As Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek begins production on its sixth and final season, father-son creative team Eugene and Daniel Levy reflected on the importance of solid character development in their hit comedy.
“That’s the great thing about a good character comedy, which is what we set out to make in the beginning,” Eugene said on stage at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys on Sunday. “When your characters are as beautifully developed as these characters you can take the audience for a ride.”
The show follows the exploits of the rich Rose family who lose all their money overnight and are forced to move to a small town they once purchased as a joke. What ensues are both moments of hilarity and emotional, personal growth. The half-hour comedy also stars Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, Chris Elliott, Jenn Robertson and Emily Hampshire.
Like Eugene, his son Daniel is co-creator and co-star, but Daniel is also showrunner. So what was it like playing showrunner to his own father? “I sleep with a neck brace. I wish I was joking,” Daniel deadpanned to loud laughs from the audience. “We have a great time when all the pieces come together and they work. It really is quite a magical experience to be a part of.”
The duo remained tight-lipped on any spoilers for this last season, although Eugene joked, “Turns out it was all a dream,” which would certainly prove an interesting twist. But Daniel added that they’d worked hard to give both the characters and the fans the ending they needed and deserved as the show wraps for a final time.
“You want to give the characters everything they want, and you also want to give the fans everything they want,” Daniel said, “and I think in the final series of a show it’s about marrying those two expectations.”
At times, the show serves up deeply moving moments amid the laughs. As Daniel said, “There will be times that are slightly more emotional or slightly darker. There will be humor in that. There will be tears in that. There will be joy in that. We had a director who came on a couple of seasons ago and he described the show as ‘breaking good’. When you’re trying to bring out the best in people, you’re going to get a really lovely blend of comedy and sentimentality, and it’s just riding that wave and never getting too heavy-handed when it comes to the emotional side of the show.”
Daniel also gave major credit to his father and Catherine O’Hara for providing “a masterclass in comedy”. From them he said he’s gained “the understanding that if characters are rooted in something real you can push them as far as you want.”