The award-winning Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek ended its six-season tenure in 2020, yet the show lives on in many hearts and minds. Created by and starring comedy legend Eugene Levy and his son Dan Levy, it follows the Rose family to a small, rural town after they’ve lost their fortune.
“Um, I do drink red wine, but I also drink white wine. And I’ve been known to sample the occasional rosé. And a couple summers back, I tried a Merlot that used to be a Chardonnay, which got a bit complicated…”—David Rose
They’re forced to discover that there’s more to life than material possessions. Though the theme has been done before, you’ll quickly become entrenched in the quirky personalities, mannerisms and quotable moments that run rampant throughout the show (ew, David).
Perhaps one of the most iconic scenes happened early in the first season, when David Rose, played by Dan Levy, explains his sexual preferences to his friend and recent tryst Stevie Budd, played by Emily Hampshire. Shopping for wine, the two chat in a not-so-coded manner to clear up Stevie’s confusion.
“Um, I do drink red wine,” says David. “But I also drink white wine. And I’ve been known to sample the occasional rosé. And a couple summers back, I tried a Merlot that used to be a Chardonnay, which got a bit complicated… I like the wine and not the label. Does that make sense?”
The power of this scene is not just due to the introduction of David as pansexual—a person who looks beyond biological sex, gender or identity when searching for love—but in the nonchalance of it all. Stevie shrugs off the exchange and moves on.
That near-apathy sets the stage for many other occasions down the line where David’s sexuality is woven into the plot as seamlessly as Moira Rose’s many wig and outfit changes.
As a gay man, I find it can be draining to constantly see myself reflected on screen in characters who are struggling as a result of their own sexuality, be it internally or wishing others could come to terms with it. What the writers of Schitt’s Creek accomplished went far beyond that. It was so simple and nuanced, yet profound, uplifting and incredibly refreshing. The fact they did all with a wine-focused metaphor only broadens the scope to a wider audience.
Notes on Scandal
Another iconic small-screen image involving wine is Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, sipping Bordeaux (from proper glassware, no less) and eating popcorn. The hard-driven fixer finds relaxation in fine wine. It’s a relatable scene, with the aspirational addition of cashmere cardigans and an enviable bottle collection.