How 'Schitt's Creek' Helped Get Me Through My Divorce
The six-season comedy’s inclusive fantasy put my heartbreak into greater relief.
Turns out my husband likes the wine, not the label, if you know what I mean. And me? I’m corked. Sour grapes. Gone bad. Gone off. Whatever. He’s going to drink some red for a while, and maybe try an oak-aged pinot gris.
I’m done with the wine metaphor. I got dumped, okay? He wants to see other people and decided that 12 years into a marriage was a good time to tell me that I was missing some of the requisite genitalia. I’m an ally, so I understand, right? I’m okay with this journey, right?
Well, I might have been more understanding if he’d told me before he invited strangers from Adult FriendFinder over to our house while our baby was sleeping and I was out of town. I might have been more on board with this metamorphosis if he didn’t also say that it was all my fault he was in the closet so long, “Because I never would have understood.” I, a theater major, a liberal, would never have accepted that a human being can be bisexual? I knew that wasn’t it. I knew he was deflecting because of his guilt and his shame and his deep-seated white boy, suburban upbringing. I knew he needed therapy and to be truthful with himself and others. But, ouch, man.
We got divorced.
In Tough Times, I Turn to Comedy
On my first night alone with no kids (we began sharing custody), I didn’t know what to do with myself. Alone time was an unknown concept in my previous life. I deserved a treat. So, I ordered the sixth season of Schitt’s Creek off Amazon Prime. It was going to come out on Netflix in a few weeks, but to quote my soon-to-be-ex, “I couldn’t wait one more day to be happy.”
He and I had binge-watched the first five seasons earlier that year. We happy-cried when (spoilers!) Patrick proposed to David on a hike. That was how my husband proposed to me! He’d dragged me—David, in this scenario—up a large mountain (hill) against my will. We’d gotten nearly lost and given up and then, at the top, a beautiful vista, a man on one knee, a sweet marriage proposal. We were like them!
We were not. David and Patrick would never. Ew.
As I binged the entire season in one night, I laughed. This was good. Sitcoms are good. When I’m upset, I rewatch sitcoms I’ve seen before. In 2005, when we broke up for five days, I watched Arrested Development. In 2015, when he admitted to cheating on me, I watched 30 Rock and Parks and Rec. This round, I’d already re-watched the first five seasons of Schitt’s Creek and now, after only a few hours of screen time, I arrived at the final episode: the wedding. It’s called “Happy Ending,” and it signified the end of an era.
My friends are very attentive. One had recently asked me if I’d had a breakdown yet. I’d been panicked in the wake of this quickie divorce. I’d been fueled by adrenaline and Klonopin and had been running as fast as I could into my new life. I got a lawyer, a new house, a mediator, a therapist, a financial advisor, a dog! I didn’t have time for a breakdown! “You’ll have one,” my friend said. “When the dust settles and you’re alone, you’ll feel everything.”
Life Doesn’t End at ‘The Happy Ending’
In the finale, as David walked down the aisle, I began to sob. This, on my television, was true love. This was acceptance. This was pure. This was trust. I really thought I had it. I thought I had a happy ending.
People sobbed at my wedding. Remember, I was a theater major. People dramatically, openly wept. We both cried up there, being married by one of our parents, just like David and Patrick, though ours wasn’t dressed so magnificently. We had written our own vows. I’d told him he was my home. I’d believed it. I was so wrong. We’d said we’d love each other “for all the days of my life.” We did not.
It was over. Schitt’s Creek, this bastion of love and acceptance, was over. This place where people can trust that their loved ones won’t betray them, was gone. As the Schitts drove away from their town forever, I sobbed harder than I had since he’d first told me he was leaving me. I sobbed so hard it hurt my body. I felt sick. I thought about reaching for my Klonopin, but I waited. I sat in my uncomfortable grief, my absolute distress. I felt sad. Not panicked. Not stricken. Not mad. Just sad.
I was going to miss them all. Schitt’s Creek and its inhabitants deserved their happy ending. Why not me?
A cheesy John Lennon quote comes to mind, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Of course it’s not the end! Sitcoms end with everything tied up in a nice little denouement. Of course, I don’t get a happy ending. We had our happily ever after wedding with wine and dancing. We had our picture-perfect blonde children. We had our big, old house with a maple tree and a swing. We had backyard BBQs and double dates and birthday parties. We had Christmas mornings and a Disney vacation. But we are not characters in a sitcom and we do not live in idyllic Schitt’s Creek. We can visit it on our televisions to feel comforted that love does exist, but it’s not a place we can live.
Sadly, unlike David and Patrick, our love was not simply the best. But Schitt’s Creek, in all it’s Canadian goodness and glory, was, indeed, the best.