Schitt's Creek: Ronnie and Jocelyn Prove the Show Was Always About Change - VRGyani News and Media

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Schitt's Creek: Ronnie and Jocelyn Prove the Show Was Always About Change

Schitt’s Creek’s millennial socialite Alexis Rose (Annie Murphy) and Moira Rose (Catherine O’Hara), her mother and an aging soap opera star, are stubborn fish-out-of-water when they arrive in rural, down-to-earth Schitt’s Creek. They are accustomed to traveling, haute couture, and elite social events. Along with Alexis’ older brother, David Rose (Dan Levy), and the family’s patriarch, Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy), a retired successful entrepreneur, they are used to engaging superficially with each other and forming surface relationships with others in their wealth circle. The family goes bankrupt, so they move to Schitt’s Creek, living rent-free in a motel and hell bent on selling the town, which Johnny bought as a joke for David, and leaving as soon as they can.

The Roses find out that Schitt’s Creek is an intimate, social geoscape where everyone knows each other and goodwill is its moniker. Sure, there are rifts - Bob Currie (John Hemphill) and Gwen Currie (Marilyn Bellfontaine) are splitting up, for example - they are human - but the town’s values, evidenced in how its residents conduct business and socially relate, are centered in community, adaptive to the needs of the collective and uplifting each other as neighbors.

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Schitt’s Creek often feels like a big friend group while the Roses are experts in thinking only about themselves. It is uncomfortable, though funny, to hear Moira casually insult the town - Shoot me, she tells Jocelyn, if Jocelyn ever finds her at the nearby Blouse Barn - and watch Alexis audition disastrously for the local production of Cabaret, played even cringier because of her assumption that she will get a starring role based in her resume. That resume includes an album and a related reality show, but these experiences happen because of her family’s connections. Not only is her talent lacking (though, “A Little Bit Alexis” is iconic), but her audition reveals the dissonance that exists between money buying experience and Alexis’s agency in creating her opportunities.

Jocelyn Schitt (Jennifer Robertson) is the leader of the Schitt’s Creek’s local acapella group, the Jazzagals, a mother, and the wife of the town’s mayor, Roland Schitt (Christopher Elliott). Her public shows of wifely passion are an excellent example of her character's assuredness, foiled by how off-putting (repulsive wouldn’t be a stretch) the Roses find Roland. Jocelyn comments to Moira, by way of hilarious circumstances where Moira sleeps in the same bed as him, that she is “powerless” around a “naked Roland Schitt.” Jocelyn values commitment but also knows when to let go. She is becoming petty and competitive, she tells Moira, in her run for city council, so she drops out, giving Moira the seat. In early season one, teaming up with Johnny to ease some of Moira’s petulant misery, Jocelyn tells Moira how it is: she may be in Schitt’s Creek for awhile and, one day, she may need to reach out, to rely on others, even, to buy a blouse at that Blouse Barn. In seriousness, Jocelyn’s bottom line - her life lesson - is that tying your hands behind your back instead of moving forward is stultifying.

Ronnie Lee (Karen Robinson) is the baritone of the Jazzagals, the only woman on city council until Moira joins, and a small business owner. While Ronnie’s business is not entirely clear (importing fancy tiles and designing interiors, for sure) she gets things done. She knows how to schmooze, aka take Roland to the creative and homey Cafe Tropical to ask for a favor. Her deadpan is hilarious and insightful, and then, addicting, really, for those insights - “This isn’t say yes to the dress, princess,” when Alexis refuses a construction vest for community service. Ronnie gathers her associates to hear Moira’s pitch for city council and also votes against her on a project once they are serving together, showing she believes in Moira, yet follows her own instinct. Ronnie’s personality is a litmus test for the reality of things, and for people in their things. She is gay, which is suggested - we see her with a woman who could be a partner and leave a bar with another woman a different time - showing us again that our identities don’t need to be spelled out. We can also just exist.

Jocelyn and Ronnie make their lives big in a small town. They know that what fills up life is what you put in, and who you are while you are doing the putting. I am often awed at watching their self-awareness, acceptance of themselves and others, and self-love coincide in a rainbow of ease, exactitude, and curiosity as they chart their own lives and get personal with others.

Over the course of six seasons, Alexis and Moiras’ metamorphoses move forward in major ways. At the series opening, Alexis’s boyfriend is going to “rescue her” (by private plane) but then decides to go to a party instead. By the series end, Alexis has been in her first real love relationship, with Ted Mullens (Dustin Milligan). They meet in Schitt’s Creek, and she ends the relationship to pursue her career goals in experiential and social marketing. Moira is back at work on a soap reboot that meets all her salary demands, thanks to Alexis’ coaching. Moira has learned that it takes a village to find your calling, even late in life. In the Jazzagals, she has arguably made her first real adult friends.

Jocelyn and Ronnie’s strength challenges Alexis and Moira, and the audience, to discover and be yourself regardless of what opposing social structure says. Jocelyn and Ronnie leverage that self-sufficiency into being stable and generous friends to Alexis and Moira in their own journeys of becoming. In a season one, stoned-out, party chat with Moira, Jocelyn wonders what her life would be like had she never met Roland, allowing a feeling of wistfulness to bubble up. Moira, too, lets go, thinking about the past; she grew up in a town like Schitt’s Creek and fled it. Right there, with a wild pig roasting behind them, not on a sprawling beach at The Four Seasons in Tahiti but in their friends’ cozy backyard with paper lanterns, Moira begins to realize that she can make a different decision now.

KEEP READING: Annie Murphy on How 'Kevin Can F**k Himself' Reflects Real Life Tragedies, and the Legacy of 'Schitt's Creek'



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