On Friday Dan Levy, the co-creator, showrunner, and star of Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the show’s recent success and upcoming conclusion.
Although Schitt’s Creek is going on its sixth and final season, it has only recently gained widespread attention following the announcement of the 2019 Primetime Emmy nominations. Despite Pop TV’s relatively obscure status as a television network, Schitt’s Creek accrued three Emmy nominations for the upcoming award season. The Canadian comedy follows a family that has fallen from wealth and is forced to move to Schitt’s Creek when faced with bankruptcy. Dan Levy, 35, created the show with his father, Eugene Levy.
Levy addressed his feelings about Schitt’s Creek’s unexpected Emmy attention. “Usually, TV shows start big and then, if you’re lucky, you hold your audience,” he said. “The fact that we have experienced the reverse of that, starting out very small and then gradually building a fan base season after season, it defies logic a little bit. At the end of the day, because we have always been a fringe show, it’s really allowed us the freedom to have fun and focus on the character development. Looking back on it all, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I think it’s what led us here.”
Despite the show’s recent acclaim, Levy is not reconsidering his decision to end the show after its sixth season for the time being. With that being said, the actor is open to revisiting the Rose family down the line. “It’s a very strange thing,” he started. “I truly believe we made the right choice in ending the show after season six, having just shot all of it. I don’t think I’ll ever close the door on the show. For now, this felt like the right time to say goodbye to this family. Whether we revisit them down the line, if there’s a story that feels necessary, of course I would think about a movie or a holiday special or something. But season six felt like a great time to end on a high note with our fans and to give them exactly what they wanted without overstaying our welcome. When the dust settles, maybe there’ll be an idea that creeps into my head. I know that everyone is more than willing to come back.”
Throughout its five seasons, Schitt’s Creek has blended comedy with admittedly trying subject matters and themes. According to Levy, the show could only do this successfully because of its characters. “If your characters are grounded in something real, you can push them comedically to these different limits,” he explained. “You can introduce wigs. You can make the jokes. You can write the eccentricities of all these characters if they’re grounded in something truthful. We’ve always looked at the show as a drama that happens to have colorful characters and funny circumstances — but never forgetting that there is a heartbeat to the show. At the end of the day, as funny as it is, it’s really a show about acceptance and love. That philosophy has allowed us to walk that tightrope of comedy and drama and not have either of the two feel too heavy.”
Of the more sensitive subjects that Schitt’s Creek tackled was sexuality. Levy’s character, David Rose, rarely discusses his sexual identity and the comedy never shows any sort of struggle––i.e. homophobia or bigotry––relating to it. As discussed in the interview, this was intentional. “The town of Schitt’s Creek is essentially a projection of a world that I would want to live in and a world that, I think, shows that loving one another is the most important thing you can do and leads to a happier life for everyone. It was a conscious choice to not show the other side on our show, to not show the sort of negative effects, the homophobia, the bigotry. I think in a way, it’s that positivity that has really made people feel safe when they come to watch the show. It’s a pleasant half-hour of TV where you don’t have to worry about some of the really heavier sides of life,” he said.
On the topic of David’s sexuality, Levy explained his favorite day on set across all five seasons. The day in question was during the filming of an episode where David’s boyfriend tries to come out to his parents during a disastrous surprise party. Levy reflected on the episode, explaining why it was a source of such pride for him. “I wrote an episode where my boyfriend on the show comes out to his parents through a surprise party gone wrong,” he described the premise. “I was really proud of the episode. I was proud of the performances. I was proud of the message that we were trying to put out there. We touched on something that was real for a lot of people.”
Levy ended the story with this: “To me, that’s a testament to the strength of our team, where you can execute something as heavy as a character coming out to their parents and still not lose the humor and the love of the show. As a gay person in TV, the opportunity to tell those stories is really meaningful for me.”
Schitt’s Creek is available for streaming on Netflix. Season six will air on Pop TV in 2020.