Welcome to the 29th article of our 2020 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Today we’re celebrating Patrick Brewer from Schitt’s Creek, a comedy television series that ran from 2015-2020 which followed the lives of the Rose family post-bankruptcy as they were forced to say goodbye to their lavish lifestyle and found themselves living out of a motel in the town of Schitt’s Creek. Patrick, portrayed by Noah Reid, joined the show midway through season 3 and went on to become a series regular thereafter through the sixth and final season.
When we first meet Patrick Brewer, he’s working for real estate agent/travel agent/photographer Ray Butani. In comparison to most of the other residents of Schitt’s Creek, who are all heavily defined by their various bold and eccentric characteristics, Patrick is essentially the most normal and down-to-earth person to step foot in the town. Enter David Rose, and it couldn’t be more clear that the two are polar opposites — whereas David is bright, loud, and lovably dramatic, Patrick is an unassuming and all around easygoing guy. He’s also nothing like any of David’s previous love interests.
After helping David set up his business license, Patrick goes on to become David’s business partner for the artisanal general store Rose Apothecary. David is thoroughly convinced that, despite the fact that they have continued to grow closer, Patrick has nothing beyond a professional interest in him. After their not-date-actually-is-a-date birthday dinner, during which Patrick gives David an incredibly thoughtful gift, David throws caution to the wind and kisses Patrick after he drives him home. Patrick’s response is without a doubt one of the most pure and wholesome things that could have been said in that moment, and one that other shows and films should take note of. This interaction really set the stage for how the show was going to handle Patrick’s sexuality and the development of his relationship with David.
“Thank you, I’ve never done that before with a guy. I was getting a little scared that I was going to let you leave here without us having done that, so thank you for making it happen for us.”
One of the most wonderful things about Schitt’s Creek is that homophobia is not given a place in the series, despite its small town setting. So as we watch Patrick carefully explore and learn about his sexuality as his relationship with David blossoms, it’s treated in such a refreshingly beautiful way without unnecessary drama. Even when it seemed as if the show was veering into “homophobic parents” territory when Patrick’s parents were introduced, it turned out that their only issue and concern was that they were upset that their son felt that he couldn’t tell them about David in the first place — they were more than accepting of the fact that he was dating a man.
Although David defines himself as pansexual, which we learned through his excellent wine explanation (“I like the wine, and not the label”), Patrick never explicitly vocalizes his own sexual orientation. Canonically, we simply have the information that Patrick has never been with a man before David, and he was engaged to a woman previously. However, in the episode “Meet the Parents,” Patrick’s parents refer to him as gay, David does not correct them, and he also refers to Patrick as gay himself. Additionally, in “A Whisper of Desire,” Moira and Patrick have an important conversation during the Cabaret auditions.
Moira: Okay, the thing you must understand about Cliff, Patrick, is that he has been with many women, but he’s never derived true pleasure from it.
Patrick: I think I can wrap my head around that.
Regardless of whether Patrick defines himself as gay, bisexual, pansexual, or something else entirely, the show doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Patrick’s coming out and the development of his relationship with David thereafter is treated matter-of-factly, and we as viewers are able to simply love and be invested in their courtship like any other couple on television. (Perhaps even more so than other couples, actually, because David and Patrick are literally goals.)
Speaking of the aforementioned Cabaret, the musical was one of the biggest highlights in Patrick’s personal story arc, as he was given the opportunity to step outside of the comfort zone of his normally laid back nature in exchange for quite literally strutting his stuff on stage like an absolute star.
A really beautiful aspect of Patrick’s relationship with David is that despite the fact that David may have more experience in the realm of “dating another man,” he’s not exactly an expert with the more emotional and affectionate side of things. Patrick, who serves as a steady and guiding foundation for David throughout the course of their relationship, helps his boyfriend to soften the sharp edges of his aversion to certain emotions, significantly strengthening their bond in the process. Patrick’s acoustic rendition of Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” in the episode “Open Mic” was a key turning point for them. What David expected to be a mortifying display of affection turned out to be a monumental moment in which he was able to finally come to terms with the depth of his feelings for Patrick.
And finally, in what is arguably one of the most tear-jerking and tender moments of Schitt’s Creek, Patrick proposes to David while they’re on a hike with not one but four gold rings (because, of course). Their wedding in the series finale episode was also equally incredible, especially as the Jazzagals ushered David down the aisle with another beautiful rendition of “Simply the Best.”
Overall, Patrick Brewer was an incredible addition to the world of Schitt’s Creek; both his personal and romantic story arcs throughout his three and a half seasons on the show were handled wonderfully and serve as an example of representation done right.
David Rose fans, make sure to take a look back our 2019 Pride Month feature on him as well. And for those that took an interest in Patrick’s singing career after his Tina Turner cover, Noah Reid himself is a musician in real life! He just recently released his second album, Gemini.
Stay tuned every day in the month of June for more articles highlighting LGBTQIA+ voices. Read spotlights from earlier in the month here.