The Period Scene in Schitt’s Creek

Could we love David Rose more? Yes, we can because how he supported Mandy through her first period is adorable and exactly what TV needs

Like millions of others, I have a huge crush on Schitt’s Creek. Watching this 9 Emmy winner of wholesome comedy during this year has pulled so many of us from the emotional slumps of missing family and friends. Providing a plethora of uplifting moments and genuine laughter that can warm even the coldest hearts, I’ve been rewatching it and falling in love all over again. The character arcs and growth are admirable and loveable in their hilarious imperfections. But there’s one moment that stole my heart. 

Top menstruation scene on television

There are a million and one reasons to love this Canadian champion of comedy. A favourite being their awesome approach to LQBTQ love by just showing a healthy and happy relationship with no mention of homophobia or it being something to celebrate, it just is. Alongside this, as someone who loves to highlight menstruation news, the other big winner for me was when lead actor and show creator, David Rose, played by Daniel Levy, handles being caught off-guard by an untimely first period. The David Rose character is an undeniable diva who could have taken this teachable moment in the opposite direction. However, he rises above his inner diva in a way that truly warms the heart as we giggle through an ever-amusing David’s reaction.

In season 2, episode 10, Mandy, David’s boss’s step daughter, is being babysat and is sitting on David’s bed while they watch TV. What starts as a normal evening unexpectedly takes a turn for the messy when she bleeds on his 'high-thread white Egyptian cotton bedspread' - yikes! This first-time menstruator’s moment of true horror is one that many of us can relate to in some way or other. Whether it was our first time or not, we’ve all been caught off-guard at some point.

I’ve heard countless stories of people getting their period on car seats, on school trips, or in bathing suits at pool parties. Yours truly, for example, had her own bleeding moment (not a first period) on a partner’s fancy cotton sheets while she was sleeping. When I woke up and noticed my bright red period spot on those cream-coloured incredibly soft sheets, I panicked. The terrible scenes of menstruation on television, like that horribly shaming scene in Super Bad where a close dance leads to Seth’s period-stained pants at a party, ran through my head. 

I think this is why it is so important to talk about David’s reaction when handling this first period call with grace and normality while keeping true to his quirky and awkward character. He’s an incredibly dramatic (and hilarious) diva who would have been appropriately in character to freak out like we see in countless other comedic specials. David, showing a real character arc and Schitt’s Creek flexing yet another societal arc, was calm, cool and helpful. He provided encouraging words that carried zero shame, provided guidance toward products, and a solution to the visible stain (albeit both Alexis’, including the beautiful sweater to wrap around Mandy's waist to hide the stain). 

A decade later, negative portrayals of menstruation on television are becoming fewer and further between. Better role models for positive or healthy reactions to menstruation are shining through. These moments and demonstrations are important because television, alongside social media, often demonstrate proposed models and ways to act in society. As we all know, not all of these models are good, admirable, or healthy for society at large. It's important to be critical of what we see on TV, and some, like Netflix’s Big Mouth, show a great way to react to an untimely first period (more on this here: Periods and TV: From Disney to Mean Girls to Big Mouth!). 

I was queued up for a Seth-like reaction when I really had a very calm ‘let’s wash these, it’s just blood’ reaction

David Rose’s reaction to the moment, calling it “the most natural thing” as he comedically wraps up the bedding and coaches her through her panic in the washroom is heartwarming. It shows how humour can still happen in menstruation moments without ostracizing or shaming the bleeder. Making this moment even greater, David refers to menstrual products as ‘health accessories’ and not ‘sanitary napkins’, which gets a huge gold star for language. This gold star is earned because terminology matters when trying to break down the dated idea that menstruation is dirty. Employing the words ‘hygiene’ or ‘sanitary’ when discussing a menstrual product aides in maintaining periods being seen as dirty, when we know they aren't, they're just blood and discharge from a uterine lining. 

David’s behavior in this scene was amusing, caring, and on point for modelling how even the most diva of us all can act like a true non-shaming period hero. In my case, like most of the experiences that happen in the real world, bleeding on the sheets was embarrassing but not life-shattering. I emotionally queued up for a Seth-like reaction when I really had a very calm ‘let’s wash these, it’s just blood’ reaction. The dramatized moments or reactions we see on TV or create in our own minds, like Mandy and I did, only to have David or my partner be cool as cucumbers, are almost always worse than reality. 

Overall, we’re increasingly seeing the open promotion of healthier outlooks and reactions to menstruation in television and it’s fantastic. Schitt’s Creek absolutely swept the Emmy’s and carries lots of fun and healthy images for societal modelling. When thinking specifically of the overall positive depictions of menstruation and LGBTQ communities, we can happily categorize it as a major winner in paving the way for lasting positive impact.