SCHITT’S CREEK Review: “Ronnie’s Party”

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Airtime: Wednesdays at 8PM on Pop
Episode: Season 2, Episode 10 (S02E10)

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Tweetable Takeaway: The strong #SchittsCreek has one weak character this season, and it’s blatantly obvious


There is no purpose to Johnny Rose this season on SCHITT’S CREEK. We just need to acknowledge this.

When the season started he was eagerly seeking a new business opportunity while trying to keep his family from tearing each other apart. Then he got caught up at Bob’s Garage and played foil for a couple of dipsticks (Bob and Roland).

Johnny flirted with the open town council seat until Moira expressed how much she wanted to run for office. Then he attempted to sell raw milk in possibly his funniest moment of the season. That ended up going sour.

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Now he’s playing the Good Husband, standing beside Moira in “Ronnie’s Party” as she attempts to woo a gaggle of Schitt’s Creek’s female business leaders. And while Moira’s able to find the sweet spot and position herself with the group, Johnny’s suddenly acting like a dope who can’t take a hint.

What the heck happened to Johnny Rose?

Writers this season have tried writing Johnny as a fool, going aggressively against the relatively level-headed straight man trying to wrangle in the chaos. His funniest moment, in which he wrestles with Alexis about the amount of milk he ordered, shows a character completely frustrated by the ignorance and stupidity surrounding him. This week, suddenly, Johnny’s the ignorant and stupid one, though one has to laugh at “Did I leave out a letter?” when mentioning the LGBTQ community.

Anyway, it’s baffling. Eugene Levy continues to play Johnny with the right amount of exhaustion, but he’s working hard with little movement. He’s the sacrificial lamb. While everyone around him is growing in spades this season, Johnny’s the regression candidate. It’s a real pity.

“Ronnie’s Party” again allows Annie Murphy ample time to shine. Alexis begins working as Ted’s assistant, and quickly she’s trying to Alexisize things (turning her scrub pants into tiny shorts, chatting about love with an elderly cat woman). When the elderly cat woman loses her cat, Alexis says the right things to help her mourn. While she may need work filing paperwork, Alexis has a knack for care.

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It’s been an impressive season for Alexis, and for Murphy, who in one scene connects with the cat lady on a personal level, and in her next scene sprays a table as if she’s changing a filthy diaper. Really fun to watch her at every opportunity.

David, meanwhile, has taken more of a backseat lately, now entrenched at the Blouse Barn (and with each week seemingly changing the place into his vision). He has to watch Wendy’s step-daughter and then deal with the girl’s first period. Though he handles it with relatively decent aplomb (he’s giving up his luxury to help someone), it could’ve used one more beat. Maybe writing Stevie into the scene somehow (she even wanted to come by and watch David play babysitter) could’ve worked. Either way David is maturing in small steps, and hopefully the writers are setting something up with Wendy’s growing financial issues.

Then there’s Moira, who gets the opportunity to sell her candidacy to the women’s business community and succeeds, simply by speaking from her heart and not some prepared notes (to presumed lesbians). This whole thing suffers in the three-story structure, as we jump into the lesbian presumption fairly quickly without much setup.

Plus it feels as if other, better jokes were discarded; certainly the fact that Ronnie is about the only black person we’ve seen in Schitt’s Creek could’ve made for interesting exploration. Instead we get a lost-in-translation assumption that gives us a funny enough pro-gay monologue (thanks Catherine O’Hara wearing a blazing-orange Annie wig) but ultimately falls short of real payoff.

You can chalk this week’s political yarn du jour up to a few small missteps. Otherwise we’re still in solid territory – enticingly close to C territory this week, but the character development saves things. Well, then there’s Johnny. Poor, poor Johnny.

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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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