Schitt’s Creek’s commentary on modern romance

The moral lessons from the critically acclaimed TV series Schitt’s Creek are an appropriate reflection on what romance means in today’s world. In many ways, it’s a step ahead of it’s time in terms of acceptance and growth.

Showing a spectrum of sexual identity

The show naturally incorporates homosexuality, pansexuality, and polyamory alongside the more traditional portrayals for heteronormativity and promiscuity. While it acknowledges historical shame (ie. Stevie embarrassed when Patrick and David find her at Jake’s pre-orgy, or David assuming Patrick’s parents might not be okay with homosexuality), the eventual message is one of acceptance for whatever and however one chooses to live their lives.

The story omits homophobic encounters, especially for a small town rooted in close-knit community, portraying a combination of rural living and almost atheistic liberalism. However, past homophobia is implied and informed. For example, David’s history of having many partners and becoming “damaged goods” are hallmarks of the modern lifestyle of gay living.

Personal aspirations over romantic love

Alexis’ personal growth is arguably the greatest character development of the series. However, we see her mature new self genuinely encouraging Ted to pursue his dream career as she stays in Schitt’s Creek to grow her own. Ted is in understanding and the both share a sweet embrace. This message reflects a shift in modern society from patriarchal dependency to individual autonomy.

Many past stories portray women as not having personal aspirations nor caring much for their partner’s aspirations (cue Disney movie examples). Instead, their concern is their male partners. Or at the least, their reward is a male partner. However, with more women in the workforce, initiating divorce, and living single, independent lives, the narrative has changed.

Life is no longer centered on finding a partner to start a family like it may have been just 1 or 2 generations ago. Instead, the emphasis is on personal dreams and growth. While others want to prove they can have a family while pursuing their dreams, the story is becoming more common that people are going solo as their aspire for their own goals.

For example, I know friends and have heard several recent Youtubers reflect on how they see love as something that makes their life better, but they should be able to be good on their own. One of them specifically said that having a partner would make it harder to focus on his own goals. This was not always the prevalent philosophy on romance.

Is this the right way to go?

The ubiquitous underscoring on prioritizing individual goals over finding romance in modern media has gone largely unchallenged. But is this good for us as a society? Is this how things ought to progress?

Or is it a way to help us feel good about our singlehood that may be a product of other changing factors (ie. economy that makes it harder to get a personal family life started, expectations on extending education, etc)?

Many would argue that love, relationships, and people are one of the most important things in life — even more than career goals. In many senses, it’s part of our instincts and nature. Perhaps Alexis would have been more fulfilled growing her love with Ted in the Galapagos. But at the same time, with the modern mind, regrets and desires to aspire for more may be ever present.

Quirky, curious, and philosophical Asian American gay Ivy League grad living in Southern California.