Bears Draft and Schitt’s Creek

The NFL Draft used to be one of my favorite sports things. It would take place during the day, usually on a weekend, and the first 3-4 rounds were all on day one, so it was a bustling experience.

For the last few years, the Draft has been made into an evening, Prime Time experience, complete with needless melodrama and human interest stories out the wazoo. Not to mention only the first round is covered. Blah.

Anyway, I’m probably going to complain about that every year until I’ve got a foot in the grave, because football is best experienced in the daytime, whether it’s a game or the draft. Ratings and greed have ruined a fun experience, as usual.

The Bears were coming into this year’s draft in a bit of a quandary. Pace and Nagy concluded the Trubisky era with a pair of 8-8 dud seasons, seemingly wasting Khalil Mack’s prime and failing to develop a top-3 draft pick who, in all likelihood, was never salvageable in the first place.

With a ton of pressure on the franchise from fans the press to dump a hearty handful of consequences on both the GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy, the Bears instead held a historically awkward and hostile press conference where they held fast against firing anyone of note.

Defiant and seemingly tonedeaf, team President Ted Phillips and Chairman George McCaskey told the gathered media where they could stick it, going so far as to hide the remaining years of Pace and Nagy’s respective contracts. In a nutshell, the Bears had tacitly endorsed .500 football being not only acceptable, but merited extensions and no changes to the status quo.

Fan reaction was as you’d expect. “Same old shit” is generally the go-to for a franchise that hasn’t maintained being interesting for any long duration in the last two decades.

Coming into the 2021 draft, most expected the Bears to do one of two things:

  1. Belligerently trade away 2-3 years of draft capital to move into the top 5 to select an uninspiring quarterback like Mac Jones
  2. Stand pat at 20 or trade down to recoup draft picks

Either way, the bar was low, and fans were bracing themselves to be disappointed, furious, bored, etc.

Then Justin Fields, the exciting Ohio State quarterback who many considered the second overall talent in this draft class, slipped from the top 10. Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy made a pretty decent trade to move into the 11th spot to draft Fields, and suddenly the excitement was restored. I’m not going to make the same mistake I did with Trubisky – mediocre expectations and stupidly ordering a jersey. I fully anticipate Fields being a very special player, and I’m not ordering a jersey unless it gets retired (plus the #1 on any jersey looks stupid, in my opinion).

Moving up to take Teven Jenkins in round two was also a great move. I was meandering around Menards when the trade/pick came in and was suddenly very distracted from looking at backsplash samples. This 2021 Bears class has some players I’m really looking forward to seeing take the field (Thomas Graham Jr. and Khyiris Tonga should be interesting).

After a few weeks of kinda-binging, Amy and I finished up Schitt’s Creek, a show that I knew little about but heard rave things for some time now. A lot of people warned me that it would take a couple seasons to “warm up,” imploring patience, which I felt was unusual for a series that so many praise. Typically these beloved shows start out very strong then peter out over time before stumbling.

There will be Schitt’s Creek spoilers from here out, by the way.

I was a little lukewarm on the series for the first season, and it took until the finale of season two before I realized what people were talking about. For what seemed like the longest time, the Rose family was another generically quirky fish-out-water group who were contrasted against the obnoxious Schitt’s Creek mayor, played to annoying imperfection by Chris Elliot. The Rose family didn’t want to be there, the Schitt’s Creek residents didn’t want the Rose family to be there, and it made for a thin stew.

Suddenly at the end of season two, this scene happens, and everything changes:

The condescending yuppies who claim to be the Rose’s friends get told off by Johnny himself, and he defends Roland and the people of Schitt’s Creek. It’s such a reflection of the series’ entire feeling, delivered with gusto in a scene that is initially cringeworthy, ala Michael Scott, but ends with far more redemption than “you have no idea how high I can fly.” It’s about dignity, acceptance, and true friendship. The Roses then rendezvous with their kids at a local barn party and conclude the season dancing together, reinforcing their love and support for one another. Amy and I were both crying.

Each character’s transformation and growth over the series is so well-earned and executed. Annie Murphy took Alexis Rose from being this one-note spoiled ditz who couldn’t survive without a beau to finding and losing love, but in turn realizing the bounty of strength she has through independence. Her performance is absolutely stellar and perhaps the best of the series.

Daniel Levy’s David matches Alexis note-for-note in the facial expressions and mannerisms department, but the journey for this character was so unique. Schitt’s Creek didn’t take long to let David reveal his pansexuality (in a brilliant wine metaphor), and it didn’t hit us over the head with anything. David, the characters, his family, the townspeople – they don’t give a shit. They know him as David of the Rose family, and treat him as such. More on that later. David’s got this great way of being a bit of a dick, but quickly countering those notes with reminders that he is a heartfelt, respectful, and genuine person, so when people online say, “I would literally die for David Rose,” I get where they’re coming from.

Johnny and Moira are awesome. Moira could’ve been the most forgettable person in the family were it not for the contributions from Catherine O’Hara, who devised the accent, wigs, flourishing dialogue, and fashion eccentricities of the character, and made her indispensable. You could tell she had such a fine time playing Moira, and it made the connection between her and Johnny all the better. Johnny’s a little aw-shucks for the most part, but his bond with Stevie was wonderful. Stevie is another character who went from being a bit of a damaged burnout to a savvy businesswoman with renewed confidence, and Emily Hampshire’s tears during David’s wedding felt so very real, so authentic, that it sold the whole thing as more than just a sweet television moment.

You felt like you were in attendance, and that’s the type of connection this show can make with viewers. It’s a rare and momentous thing.

The love between Patrick and David doesn’t go through any of the ham-fisted ways you’d expect. Just when you think in the latter seasons that Patrick’s parents would find his newfound homosexuality a betrayal, you’re relieved to see that they don’t give a shit about that – they were upset that he felt he couldn’t talk to his parents about it. It’s just….so fucking welcome to not walk into the obvious storytelling tropes and cliches when it comes to the romances on this show.

Patrick and David fall in love and get married – it rocks. It’s emotional, sweet, and easygoing. Ted and Alexis don’t end up together, but their split is one virtually never portrayed – one of mutual, heartbreaking respect, with no last-second reunion.

I know I’m neglecting to mention how much I enjoyed Twyla’s evolution, Jocelyn’s contributions, Noah Reid’s incredible range of talent, among other things, but you should just discover it for yourself, whether it’s your first time or a re-viewing.

And be sure to watch the Netflix short documentary about the final season and the show’s inception/production. Seeing the Levy family and the cast shed their own tears and express their own heartfelt sentiments about one another and the impact the series has had on LGBTQ+ viewers is, just like Schitt’s Creek, a wonderful, warm thing.

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