This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Narcity Media.
I’ll never forget the day I landed my first job after graduating from college: a television news anchor in a small town in Texas, San Angelo, to be exact.
I’m a Floridian, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, where the beaches are close and the water is clear. The air is salty, and people are saltier…in a good way, of course! People who live in the Sunshine State have cum and I loved it.
I was about to say goodbye to a place I’ve called home for 22 years to pursue my TV dreams.
After searching the city on Google, I saw that it had a population of around 100,500. Oh yeah, and the only picture of town that popped up was a Walmart.
When I got off the plane and looked around downtown, that’s when I realized the Schitt’s Creek the whole is a place on Earth. Well, not really, but it looked exactly like where they filmed.
The river at San Angelo.Taban Charifi
The first time I watched the show I was in disbelief how similar my life was when I saw these big city characters move to a little known city, especially when my flight attendant didn’t even know what was the destination of the airport. .
There really is no better way to describe a small town than these key similarities that have been seen on the show.
The outfits and general personality of the town
The first thing I did when I arrived was to buy a car. When I went to pick up my new vehicle, I was approached by a man with a ten gallon hat and a thick white mustache. He was wearing a lined button-down shirt tucked into a big rodeo-style belt buckle and jeans, and he was my salesman.
It was almost like the first time the Rose family met Roland, only my experience was much more pleasant. However, you could see the physical cultural differences just by my T-shirt, my denim shorts and my Converse, and his outfit of cowboy boots.
The people of San Angelo were so nice it was almost angelic. It reminded me of Roland Jocelyn’s wife on Schitt’s Creek.
She was always ready to cook for the Roses, or teach Alexis how to get her GED and reach out. It was the southern charm way of life that you really won’t find anywhere else.
There was a highway
The 360 loop was what they called it and it was a big circle around a city that probably took 15 minutes to go side to side.
In Schitt’s Creekthere wasn’t even a freeway, but they still showed the same roads and shops, and that was basically their downtown.
Downtown Historic Buildings
There’s nothing that screams small town more than historic buildings. In San Angelo, the buildings were so vintage that some were even abandoned. Once I even covered a story about a building that collapsed because the structure was so old around a restaurant.
In the show, you can see that the most modern building is “Apothecary Rose”, the shop created by Dan Levy’s character, David.
Establishments were “well established”
If the buildings were historic, so were the restaurants and shops. The city I lived in was proud of Mom-and-Pop stores. So much so that when a new franchise wanted to step in, it probably didn’t survive. Everyone in this quaint little town was supportive of small business, and it showed in a big way.
It always reminded me of when Johnny Rose wanted to start his business and the only way he was able to do that was to support and run Bob’s car shop where everyone had been going for years.
Everybody knew everybody
Yes really. In my great city of Fort Lauderdale, you never knew the mayor personally or the owner of the grocery store, or the waiter at that restaurant that serves you in the evening.
In San Angelo, you bet they invited the mayor to dinner last night. The owner of their only fine dining restaurant is coming over for lunch tomorrow and they head to the bar with the restaurant waitress for an after work drink.
Similar to the sitcom, there was only one restaurant where they all went, and everyone knew the menu, the waitress, the patron, and who sat where when they went to the restaurant. It was practically the same atmosphere.
Jenna Kelley and her friends at a cafe in downtown San Angelo.Jenna Kelley | Narcity
Community is everything
Local theater, citywide cleanup, city government meetings, choir performances – you name it, the city was there to support it!
It was like when Moira Rose was city commissioner, or Alexis had to clean the roads and found out that people were doing it just to volunteer.
If there’s anything I learned in a small town, it wasn’t just a simple life, it was a family life. I was alone during the holidays, because my family was back in Florida and my colleague invited us to celebrate.
Born and raised in the city, every week this same co-worker made the weekend Sunday dinner crew of the TV station, so we didn’t have to fend for ourselves.
Jenna Kelley with an animal.Jenna Kelley | Narcity
What I like so much about the series Schitt’s Creek was how real it was.
My biggest lesson from this move was realizing that just because I was from a big city didn’t mean I was open-minded, it just meant I didn’t know how other people lived. I’m forever grateful to not only have been able to live part of my life there, but also to have seen it so faithfully represented on Netflix.
But, of course, I missed the beaches and the skyscrapers… so I went back to Florida!