Whether it’s pure escapism, a convenient time-waster, or a welcomed distraction, television means something different to everyone. But sometimes the narrative can resonate a little deeper and speak our truth in a way that was hard to express before and you just needed to see it play out on screen in order to exclaim, “Yes! That’s so me!”
Television also has the power to change someone’s life in such a meaningful and guttural way. Given the international attention Schitt’s Creek has had during its six-season run, we reached out to fans to find out if there was a particular episode that meant a lot to them. I was not prepared for the responses that we got.
An overwhelming number of people cited the episode titled “Meet the Parents” from season five as an episode that hit home and gave them the space to self-reflect and even take action. In the episode, Patrick (Noah Reid) comes out to his parents with the same fear to which many people have experienced and can relate.
“I know my parents are good people,” Patrick tells David, though that affirmation is not enough to soften his anxiety.
But the episode did inspire fans and viewers to re-evaluate themselves and even take the next step and come out to their families in their own way. Twitter user @farleyscactus from Scotland shared how she came out to her mother after watching the episode back in December.
Her honesty, vulnerability, and relief was felt by all including show creator and star Dan Levy.
And so I cried. Sending you so. much. love. ❤️ https://t.co/h0zTdpWQOa
— dan levy (@danjlevy) December 10, 2019
And if the response to our question was any indication, she is definitely not alone.
Twitter user Mariah found strength and encouragement when watching that episode as well. At age 28, she shared that she was still struggling with her sexuality but “Meet the Parents” gave her the push she needed to come out to her parents.
Mariah told me the first thing her parents asked was if anything had changed in her personal life, in particular her relationship with her long-term partner, which it has not.
“For me, the thing that was important was that my parents know who I really am, even if it isn’t something that outwardly impacts my day-to-day life.” Aside from that, she adds, it was a non-issue that they don’t really discuss much, “but I’m happier knowing that they know.”
And it would seem Mariah and other LGBTQ members connected effortlessly through Schitt’s Creek and became really good friends, long before Patrick took the plunge and came out to his parents.
“I think that’s because many of us feel like Schitt’s Creek has become a safe space where we felt seen and represented in ways we hadn’t experienced before,” adding, “It has been such a gift to connect with this community during what has honestly been one of the hardest times of my life, and I’m not sure what I would have done without them.”
For others, it’s seeing Patrick’s fear portrayed on screen that was enough to feel that connection and relatability.
An anonymous Twitter user responded, “‘Meet the Parents’ meant a lot to me. I’m not out to my family even though, like Patrick in the episode, I know that it would most likely be fine and they’d accept me, but it’s still scary. It’s nice to see that feeling represented on my favourite show.”
She also shared how she and other members of the fandom and the LGBTQ community bonded over the show leading a handful of them to organizing a fundraiser for Dan Levy’s birthday to support the LGBT Youth Line, which only strengthened their connection. All thanks to this little show.
“None of us were that close before, but we all became such close friends because of it.”
Twitter user @anniemurphydogs also shared that while she is “still in the closet” the episode eased her greatest fear by showing acceptance over rejection.
“One day I will come out,” she closes, “and this show has strengthened me to do so.”
She also credits Emily Hampshire‘s own journey with her sexuality as a welcomed eye-opener.
“I feel like there’s this pressure to already know yourself and your sexuality, and there’s this assumption that once you find a label that fits, then you’re settled for life. But that’s not how life works. I don’t know what kind of gay I am currently, and Emily being very open about figuring out herself and her sexuality makes me feel better about not knowing what label truly fits me.”
When asked about the LGBTQ community, @anniemurphydogs echoed Mariah and Anonymous and dozens more fans who also responded to our question: “It’s a show that makes us feel safe and seen and loved,” adding, “When there’s an absence of homophobia and bigotry, love can flourish. And I’ve certainly seen that love reflected in the community that has sprung up from the show.”
What was initially meant to be character growth within the narrative of the show has made itself a support system for many people struggling with being their true selves to those they love. While Schitt’s Creek merely started as a story about an absurdly wealthy family that suddenly find themselves with nothing except each other, it has always promoted a message of acceptance, love and tolerance, creating a safe space for fans who needed it.