On Wednesday, Schitt’s Creek co-creator and star Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek, Admission) tweeted his disapproval of Comedy Central India’s censored means of promoting an episode in the show’s fifth season. Drama ensues after Levy’s character, David, receives a spin-the-bottle kiss from Ted, played by Dustin Milligan (Schitt’s Creek, Dirk Gently’s Wholistic Detective Agency), in the season five episode entitled “Homecoming”. However, the inciting incident is nowhere to be seen in Comedy Central India’s 2019 clip promoting the episode.
You showed the kiss between two women, you showed the kiss between a woman and a man, then removed the kiss between two men? This is a show about the power of inclusivity. The censorship of gay intimacy is making a harmful statement against that message. #loveislove https://t.co/3ouNbuetq1
— dan levy (@danjlevy) October 6, 2020
In his tweet, Levy points out the apparent double-standard in Comedy Central India’s re-edit of the scene. Levy and Milligan aren’t the only same-sex couple to share a kiss within the confines of this short clip, as Alexis and Stevie find themselves thrown together by the whims of the bottle as well. However, the kiss between the female characters, played by Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek, The Plateaus) and Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek, 12 Monkeys), is not removed from the promotion nor is the heterosexual kiss featured in the clip.
Levy tweets that this blatant act of censorship undermines “the power of inclusivity” that is so integral the narrative of Schitt’s Creek. The Canadian comedy series, following the misadventures of the once-wealthy Rose family, has often been praised for its representation of LQBTQIA+ characters, winning the GLAAD award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2020. “The censorship of gay intimacy is making a harmful statement” Levy’s tweet points out how this exclusion morphs the show’s positive messages.
Indian television is notorious for its censorship, particularly of Western movies and television series. CNN points out that, in India, “shows are frequently edited for nudity or scenes of a sexual nature.” Additionally, homosexuality was only decriminalized in India very recently, in 2018. However, the spin-the-bottle scene in “Homecoming” includes no nudity or sex and features an uncensored same-sex kiss between Murphy and Hampshire. In fact, the only kiss cut from the scene is the one that is most integral to the plotline that follows. The double-standard, inconsistency and disruption of storytelling in terms of both plot and overall theme is more than enough reason for the Emmy-winning writer and actor to find himself disgruntled with the network.
When fans backed Levy’s points on the subject, the actor had to issue a follow-up tweet that clarified his complaints of censorship were only directed at Comedy Central’s Indian affiliate station, as some fans began directing their disappointment and outrage toward the U.S. station. Schitt’s Creek originally aired on PopTV before syndication deals took it to networks like Comedy Central in the United States, who Levy says has “been lovely and respectful” (Twitter). Comedy Central responded to Levy’s clarifying tweet with an uncensored gif of David and Ted’s “Homecoming” kiss.
— comedycentral (@ComedyCentral) October 6, 2020
While the United States station shared their support, Levy’s comments on censorship have yet to be addressed by the Indian branch of Comedy Central. However, while just discovered by Levy, the promotion in question originally ran in March of 2019.