each other better now. Maybe that’s the problem,” Mutt says to Alexis in the crucial diner scene toward the end of “Moira vs. Town Council,” this week’s episode of SCHITT’S CREEK.

Alexis wants to know what that means. Why is that a problem? Why, suddenly, are we arguing about communication? Shouldn’t he just learn to talk more, so that I can be in the loop, so I don’t feel like I’m losing control of myself?

She suggests to Mutt that maybe she can talk less, and maybe he can talk more. You know, even things out, come to a compromise. Mutt asks if she’s willing to make that adjustment.

Alexis nods, like it’s even a question. But she never actually answers the question.

“Well … are you?”

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There are no words. Mutt can’t speak. Maybe he’s afraid, or maybe he knows the truth, and sure he wants to say something, but he can’t. Alexis runs through a gamut of emotions – frustration, anger, heartbreak, disappointment. It’s a beautiful scene for Annie Murphy and Tim Rozon, showing Alexis and Mutt’s breakup has nothing to do with the loss of his facial hair.

Anyone who has ever wrestled with his or her truth can relate to the silence. You’ve spent years constructing a careful persona that protects the real you from the pain of the outside world. And then you meet someone who starts to scale those walls, breaking through that persona to get closer to your truth.

You fight over your persona. You scream and cry. Why do I have to change? What’s wrong with me?

And then you can’t speak. You’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, afraid of expressing your truest feelings, as you had so beautifully worked over a decade to cover them up. You can’t destroy my persona, not so quickly, not so easily.

Sometimes compromise isn’t there. Sometimes we can’t be so lucky to find the person willing to reach a middle ground. But really, as it’s painfully evident in “Moira vs. Town Council,” sometimes we just haven’t found the person willing to fight with us, to scale the walls of our persona, step by step, and reveal our true selves.

“This time it’s different,” Alexis tells David after she and Mutt break up. “I think he changed me a bit. He knows me. I let him know me.”

Alexis may still not grasp that she’s still very much a child, a spoiled socialite who turns a common cold into a near-death experience. She probably has a lot of work to go before understanding her purpose in life isn’t merely taking lavish vacations and being a beard to a well-known Hollywood actor. But her relationship with Mutt, handled well – if maybe slightly rushed – over the start of season two, proves she can endure the discovery.

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The hushed and serious Alexis and Mutt are well contrasted with another tour de force from Catherine O’Hara, whose Moira is livid over the junk-strewn streets of Schitt’s Creek. She proclaims to Johnny she’ll make sure the town is cleaned up, then lets out a priceless cackle without really ever moving her mouth. Soon she’s bursting into town hall to berate the town council about the mess, demanding flowers and trees and scaring the pants off Roland.

Her off-Broadway performance earns plaudits from Ronnie (“You’re a pain in the ass, but you get stuff done.”). Hopefully this leads Moira into more municipal matters; the idea of Catherine O’Hara being frustrated with small-town politics is simply mouthwatering.

That means Johnny and David are relegated to the C-plot this week. The former is impressed with his son’s new, independently earned employment at the Blouse Barn, while the latter is told by boss Wendy that work expenses are a write-off. That leads to David buying a bunch of things without understanding the definition of a write-off.

Daniel Levy (David) wrote this script, and one would bet he watched the Seinfeld episode “The Package” before scribbling down the dialogue, as it’s eerily close to Kramer and Jerry’s discussion about write-offs. In the end David is the buffoon, Stevie gets a small moment of schadenfreude, and Johnny turns perplexed that his son could be so dull.

Earth to Johnny, have you been watching this show?

Either way, we’re still not getting enough out of Eugene Levy, but this week he’s sacrificed for a superbly written breakup story. In what time she’s getting this season, Murphy is really earning her pay, exposing the kind of complexity one shouldn’t be able to find in a sitcom interpretation of a vapid socialite. More of this, including strong character development within the Rose family, keeps Schitt’s Creek among the best things running on television.

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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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