The Importance of Being Schitty

I’ll be home for Christmas

Around the turn of the millennia I was in Boston with my Mother. It was her first visit so my friends spent a day showing us both the usual and unusual attractions. By evening we were exhausted and plopped down in a nice Italian restaurant in North Beach. Or maybe it’s the North End. It was somewhere in Boston’s tony Northern Corridor.

The others discussed an odd topic: Christmas. My Mother liked the holiday because it was a chance for a family party. It held no religious significance to her, there was no creche in sight.

Her formula was take care of the young ones first, mainly through gifts. Their happiness bubbled up to the parents to help them relax. Once in that calmed state they were more susceptible to her potent libations.

Dale and David, on the other hand, were polar opposites. They detested the holiday. Their Christmas habit was to hike in the New England backwoods. They’d find a remote spot, bury themselves in dead leaves, and hibernate until Boxing Day.

It felt strange they would be grilling Mother about our traditions. I quietly listened for several minutes. Realizing I should contribute and not appear rude, I finally blurted out, “don’t forget our live Nativity scene, Mother. You know, the one where I play all the parts.”

Individually these three were a tough audience. I was surprised they all laughed in unison. It just reinforced the concept that believable characterizations are the foundation to good theatre. Which is why I enjoyed watching Schitt’s Creek so much this summer. I could have easily been any one of the four main characters in that production.

The show’s premise is a nouveau riche Beverly Hills family becomes suddenly destitute. Their accountant, “who was like family,” embezzled hundreds of millions then went into hiding off-shore. After federal agents confiscate everything, an advisor sits down with them to explain they really were left with nothing. Except for one asset nobody wanted.

Once on a lark with money being no object, the father gag-gifted his son the deed to a town called Schitt’s Creek. Ha, ha, ha, then everyone forgot about it. Now, it was their only hope to rebuild.

The parents along with their 20-something son and daughter arrive at this rural cross roads to find it’s worth nothing. The towns folk are generous in making them welcome and set them up in a sleazy dive that makes Motel Six look lavish. The next six seasons are about the Rose family trying to assimilate and maintain.

The plot is similar to Green Acres except in that series Lisa and Oliver were pursuing an ideal. They consciously made the choice to live like the other half. The Roses had these draconian circumstances unexpectedly thrust upon them. Schitt’s Creek was the perfect fodder for pandemic binge watching: learning to play by new rules in a world turned upside down.

Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara do an exceptional job as parents with very few clues. The real breakouts in the cast, however, are their children.

A little bit Alexis

The daughter, Alexis, was the hardest character to like. She’s so superficial and offensive. Her behavior does not change much over six seasons. But over time the writers create a story line that shows what a thoughtful, caring and somewhat intelligent person she is. Her manner is just a product of socialization. It’s how you turn out when you’re brought up in a mileu of Paris Hiltons and Kardashian girls.

Annie Murphy who played Alexis admitted as much when she said she studied hours of film of these girls. One gesture in particular stood out: a limp wrist, weak extended forearm move that preceded their bodies into every scene. It was designed to accentuate $20K designer bags they were swinging.

Ms. Murphy only carried a purse in about 10% of her scenes. That she used the spastic motion all the time was pure artistry.

She also brought a confusing Gracie Allen charm to the role. In one of her early scenes she shows up to fulfill her community service requirement transferred from Beverly Hills. Her offense was running a car through a plate glass Prada store front. Her defense was she thought it was a parking garage. And that she was high.

The gruff council woman issues garbage pick up instructions then hands her tools and an orange safety vest. Alexis momentarily studies the garment then demurely poo-poos it. “Oh, no thank you, I’m fine… But it’s so sweet of you.” The woman shoots back, “this isn’t say yes to the dress, sister, wear it.”

Alexis was accustomed to having things handed to her on a silver platter. When she confides to the town Vet how broke they are, he has a bright idea. “My receptionist just quit, I could give her pay to you.” Alexis graciously refuses. “I wouldn’t feel right taking money like that.” The Vet clarifies, “you’d be doing her job, that would be your salary.”

