Love, laughter and community at heart of Emmy winners Schitt's Creek and Drag Race

Where would we be without Mama Ru and Moira Rose to see us through a pandemic? This year's virtual Emmys were an ode to the glamour and glitter that carried us all through lockdown. 
Love, laughter and community at heart of Emmy winners Schitt's Creek and Drag Race

Catherine O'Hara accepts the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for 'Schitt's Creek'.

The 2020 Emmys took place in Los Angeles overnight and its success stories are a reflection of what we turned to for comfort during lockdown.

Comedy series Schitt’s Creek ran for six years and its final season arrived on Netflix just as the world had turned upside-down. Like countless others last March, I rewound back to season one when the formerly-rich Rose family found themselves living in an odd little town with a big heart.

Father and son Eugene and Daniel Levy play father and son Johnny and David Rose, the former CEO of a video rental chain and the son for whom he jokingly bought an entire small town called Schitt's Creek for his birthday years earlier. Their family is rounded out by Annie Murphy as spoiled socialite sister Alexis and Catherine O’Hara as wife and mother Moira Rose, an eccentric ex-soap-star with a vocabulary to die for.

The Rose family on Schitt's Creek.
The Rose family on Schitt's Creek.

The Rose family, through constantly bickering with each other and initially hostile towards the people of Schitt’s Creek, can only grow on you. As a viewer, you smile when Patrick sings to David in public, laugh when you hear ‘A Little Bit Alexis’, feel like a proud parent as Stevie treads the boards in Cabaret and sob like a baby when a happy couple says ‘I do’. 

The Roses came far from the disillusioned foursome who landed into a grotty hotel in a town they thought nothing off. Schitt’s Creek opened its heart to the Roses and we opened our hearts to Schitt’s Creek.

The show was a salve for our sore spirits when lockdown forced us away from loved ones and social settings. The values it is widely known for were all the most evident when we were searching for humanity and hope among our Netflix lists: acceptance, love and community.

Eugene and Daniel Levy accept the Emmy for outstanding comedy series.
Eugene and Daniel Levy accept the Emmy for outstanding comedy series.

Schitt’s Creek received a glowing send-off at the Emmys, winning all seven awards it was nominated for and setting a new record in doing so. It is a fitting farewell to an obscure Canadian show that grew to become loved by millions around the world. It is a perfect happy ending.

Like Schitt’s Creek, another show admired for its comedy, colour and community triumphed at the Emmys. RuPaul’s Drag Race won six awards, including outstanding competition program for the third consecutive year.

Drag Race is another show that we turned to during the pandemic. Its positivity, glamour, glitter and sass was a welcome reprieve from daily briefings and constant anxiety. The show’s 12th season aired between February and May this year and it brightened up a gloomy spring.

RuPaul’s Drag Race won six awards. Picture: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for FIJI Water
RuPaul’s Drag Race won six awards. Picture: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for FIJI Water

Drag Race, however, was not unaffected by Covid-19. While the majority of the show was filmed months in advance, the cast reunion and the live finale had to be rethought. Instead, we were presented with a virtual slumber party from the queens’ homes ahead of a virtual grand finale.

Sure, it was just another Zoom chat in its essence, but we didn’t know how much we needed to see RuPaul appear wearing the world’s strangest face mask. 

Is Ru moonlighting as a wrestler? Was there a mix-up when ordering a designer mask for the pandemic? So many unanswered questions.

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars soon took its place with season five arriving just one month after the main show sashayed away. 

RuPaul with some of the Drag Race queens at DragCon UK.
RuPaul with some of the Drag Race queens at DragCon UK.

This year’s All Stars changed the existing format, forcing weekly winners to compete in a lipsynch battle against a guest ‘Lip Sync Assassin’ from a previous season. If the queen was deemed the winner, she would earn $10k. If the Assassin were to outperform her, she would walk away with nothing. The stakes were higher than their heels and the All Star queens rose to the challenge.

At its core, Drag Race is about accepting people for who they are, showcasing love in all its forms and celebrating the beauty in life, from glamour to personalities.

The fact that Drag Race and Schitt’s Creek received nod after nod at the Emmys this year is a joy, but no surprise. They both did what good television is supposed to do: entertain, educate and elevate.

Here’s hoping next year’s Snatch Game includes a verbose, vino-filled Moira Rose. She’s a winner, baby.

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