It’s about time the holidays got a little Schittier, isn’t it? Schitt’s Creek is the perfect show for a holiday special. Taking up the mantle from comedies like Parks and Recreation, it’s silly and smart and full of heart. (Yes, I know that rhymes, but when else can a woman speak in verse if not these days of Yule?) It’s a show that will make you belly laugh and get misty-eyed all at once, taking you on a glorious emotional rollercoaster that will have you wondering if maybe you accidentally took some of Moira’s Christmas pills. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Feeling warm and fuzzy inside for reasons not wholly discernible? The answer is yes, yes, one thousand times yes. And so it is with pleasure that I welcome you to “A Schitt’s Creek Christmas.”
Schitt’s Creek isn’t only a great show for a holiday special because its tone ensures this Very Special Episode is never overly saccharine, but because a love for the festive season is built into the show’s mythology. (That’s right, Schitt’s Creek has a mythology.) We’ve known for some time that before the Great Fall of the Roses, Johnny and Moira threw lavish holiday parties in their mansion. Parties that included the great tradition that you can never unsee: Moira and David doing “The Number.” Well, this year, we get our first glimpse at what those parties looked like — the mother-son caroling duo were accompanied by Paul Shaffer on piano — and learn that the infamous soirees included something called “The Reindeer Room.” (Show us this room next year, please and thank you.)
The flashback to “the good ol’ days” is short-lived, as Johnny wakes up to find himself in the Rosebud Motel on Christmas Eve. The trip down memory lane gives him an idea: He wants to bring the Rose Holiday Party to Schitt’s Creek. His enthusiasm is adorable, but alas, it is not contagious.
None of the other Roses see the point in celebrating the holidays in their adjoining motel rooms, yet still, Johnny presses on. He asks Alexis to “handle” the guest list, even though she doesn’t think anyone will want to spend Christmas Eve “caroling in front of mom’s wig wall.” Plus she’s supposed to go to a cookie competition with Ted’s “cool, scary, judgy” friends who, she has just discovered, hate her. Er, I’m sorry, they don’t hate her, they just all agreed to give her one last chance. It doesn’t matter much anyway, since Alexis and Johnny have very different definitions of “handling the guest list” and no one gets invited.
So, there are no guests nor are there any decorations — a job Johnny handed over to his son. It’s true, David has an entire store full of holiday décor, but he’s not about to just hand over good merchandise when he’s saving up to buy an espresso machine for Rose Apothecary’s … break room. He also takes umbrage with the fact that his father is Jewish (David describes himself as “a delightful half-half situation”) and therefore has no authority over this holiday. Instead, he has Stevie dig up the motel’s decorations, which end up being a small box mostly just full of Mardi Gras beads and trash.
Cool, cool, cool. So there’s no guests, no decorations — there must be a tree right? Oh, you guys, there is definitely a tree. Johnny and Moira pay an exorbitant amount for a dinky little tree — Ray Butani, town tree salesman is all about riding that supply-and-demand high — which Moira only agrees to because she’s trying to be supportive of her husband’s Christmas wish. The price of the tree is worth it if only for the greatest “tree reveal” in the history of “tree reveals” — which is a thing we’re just making up now. As Johnny grows more infuriated with his family’s lack of holiday spirit, they try to appease him by having him cut the strings off the tree to see it in all its glory. Johnny cuts it and most of the branches just fall off. It’s the most delightfully tragic thing my eyes have ever seen.
The tree is the last straw. Johnny gives up on his idea of bringing Christmas to Schitt’s Creek. “Why start making an effort now?” he yells at his family before taking off to eat yesterday’s meatloaf at the café. Is that the saddest sentence you’ve ever read? Good — now you feel just as bad as the rest of the Rose family.
When Moira comes to find her husband, he explains what this whole thing really was about: Even at their big Christmas parties from their past life, Johnny would end the night alone in front of the tree. He feels like they are finally becoming a real family and he wanted to celebrate that. Johnny is the biggest softy of them all!
But not all hope is lost! Moira walks Johnny back to the motel and — surprise! — they’ve thrown him the Christmas party of his dreams. Full of friends, Rose Apothecary-approved decorations, and yes, a super-glued Christmas tree. And once the Jazzagals start their rendition of “Silent Night,” we are all Stevie Budd holding back tears and swearing that “nothing’s happening.” All the chaos and hijinks led to a lovely, weird, perfectly imperfect party. It’s exactly how Christmas should be on Schitt’s Creek — a show that can be heartfelt while also taking a selfie.
• I’m still howling over the Rose family gift exchange, for which Johnny went to a rummage sale and no one really understands what their gift actually is: David loves money, so he gets 1,000 yen; Alexis gets “stickers of old men,” also known as stamps; and when Moira sees the antique tin Johnny thought she could use as a holder for her wig pins (so thoughtful!), she confidently guesses that it’s a bomb. This entire scene is the greatest Christmas gift of all.
• Just over here living for Ted wearing a festive apron and making awful dad jokes.
• Are you even Christmas tree shopping if you’re not wearing Moira’s giant fur hat and reminiscing about the 22-foot Norwegian pine you had brought into your home on a flatbed truck to the sound of angry protestors outside your front gate? That’s not a rhetorical question — the answer is no.
• So we’re definitely going to get a GIF of Moira’s disgust when she realizes Johnny’s milkshake has no booze in it, right? #ChristmasDreams.
• “Instead of ‘cookies’ it was ‘whatever we could find in our parents medicine cabinets’ and instead of a ‘Christmas party’ it was an ‘old boot factory in Krakow’.”
• No, but really, who does have time to mood board a color scheme?