'Why Schitt's Creek Deserved All Those Emmys' by someone who hated the show at first

My husband and I had just finished watching "The Office" for the third time through and were looking for a new show to watch before bed. I'd seen a couple of friends highly recommend "Schitt's Creek," so we decided to give it a try.

My initial reaction to the first episode was meh. The characters were annoying and the premise was weird (pretentious and previously-filthy-rich family lives in a scuzzy motel in the middle of nowhere??). I felt nothing for the main characters, and I hate shows with horrible main characters that I can't root for. Even predicting that they were going to eventually be transformed by their small town experiences, I didn't see liking them. It didn't grab either of us as worth continuing, so we stopped.

But then I kept hearing people whose taste I trust implicitly talk about how great it was. I know different people have different tastes, but I realized I had to be missing something if these friends of mine raved on and on about it. So we gave it another shot.

It took a bit—I don't know how many episodes exactly, but a bit—to start liking it. Then a bit longer to start really liking it, and then at some point, it became a full-fledged, gushy, where-have-you-been-all-my-life love affair.

So when the show took home nine Emmy awards over the weekend—breaking the record for the most wins in a season for a comedy—I wasn't surprised. Here's why:


The character development—but not in the way I expected

This part seems predictable just based on the premise, right? The characters are self-centered and snooty in the beginning, but they're going to be changed by their experiences in this small, quirky town, blah blah blah. And they are. That happens. But what I found surprising about the character development in the show is how much they didn't change. The town and the people they got to know certainly had an affect on them, and vice versa, but the changes in the characters felt more like a slow revealing of the different dimensions of their personalities rather than an actual change in who they were. We got to see the characters bloom into themselves as opposed to change from one thing to another, which is honestly the best kind of character development.

I was also surprised to find that some of the things I found annoying in the beginning became endearing. The Roses didn't give up the frivolous complaints, the bizarro accents, or the distinct fashion sense that they started with, and those things became lovable quirks, endemic to their characters. So while transformation was predictable, it didn't play out quite the way I expected, and I found myself oddly happy that it didn't.

The wide range of relationships

Along with the individual characters, the relationships between the characters also bloom into themselves. John and Moira's marriage is steady and solid throughout, and it's sweet to see their consistent and genuine support of one another. Alexis's relationships fluctuate between sexy and sickeningly cute, and we get to see her grow and mature through them.

David and Stevie's friendship is hilarious—to see these two sardonic souls find one another in the unlikely setting of a cheap motel and navigating that "are we or aren't we" question until they figured it out is just plain old good TV.

But David and Patrick's relationship is where Schitt's Creek really shines. Though seeing homosexual relationships on television isn't really novel anymore, I don't recall ever seeing the entire arc of one, from meeting to marriage, in a TV series. And the way they made it a classic rom-com romance, with a sort of sweetness and purity to it, was something new and fresh. They're genuinely adorable.

And then there were the Roses as a unit. It feels like they became a true family in Schitt's Creek before ultimately going their separate ways because they were ready to. I really did find myself rooting for all of them.

The humor and the GIFs

Honestly, I wasn't sure about the humor at the beginning of this show. Much like "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation," "Schitt's Creek" is a character-driven comedy, so the laughs take a while to develop. Once they do, though, it's sheer delight. When my husband and I started quoting lines from the show, from Moira's "Alexis can't have a be-be" to Alexis's "Ew, David," all the time, we knew we'd found a winner.

And the GIFs. There is a "Schitt's Creek" GIF for every occasion, which in the age of social media is pretty much the hallmark of a good comedy. Eugene Levy is always funny, but Dan Levy (his son in real life as well as on the show) is simply genius in this role. His facial expressions, body language, inflections—he's so dang hilarious. Catherine O'Hara is so over the top as Moira that it somehow works, and Annie Murphy rounds the family out with her own brand of physical comedy and iconic voice work.

And this...

It's hard to describe how lovely and enjoyable this show is without making it seem boring or unrealistic or silly or simple. And maybe it's some of those things, and maybe that's okay. More than that, though, this show created a story that didn't rely on so many of the problematic tropes that show up in practically every show, whether it's a comedy or drama. This tweet by Sarach McGonagall said it perfectly.

"Schitt's Creek made a point to make viewers feel safe by showcasing women without harassment, queer love without trauma, sexual fluidity without shame, economic disparity without mockery, and creativity without limitation. What they built is just so special. They deserve it all."

It's just so good. So much better than the first few episodes would indicate. If you watched an episode or three and it didn't take, I highly recommend sticking it out. It's well worth it, and totally deserving of the Emmy Awards sweep.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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