"Schitt's Creek" rose above the competition Sunday night for a reason.
The comedy series, from father-son dream team Eugene and Dan Levy, was nominated for 15 Emmys and swept Sunday's comedy categories, earning statuettes for best comedy, lead and supporting actor and actress and writing and directing. And while co-creator and star Dan Levy seemed visibly stunned by the showering of love the series received, the quirky comedy deserved recognition, offering touching storylines and refreshingly unique characters.
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The Pop TV series, which premiered in 2015, followed the Rose family – Johnny (Eugene Levy), his wife Moira (Catherine O'Hara), and their adult children David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) – who went from a mansion to motel life in the tiny town of Schitt's Creek after a business manager flubbed their finances.
Johnny owned a video store chain and Moira was celebrated for her work on the soap "Sunrise Bay." Naturally, the family has to adjust to small-town living, but the challenges of the real world help them grow as people and closer as a family.
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The Canadian production, featuring a Canadian cast, aired on CBC Television, and in the U.S. on the tiny Pop TV cable channel.
But "Schitt's" didn't turn into a phenomenon until Netflix nabbed the streaming rights. The streaming service has five of its six seasons, and will soon get the sixth and last batch of episodes. (The show aired its series finale in April, and the free CW Seed service and IMDb TV also stream the series. Comedy Central, Pop TV's better-known cable cousin, announced Monday that it plans to air five episodes every Friday starting Oct. 2 at 8 EDT/PDT.)
While accepting the award for outstanding comedy series, Eugene Levy, Dan's co-creator and dad in the show, as well as real life, called the streaming platform "the spark that seemed to start everything."
He also expressed his appreciation for his son, "who took our fish out of water story about the Rose family and transformed it into a celebration of inclusivity, a castigation of homophobia and a declaration of the power of love."
The show picked up the GLAAD Media Award for outstanding comedy series in July. David is pansexual, memorably using a metaphor to describe his sexuality in an episode: "I like the wine and not the label," he tells his friend, Stevie (Emily Hampshire). David's relationship with Patrick (Noah Reid) gives the show some of its sweetest moments – as when Patrick, with acoustic guitar in hand, serenades David with Tina Turner's "The Best."
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But the show had laughs, not just heart. Moira, the over-the-top thespian who dresses in over-the-top black-and-white ensembles topped with one of her wigs hung on the wall of her motel room, had an impressive vocabulary and an untraceable accent. Earlier this year, O'Hara told Variety, "What you’re getting when you hear her speak are oral mementos of her world travels."
Her daughter Alexis once upon a time attempted a pop-star career.Other quirky characters, who fill out the town – like the initially insufferable Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott) and his wife Jocelyn Schitt (Jennifer Robertson), leader of the female a cappella group the Jazzagals, bring personalities Eugene Levy and O'Hara brilliantly play against, allowing their characters to truly sing.
For those who devour all six seasons and are left feeling a void, there is a slight chance that the town "Schitt's Creek" could be visited once more.
"This is the best way we could have ever ended the show," explained Dan in the press room. "So, if there is an idea that ever pops into my head and, worthy of these wonderful people, it has to be really freaking good at this point, because this is a really nice way of saying goodbye. So, fingers crossed that we get a really good idea coming into our heads."
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Contributing: Carly Mallenbaum
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Emmys 2020: Why 'Schitt's Creek' won big (hint: Netflix helped)