IF you are wondering why Schitt’s Creek swept the Emmy Awards this past week, let me let you in on the secret and not so secret success of this show. Let me begin by saying, 6 seasons was perfect. I could extol the virtues of the entire cast and the creators, but I want to discuss something else.
I find myself drawn to shows where characters love and support each other. Brooklyn 99 and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist are two others where kindness prevails. I want kindness in my life especially now with such strife and anguish and the mourning of the entire world.
Back to Schitt’s Creek
I love how this family changes and grows over the course of 6 seasons. If you simply look at the promo pics you might assume this is a tale far different from the one that is told. While the cheap way out would have been to keep people surface and spoiled, that is not what happens here. They learn about life and love and respect and through it all they manage to only grow closer. They learn an appreciation and love for the small town they live in and the friends they have made there.
In the final episode Alexis says to her mom that she is grateful they lost all their money because they got closer and got time together they wouldn’t have had otherwise. (Cue the weeping mom here who has relished every second of the past six quarantine months). Like Moira I would have willingly given up something to make this better–she would like to have not lost all the money and I would have really liked to have skipped the whole pandemic you’ve got covid part. But without the illness my daughters would not have spent 4 months, as adults, living together ,and enjoying each other, and developing a true friendship. That would have been a huge loss. For me and my husband the joy of having the family all together at this point was incredible.
With every given there is a gift is a theme I have written on before.
Again back to Schitt’s Creek.
I love that this show has a gay character at the forefront who is simply gay. The show isn’t about his self acceptance , coming to terms with his sexuality, or his family’s acceptance. His sexuality is simply a fact of life. Everyone is accepting, no one is prejudiced. This is a world to strive for. Thank you Dan Levy for keeping this show elegant, honest, and loving. My heart aches for those with less accepting families, and I have known quite a few. When you raise kids these days your heart breaks for their friends who don’t feel free enough in their own houses or fear broaching the subject of the truth about themselves. All are welcome in my house.
I am thrilled that this kind show about human beings doing their best, and open ended acceptance of everyone’s eccentricities ,was honored so highly this past weekend. And if you haven’t watched it take my advice…Watch at least 3 episodes before you pass judgement. The first episode is about their world falling apart and it takes a minute for you to realize how special and atypical the writers were in allowing the characters freedom to grow.
And now to writing…
If you have been at any writers conferences in the past few years there is much said about inclusion, own voices, and POC authors. Everyone who isn’t white and heterosexual is looking to find themselves in literature and film. People of color who create are looking for the opportunity to speak to their audience. For me, as a white, female, heterosexual writer I wonder how to make my book worlds representative of the real world. Can I tell the stories of people of color or people struggling with their sexuality? Those are not my stories to tell. But if I want to include a real depiction of the world how do I include them?
A frustrating and confusing question.
How do I create them honestly?
At the moment I have a character who has a disability in one of my stories and while this may change in future drafts it began this way and I did a lot of research. One of the things I have promised myself so far is to keep this character, and ask for help from the community to make sure I have presented him well.
I don’t have an easy answer for you. I know I have much to learn and much to discover. I also know I need to ask for help. One WIP is an 18th century story so that is something I must get right. There will be slaves in that one as that was common in that time…How do I depict those times honestly and with compassion and empathy for the modern day reader? I have dedicated many months to research into the time period and the types of people I am writing about but still, I will be asking many historians to assist with that one.
As we move forward with writing join me in making an effort to write. But also make sure you research any time you are going to present a character with a different background from yourself. Please ask a friend, teacher, grad student, or someone for help in presenting those characters honestly. Use your artist compassion to move forward, and, when you get the chance, help someone else who is struggling to find their voice.