Sunday Reflections: A Love Letter to Alexis Rose from Schitt’s Creek
Like many people, my family is coping with the deadly global pandemic by binge watching television together. We’ve watched and loved Eureka, Warehouse 13, Leverage (again), and Chuck, to name just a few shows. And right now, we are close to finishing Schitt’s Creek. This is a show that I never thought my family would like, but I’m here to tell you that WE LOVE IT.
The show actually has some similarities to the pandemic, in a way. You have a super rich family that was used to living very privileged and unaware lives who suddenly are forced to spend a lot of time together in very close quarters. Everything about their life changes. And in the process, so do they.
For those who may not know the premise of the show, when we first meet the Rose family – father Johnny, mother Moira, son David and daughter Alexis – they are scrambling to pack and salvage what they can from a glorious mansion as they learn that their accountant had not been properly been paying their taxes and now the IRS is seizing everything that they own. But it turns out one time as a lark Johnny Rose bought a small, rural town called Schitt’s Creek. So they flee and live in a roadside motel. And the next six seasons see every single character on this show learn, change, and grow. It is a master class in character development and storytelling.
I love every character on this show, even the bit characters. But it is Alexis that has stolen my part. As the mother to two daughters, I will forever be grateful to the character of Alexis Rose.
When we first meet Alexis Rose she is vain, shallow, vapid and cares largely only for herself. She’s a name dropper who we learn never finished high school and cast aside men the way some people toss fast food wrappers out their car windows while speeding down the highway. But over the seasons, she becomes a strong, independent, self-possessed young woman who values the people around her and successfully starts her own business. She demonstrates intelligence, compassion, fortitude, resilience and more. She learns to value the very people in this small town whose mere existence repulsed her at the beginning of her journey.
The character arc of Alexis is so vitally important for our young girls to witness. Watching her change. Seeing her grow. Seeing her succeed on her own terms. It is powerful to watch and share. She starts out as a stereotype and then busts every single one of them.
She becomes a loving daughter. A supportive sister who shares wise words and support for her brother. A selfless girlfriend. A compassionate friend. And a successful “girl boss.”
And as I am watching this with my own girls, it’s so fascinating to watch the mother/daughter dynamic. As the mom, Moira is perhaps the slowest to change and grow. She makes decisions that broke my heart and I couldn’t imagine making if I were in that situation. But her growth is also an important part of the story. There is a moment where Alexis clearly wants and needs the support of her mom and you think oh my gosh, Moira is now going to do the right thing here. Actually, there are several of those moments. And my girls cheered when Moira did the thing anyone watching knew she needed to do.
We talked a lot while watching this show about the Rose family, and Alexis in particular. We talked about how though the situation was initiated for different reasons, that a lot of families were now forced to spend a lot of time together in close quarters and how that could be good and bad. We talked about how they change over time, growing in and of themselves and closer as a family. We talked about what it means to be a family.
We talked to a lot about things likes supporting the LGBTQ community. My kids stood up and cheered at several moments in this series and those who have watched it will probably know why. We talked about prejudice, including being prejudice against those that are different then you or people living in poverty. There are no shortage of teachable and discussable moments to have while watching this show.
And we laughed together. A lot.
I am so very thankful to everyone involved in this show for helping my family get through this very difficult time in meaningful ways. I’m thankful for the great storytelling, the belly laughs, and the moments that let me forget that nothing about the world is okay right now. But mostly I’m thankful for this amazing example of female growth and empowerment that they let me share with my daughters. For a brief moment each night, we were close and felt hopeful. Much like the Roses.
Though my daughters aren’t starting out at the same place as Alexis, I hope their life if full of growth and friendship and family just like hers was.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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