Then, on one of her first days at work she has a benefits question. “Now you said the first year’s vacation was two weeks, how many of those two week vacations do I get? Like once a month? Every six weeks?”

Mom officiates son’s vows

Alexis’ brother David is just as preciously eccentric. His background includes owning a Manhattan Art Gallery. A curatorial highlight was the performance artist who breastfed audience members as a statement on income inequality. David’s importance will be the topic of a future post.

For now, suffice it to say that Dan Levy’s David is the glue that holds all the performances together. And he seems to have played the same role in the production itself. His hand is in everything.

The result is a ton of Emmy nominations tomorrow evening. They deserve to take home a Schitt load.

As I Lay Strategerizing

It’s so much easier to think when you’re wearing DIY haute couture.

The feces seems to be hitting the funicular with the latest national security fiasco (enfin!). The incompetence of this administration is truly stagering.

It’s also an indication that it’s time to up the ante and extend the brand. From now through election day, in fact through perpetuity, members of the GOP should wear their moniker with pride: Trump Republicans.

Just like the mountain of all-you-can-eat bacon in the bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal breakfast buffet line, these memories should be kept alive. And the catastrophe of the Trump Administration needs to be forever associated with its chief enablers. Trump Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Lindsay Graham and the No-Name Nobodies from the Dakotas.

Mt. Pukemore: putting it behind me

Along with Trump Virus, introducing the term Trump Republicans into the nation’s word power helps spread the toxicity of that dastardly name. And the Trump family doesn’t mind. They’re just counting the number of times they see it in print.

It’s such a great idea I’m surprised the Secretary of Failure, JKush, didn’t come up with it first.

Sundown at sunrise. Outside my bedroom window, Last Tuesday morning.

Art (and Love) for Sale

The first shipment of Campaign Art 2020 has arrived from Mumbai. Those pre-schoolers did a bang up job and are worth every penny they’re paid each month.

The stretched canvases are 8″x8″ and sell for $33 each. Except for the majestic panorama of Mt. Pukemore which is 11″x14″ and goes for $55.

Prints are for sale at Stuff, 150 Valencia Street, SF, CA or by emailing ellistoellis@gmail.com. My precious insiders can contact me directly.

These canvases make great corporate gifts (especially in the Bible Belt), are perfect bathroom art and are wonderful for children (recommended ages: 3 to 5 years. No choking hazard!)

 In Stock Now!

Coming Soon!

Finally, with the impending semi-centennial of me donning the pink suit almost upon us, a limited edition of B for Biden prints will also be available. Limit will be determined by the number of people who order it.

These canvases are 8″x8″ and sell for $50.

But Wait, There’s More!

Added 9/18

Melania’s Logical Successor

lKanye West has qualified for the ballot in West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin,  Montana and possibly Arizona. With such widespread appeal an Electoral College sweep is almost guaranteed.

Thoughts have naturally turned towards Kim Kardashian’s Inaugural Gown. Rumor has it her dress is based on historical designs and was created by Gardena’s famous fashion house Brown Eye’s 2020.

Mrs. West enthusiastically pointed out, “if that Dolly bitch can rack her dirty pillows up with a cheap underwire, ain’t no reason I can’t tape my moobs up front and center.”

Can the powdered donuts be far behind?

No Hatch Act Violations Here

Fascist wedding cake for the soul

I’m all thumbs again. For the second time in four months I’ve spilled a liquid on the keyboard and the laptop is in the shop. So I’m creating via iphone WHICH I HATE.

But it gave me the month of August off and more time to spend with Senator Feinstein. We’ve been touring the famed nude beaches of California togetherLaptop will be back next week.

Some of the illegal imagery from the RNC is truly stunning. Like the pinkish array of American flags against the charcoal and black White House.

Since these photos were taken in violation of the Hatch Act, however, we should not be celebrating them. Nor should the media be calling them newsworthy and popularizing them. That’s just playing into Agent Orange’s slimy hands.

Give them the Gone With the Wind treatment and let’s reevaluate in 70 years.

I for one refuse to publicize these triumphs of the Victor Emmanuel Memorial school of photography. Instead I’ll share some Jim Jordan drawings I’ve been working with in a new decorating project.

