The Addams Family set the standard for a loving marriage, but Schitt’s Creek showcases a new, mundane brand of healthy relationship.
Too often comedies rely on dysfunctional relationships as a source of laughs, pitting spouses against each other for the sake of a joke. While these can be amusing, it makes those rare healthy marriages even more exceptional. The Addams Family‘s Morticia and Gomez Addams have provided one of these exceptional marriages, giving an example of what a healthy relationship could look like even in a comedy. However, today’s audiences have a new example: Johnny and Moira Rose from the hit comedy Schitt’s Creek.
Morticia and Gomez Addams have long been the paragon of relationship goals. They are devoted to each other, finding joy in even the smallest moments they share. For instance, a family breakfast can easily provide an opportunity for the two to fawn over each other. More than just doting on each other, Morticia and Gomez are also attentive parents, eager to spend time with their children and see them succeed.
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Johnny and Moira Rose don’t immediately give off Morticia and Gomez vibes, but beneath the surface is a positive depiction of marriage for a new generation. Moira, a soap opera star accustomed to bespoke gowns and at a loss when it comes to housework, could have easily be enraged about their family’s loss of wealth and taken it out on her husband. Instead, she bemoans her fate while standing alongside Johnny, with a we’re-in-this-together attitude that makes Schitt’s Creek hopeful from the get-go.
Johnny and Moira are also good about asking for what they need and want. When Johnny’s excited about celebrating Christmas, he asks Moira to get on board, even though she doesn’t share his excitement, and she easily takes on the role of holiday hype-person in order to give Johnny the Christmas he wants. Being honest with each other about their wishes and asking for support can be hard, but Johnny and Moira show how easily it can be done.
The Schitt’s Creek couple also demonstrate the importance of setting boundaries. When Johnny gets the chance to join Moira’s singing group, she tells him that she appreciates his company, but she needs a space to call her own. Neither takes offense at this, and instead they see it as an opportunity to pursue separate activities for themselves. Healthy relationships incorporate some moments of space for each member to grow as individuals, and Johnny and Moira remind viewers of the importance of separate identities.
The Addams and Rose couples both provide examples of what healthy marriages can look like. They show teamwork and continued passion, especially after the honeymoon period of a new marriage. Depicting an established relationship where love and devotion are still present is unusual and what sets these two couples apart.
Of course, the two couples aren’t exactly the same. Morticia and Gomez are all about their shared passion, turning every moment they’re together into the sexually-charged atmosphere of a gothic romance. Johnny and Moira are certainly still attracted to each other, with episodes focused on them sharing alone time, but what they privilege instead are the mundane acts of a healthy marriage.
Morticia and Gomez Addams provided a generation with representation for what a healthy married life could look like. While these characters are still icons, Johnny and Moira Rose have given viewers not only an alternative, less passionate glimpse into a healthy relationship, but a new example for a new generation.
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