Now, I know how Alexis Rose must have felt. 🤠
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
I'll never forget the day I got my first job upon college graduation: 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 near and the water is clear. The air is salty, and the people are saltier... in a good way, of course! People who live in the Sunshine State have spunk and I loved it.
I was about to bid adieu to a place I called home for 22 years to follow my broadcast television dreams.
After Googling the town, I saw it had a population of around 100,500. Oh yeah, and the only image of the city that popped up was a Walmart.
When I stepped off the plane and looked around the downtown area, that's when I realized, the Schitt's Creek set is a place on Earth. Well, not really, but it looked just like where they filmed.
The river in San Angelo.Taban Sharifi
The first time I watched the show, I was in disbelief at how similar my life was when I saw these big-city characters move to a town not many heard of, especially when my flight attendant didn't even know what the airport destination was.
There's truly no better way to describe a small town than these key similarities that were seen on the show.
Outfits and the town's overall personality
The first thing I did upon arrival was shop for a car. When I went to look for my new ride, I was approached by a man with a ten-gallon hat and a thick white mustache. He wore a lined button-down 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 way more pleasant. However, you could see the physical cultural differences just by my T-shirt, jean shorts and Converse, and his cowboy-booted outfit.
The people in San Angelo were so kind it was almost angelic. It reminded me of Roland's wife Jocelyn on Schitt's Creek.
She was always willing to cook for the Roses, or teach Alexis how to get her GED, and extend a helping hand. It was the Southern charm way of living that you really can't find anywhere else.
There was one highway
Loop 360 was what they called it and it made one big circle around a city that probably took 15 minutes to get from one side to the other.
In Schitt's Creek, there wasn't even a highway, but they always showed the same roads and same shops, and that basically was 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. One time, 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 the most modern building is "Apothecary Rose", the shop started by Dan Levy's character, David.
The establishments were "well-established"
If the buildings were historic, so were the restaurants and shops. The town I lived in prided itself on Mom-and-Pop shops. So much so that when a new franchise wanted to step in, it most likely didn't survive. Everyone in that quaint little town supported small businesses, and it was shown in a massive way.
This always reminded me of when Johnny Rose wanted to set up his business and the only way he was able to do it was to support and run Bob's car shop that everyone had been going to for years.
Everyone knew everyone
Yes, really. In my big 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 nightly.
In San Angelo, you bet they had the mayor over for dinner last night. The owner of their only fine dining restaurant is coming for lunch tomorrow and they're heading to the bar with the waitress of the diner for some after-work drinks.
Similar to the sitcom, there was only one restaurant they all went to, and everyone knew the menu, the waitress, the boss, and who sat where when they went to the eatery. It was practically the same vibe.
Jenna Kelley and her friends at a café in downtown San Angelo.Jenna Kelley | Narcity
Community is everything
Local theatre, city-wide cleaning, city government meetings, chorus performances — you name it, the town was there to back it!
It was like when Moira Rose was a city commissioner, or Alexis had to clean up the roads and found out people did it just to volunteer.
If there is anything I learned in a small town, it was that it wasn't just simple living, it was family living. I was alone on the holidays, as my family was back in Florida, and my co-worker invited us over to celebrate.
Born and raised in the town, every week, that same co-worker made the weekend crew at the TV station Sunday dinner, so we didn't have to fend for ourselves.
Jenna Kelley with an animal.Jenna Kelley | Narcity
What I love so much about the series Schitt's Creek was how real it actually is.
My biggest lesson from this move was realizing that just because I was from a big city didn't mean I had an open mind, it just meant I was ignorant of how other people lived. I am forever grateful that I not only got to experience a part of my life there, but also see it be portrayed so accurately on Netflix.
But, of course, I missed the beaches and skyrises... so I moved back to Florida!
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