Hopefully that will temporarily quench the nation’s thirst for new imagery. And whet my readers’ appetites for future posts.

Dropping Dead Caucus Tells Struggling Americans to Drop Dead

Reacting to the postponement of their August vacation, a furious Caucus of Senate Republicans About to Drop Dead convened on Monday. They showed up on Capitol Hill wearing speedos, bikinis and thongs as a silent protest. It’s unfathomable to them why they need to waste time on relief packages when they could be spending a full month at the beach.

There was the rogue presence of 67-year-old Senator Collins. Too young for the caucus, she’s franticly attending every meeting she can get into these days. It’s a desperate attempt to sell as many of her votes as possible before she loses her reelection campaign.

The other anomaly was Senator Cotton of Arkansas who is only 43. The poor thing is still having problems with his numbers. He’s pretty good counting up to 20 but after that it’s a muddled mess. He doesn’t know where he belongs.

Herman Cain’s Eulogy

Hearing of his dear friend’s death, Agent Orange informed the family he would be masklessly attending the services. They were thrilled.

The White House staff sprang into “travel mode,” i.e., finding the nearest PGA approved course so the President might get in 18 or even 36 holes. We’re talking golf here not grab ’em by the pussy. Normally a fair assumption but not for a somber occasion such as this.

Speech writing was picked up by a pasty skinned, pimpled staff prodigy from one of Virginia’s finest in-bred families. Their lineage dates back to Jamestown. The kid cut and pasted together a patchwork quilt remembrance worthy of Pericles.

The intern also benefitted from Trump’s file on Black Americans. The eulogy was sprinkled with tributes like “a seriously low IQ person,” “not really American” and “wasn’t even born in the US.”

Counselor to the President Kelly Conway happened to notice the draft on a desk as she bent over to barf into a wastebasket. No health concerns, just another purge to keep her adorable Size Zero runway figure. Although personally moved to tears, Conway realized it was not the right tone.

When a copy was leaked, the intern was removed from eulogy writing duties and reassigned. Meet your new chair of the COVID-19 Task Force!

The Cain family has since smoothed things over by saying services would be private and virtual. Agent Orange himself seemed a little contrite at his press conference, though he hid it well under his usual swagger.

After rambling on for over an hour about his new executive order restricting black home buying in the suburbs, he concluded by giving it an endearing sobriquet: Herm’s Law.

Legacies

Legacy in white with unknown vagrant.

One of my favorite Drag Queens of the Modern Era is my friend Douglas’ alter ego, Legacy. Now that I write these words I’m not sure if that’s even the correct spelling. Leg Assy would certainly be more appropriate. Until corrected, however, I’ll stick with traditional nomenclature.

He does a wonderful blend of trashy and elegant, which is not uncommon. His special give, however, is that he acts a little off. Like he’s been hit a couple of times in the head with a 2×4. Kind of Karen Black.

There is a slight reluctance in his manner because a gut feeling is telling him it’s wrong and he isn’t sure why. But it feels so good the only thing about his gut that really matters to him is the girdle cinching his waist.

When I read yesterday morning’s top stories I thought of one my favorite Nixon quotes: art is my weakness. It ranks right up there with his “I am not a crook” and “I’ve also stopped beating my wife.” I’ve been feeling weak ever since from the unending nausea that set in.

The article catching my attention was Jon McNaughton’s new portrait entitled Legacy of Hope. It is truly awful. So awful that I had to do my own version with more accurate subject matter.

Legacy is originally from Whittier which was Nixon’s birthplace. A couple verses of Will the Circle Be Unbroken may be in order right about now. If only as a soothing digestif.

 

From the Mouths of Babes

Karan Menon is great. Dispelling the stereotype that all National B champions are nerds.

Anyone else for a Biden-Menon ticket? Yes, it’s a woman’s turn but you have to latch onto genius when it presents itself.

And he is a babe too.

Karan Menon on:

The Supreme Court’s doctrine of qualified immunity (i.e., why police get away with murder.)

Why All Lives Matter is a bullshit response.

Voter Suppression in Less Than a Minute.