Airtime: Wednesdays at 8PM on Pop
Episode: Season 2, Episode 9 (S02E09)
Tweetable Takeaway: The kids are a little more alright than the absurd Rose parents in this week’s #SchittsCreek
It’s safe to say that the children in the Rose family are better adjusted than the parents.
That’s a relative statement, though, since the older David likes keeping a safe distance from anything resembling emotion, and the younger Alexis has the awareness of a garden worm. But compared to parents Moira and Johnny, the kids of SCHITT’S CREEK are in much better position to get out of the mud.
Even if the mud never leads them to a river of riches.
Case in point: Moira is sad that her children can’t see her nude photos on the internet. That’s the plot of “Moira’s Nudes,” an episode that primarily isolates the Roses to deal with their own whacked emotions. Moira might be the most whacked of all.
It makes sense. She’s a knockout from a long-ago past where video stores could earn millions and people paid to watch an Andrew Lloyd Webber roller skating musical. Fate hasn’t been kind to her, pushing her from luxury and comfort into a mid-life spiral where she’s constantly worrying about legacy.
That’s why she got into the town council race. Moira realized that Johnny had made millions, that David was sustaining himself and that Alexis was attempting to figure herself out. Running for council is more about her personal mark, however vain, than it is about Schitt’s Creek. After Jocelyn alludes to “compromising photos” of Moira, the Rose family matriarch not once worries about the disastrous impact of nude photos being seen by little kids or local families. Instead she worries that the photos aren’t there at all. What of her past? Is there anything left? Is anything not sacred?
It’s all about her, just as it should be, and it’s just as sad as it sounds.
To achieve Moira’s anger and frustration, aligned with her highly skewed views of what’s morally acceptable, and underpinned with that sadness, Catherine O’Hara hits the right notes this week. She never escapes to caricature, even when she literally suggests to a hesitant Stevie that she take 1,000 naked pictures of herself so she can’t lose the feeling – like Moira has – of seeing her younger bare self years down the line.
“Make sure you submit those photos to the internet,” she very seriously tells Stevie, “otherwise your own children will go looking for them and one day, tragically, they won’t be there.”
Not that her children were openly looking; Moira forces David to search for the incriminating photos, which … there’s proof … she’s whacked.
Johnny isn’t far behind, though. Writers have been shy this season to make Johnny a tragic figure, but this week finds our patriarch stretching for help, and only as it benefits him. Confronted with a nearly $600 diner tab he can’t pay, Johnny first confides in Alexis, who does a wonderful, daughterly thing by swallowing her pride and taking a receptionist job at Ted’s veterinary clinic. Not that she’s qualified for it (she doesn’t even bother asking what a spreadsheet is), but the gesture is important. Alexis is trying to think more about others (she of course tells David this) and, in small doses, it’s working.
But that’s not quite enough for Johnny. He finally spills the debt onto David, the working man of the family, and son gives father the money necessary to pay the diner tab. After a humorous but throwaway debit card gag – a good way to let Eugene Levy play straight this week – David gets the money to Johnny. All is good.
And then, as Schitt’s Creek has been doing frequently, there’s a moment of real heart. Alexis gives Johnny a card (a well-played, character-perfect “deepest condolences” card) to show support. It’s really sweet.
Then Johnny looks into the envelope. He really just wanted money.
Alexis really does deserve better, as does David, our tragic figures still searching for paddles out of Schitt’s Creek.
Timothy Malcolm 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.
Timothy Malcolm | Contributor