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  • Writer's picturecasey

Schitt's Creek episode 2.13 "Happy Anniversary"

I’m lowkey a little embarrassed about how long it took me to get into this show. I tried it a few times and thought it felt too much like Arrested Development, a show I have to admit I just don’t like despite my love for its cast. Luckily, I’ve never met two people who love Schitt’s Creek as much as my mom and girlfriend, and they were adamant that if I could just make it to this episode, I would change my mind. And they were right.

Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Catherine O'Hara, and Eugene Levy in "Happy Anniversary". Image courtesy of Fanpop.

I still think the first couple seasons have that quirky, lovably infuriating Arrested Development feel, but Schitt’s Creek ultimately became something else entirely and the slow burn of its apathetic early episodes made the Roses’ emotional transformation feel genuine and significant. “Happy Anniversary” really is a turning point in the show, a moment that reveals that this story and these characters are more than frivolous.

So it’s Johnny and Moira’s anniversary, and they’re spending it avoiding Roland and Jocelyn who have just offered to take them out to dinner to a nice restaurant. One they even want to go to! But God forbid they go with the Schitts, right? So Johnny tries to score a table at that same restaurant for that same night- one they can have to themselves. These are the Roses we’re starting the episode with, but this is the first time we’ll see a different side of them by the time the episode ends.

Alexis, meanwhile, has just found out via Ted that Mutt is throwing a party. While Ted thinks out loud through the threat the party poses to his self-esteem (“I guess it’s just a bit of a pride issue, you know, do I go to the party hosted by the guy that you left me for?”), Alexis is herself: “yeah, no, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.” She and Mutt recently broke up, her second breakup after having called off her engagement to Ted, so she’s a little preoccupied with the fact that she didn’t get an invite.

Johnny really did swing a table at the nice restaurant, and at the host stand they run into none other than one of their closest couple friends from their old life. This is the first time we meet any of the Roses’ old friends, and the moment serves as a wake-up call both to them and to us that maybe the Roses are a little different now. Maybe there are still terrible, mean, selfish, filthy rich people out in the world, but maybe the Roses aren’t quite like them anymore. David and Alexis will have eye-opening reunions of their own later on (remember Sebastien Raine and that bitch Klair who wanted room temperature water “that was once hot”?) and they will always mark a sort of checkpoint of personal growth.

But Johnny and Moira don’t know this yet, so they invite Bev and Don to join them for dinner. It doesn’t look good when Roland and Jocelyn walk in to see them sharing a meal with friends that they had told them they wanted to enjoy alone. It’s a sitcom, so of course all three couples cram into this table set for four, and we’re off on the most uncomfortable evening of all time.

Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Chris Elliot, Jennifer Robertson, John Bourgeois, and Sherry Miller in "Happy Anniversary". Image Courtesy of Fanpop.

Bev and Don are asking all kinds of questions about what the Roses have been up to, and the Schitts tolerate the Roses’ embarrassment enough to even help Moira bend the truth a bit. When Moira describes the motel as a “rustic, ranch-style bungalow”, Roland helpfully adds that it has ten bedrooms. When Bev and Don start making fun of a town they passed through- “Schittstown” or “Schittsville”- Roland grins and bears it. Finally, it’s Johnny who can’t take it anymore.

Back in town, Mutt’s party is in full swing. Alexis is introduced to Mutt’s new girlfriend, Tennesee, a pretty girl that he even shaved his beard for. Alexis asks Ted how he was able to seem so cool about everything after they broke up, and this time, she’s actually listening to him. He tells her about going on their honeymoon without her, and about crying so much he scared the animals at work, but eventually he got through it. Alexis offers a sincere apology, and Ted, the sweetest little guy, says it’s okay. And then they dance together :)

Annie Murphy and Dustin Milligan in "Happy Anniversary". Image courtesy of Fanpop.

At the restaurant, Moira tries to talk Johnny off the ledge, but he’s had enough. “No Don, here’s the joke. The joke is I’m sitting in a half decent restaurant with my wife and our friends, and all you two have done is complain about the food and pretend that you didn’t leave us high and dry after we lost everything… you wrote us off, Don. Not a phone call. Not an email. Not a nickel. Roland and Jocelyn here could not have been more generous with what little they have. They found us a place to live. They’ve offered us their truck whenever we’ve needed it. They’ve invited us to parties, they even offered to take us out to dinner tonight… and that town you passed through. It’s not called Schittsville. It’s called Schitt’s Creek. And it’s where we live.”

It’s still a little condescending. But it’s the first real acknowledgement the Roses have given of what the Schitts have done for them, and that the people in their old life aren’t perfect and magical. Moira’s the only one who is embarrassed, rather than touched, by the outburst, and she’s the only one who won’t really change throughout the series.

Back at the barn, David is “getting some air” with Jake, and the two kiss. David can’t wait to tell Stevie, who’s dressed to the nines by the way. They don’t have that much screen time in this episode, but there’s a lot to unpack about Stevie and her relationship with David. David can’t help but react when he sees Stevie’s tight dress and heels, and that outfit in this setting says so much about who she is. Being anxious, socially uncomfortable people with few friends are self-proclaimed trademarks of both of their personalities, and with that in mind I wouldn’t expect her to wear anything else. She doesn’t know what appropriate barn party attire is, and she especially doesn’t know what to wear when she’s trying to impress someone. But it’s clear that she really is trying- to prove a point to David, and to impress him too. I don’t think she ever got as “over it” as she claimed.

Dan Levy and Emily Hampshire in "Happy Anniversary". Image courtesy of Fanpop.

David has barely finished telling Stevie about his kiss with Jake, and hasn’t processed her confession that she kissed him too, when the parents come in. David and Alexis are offput to see them there, but even Moira is filled with love for her family tonight. “I don’t care what snarky remarks you kids are gonna make under your breath, tonight we are dancing as a family”. They all share “I love you”’s (David’s second time saying it in his life!) and dance to James Morrison’s “Precious Love”. The whole thing is just very, very sweet and it’s the first time the show fully gives us permission to love these characters.

Schitt’s Creek feels like an instant classic and it warmed my heart to watch them clean up at the Emmys. There are so many great episodes, let me know which other ones we should talk about!

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