Why Censoring a Same-Sex Kiss In ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Is Just Wrong
‘Schitt’s Creek’ creator Dan Levy called out Comedy Central India for censoring a kiss between two male characters.
Earlier this year, when Ayushmann Khurrana's Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan hit theatres, it was praised for its pathbreaking LGBTQ representation. In the history of Bollywood, gay men have rarely been taken seriously and the Khurrana-starrer was trying to change that. Having said that, one can't deny that the scene in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, where the lead actors share a kiss in public, still came with a certain shock value. Clearly, we're miles away from normalising LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream cinema and television.
So then, it's not surprising that TV channel Comedy Central India would censor an onscreen kiss between two men in the hugely popular, Emmy-winning Canadian show Schitt's Creek. On 6 October, the show's creator and actor Dan Levy took to social media to call out the TV channel for selectively censoring a kiss between two male characters.
Censoring a kiss between two male characters in a scene that also features a kiss between two female characters exposes the various levels of homophobia playing out in the situation. However, what's even more baffling is that the TV channel did this to a show that has been hailed for its queer representation.
A Queer Love Story That's Just a Love Story
Over the past six years, Schitt's Creek has become a phenomenon as far as LGBTQ+ representation is concerned. One of the main reasons being that its main love story is a queer love story. The show follows the Rose family, who, after going bankrupt, are forced to settle in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Over the course of the show, David (Dan Levy) develops a romantic relationship with Patrick (Noah Reid) and the couple eventually get their married happily-ever-after - a trope that's often reserved for heterosexual couples.
Critics and fans both agree that this is unprecedented in television because generally, a gay couple would be seen as a "side couple." In Schitt's Creek that's not the case. David and Patrick are *the* couple. Their struggles are not defined by their sexuality; they face the same challenges any other couple would face. And that's what makes them so appealing and real.
In The 'Schitt's Creek' Universe, Homophobia Doesn't Exist
And that's exactly how it should be. Instead of projecting queer people through the lens of struggle, the show normalises it. David and Patrick's relationship/sexualities are not exploited or used as punchlines.
The show has received mild criticism for being "unrealistic", but that wasn't a result of Dan Levy's ignorance. In 2018, at the Vulture Festival in LA, Levy was pretty honest about the fact that he has "no patience for homophobia." He simply doesn't care about anyone's reaction to how queer people live their lives.
To give homophobic people space on the show would be to take the spotlight away from the intimacies of David and Patrick's relationship. Levy also said, "If you put something like that [homophobia] out of the equation, you’re saying that doesn’t exist and shouldn’t exist.”
Moire Rose as a Powerful Gay Icon
A true testament to the impact Schitt's Creek has had on the LGBTQ+ community is that Moira Rose has emerged as a powerful gay icon. With her wigs and 'campy' outfits, she has become a favourite among fans from the community. In Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell, Levy talks about how Moira Rose's character (played by Catherine O'Hara) has all the traits that make her "a straight female character who becomes a gay icon." According to fans, she's not just 'campy', 'over-the-top', and utterly 'self-involved' and confident, but also incredibly kind and full of warmth. To the fans, she feels more real and modern than most pop culture gay icons.
David Identifies as Pansexual and That's Kind of a Big Deal
Even within the LGBTQ+ community, representation varies. Not everyone feels equally seen in pop culture or mainstream media. Schitt's Creek tried to do its bit. Dan Levy's character David identifies as pansexual and fans love that.
If a channel like Comedy Central India is not ready to have the conversations that make up the crux Schitt's Creek, then they simply shouldn't air the show. To disrespect everything Schitt's Creek stands for is just not the right way to go.
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