The ‘Schitt’s Creek’ episode Dan Levy called “the most challenging”
(Credit: ABC)


The 'Schitt's Creek' episode Dan Levy called "the most challenging"

Created by Eugene Levy and his son Dan Levy Schitt’s Creek has captured the hearts of viewers worldwide with its kooky, formerly-rich characters and heartwarming storylines. “Ew, David” and Moira’s many wigs are part of pop culture lexicon, not to be forgotten any time soon.

Despite ending three years ago, the show is popular enough that fans want a movie. “Six seasons and a movie,” is the ideal combo as per Community’s resident pop culture nerd, Abed Nadir. However, amidst all the humour and warmth, there was one particular episode that proved to be the most challenging for Dan Levy.

In a 2019 interview with GQ, Levy opened up about his concerns regarding how audiences would react to the portrayal of a gay relationship on the show. His character, David Rose, embarks on a romance with his business partner, Patrick. Despite the potential for backlash, Levy was determined not to shy away from depicting their relationship authentically.

“I wanted them to kiss every time they saw each other. As couples do,” Levy explained. “I didn’t want to tiptoe around the physicality, out of any kind of fear that someone, somewhere in America wouldn’t like it.” His bold stance was clear: if you don’t like it, feel free to “change the channel.”

He did expect a negative reaction but went full-steam ahead with David and Patrick’s PDA-filled romance, which “was an active choice.” Levy said, “I was expecting a lot more pushback to the physicality.”

Levy sharply noted, “At this point, you have 900million television shows on the air. If this is not for you, change the channel.”

Remarkably, despite his concerns, Levy was pleasantly surprised by the response. He acknowledged that there had been a few bigoted social media comments, which he had not actively sought out but had occasionally come across while scrolling through his feed.

What made this episode particularly “challenging” for Dan Levy, who also wrote an episode to annoy his dad, was the need to address Patrick’s backstory, specifically the fact that he had not come out to his parents. Levy believed that introducing this conflict was essential to add depth to the characters and create tension in the storyline.

Levy admitted, “I knew the whole time that [Patrick] was not out to his parents and that that was going to be his big secret.” He wanted this to be the big tension for Patrick’s otherwise stable characterisation. “Not that harbouring the secret of your sexual identity or orientation is wrong—but in terms of creating a tension in the show, there had to be something [about him] that wasn’t perfect.”

“It was, I think, the most challenging episode I’ve written in the entirety of the series,” admitted Levy. The episode delved into a storyline familiar to many—a character coming out of the proverbial queer closet to their parents. However, Levy added a unique twist by focusing on the parents’ reflection of their own parenting. Instead of being shocked that Patrick is not straight, their concern became that they hadn’t created a comfortable space for their son to express himself freely.

Levy’s decision to explore this angle was a refreshing departure from the conventional narrative of parents grappling with the idea of having a queer child. In doing so, Levy managed to infuse the episode with a sense of authenticity and emotional depth that resonated with fans. It became a testament to the progress society has made in accepting LGBTQ+ relationships and the importance of fostering understanding and support within families.

“Maybe it’s time,” Levy remarked at the positive reactions and what it meant for the legacy he was following. “Maybe we’ve come to a place where we’ve moved past that. There have been so many … storytellers who have paved the way for me to be able to tell the stories that I’m telling.”