Using a song to amp up a scene is tricky business. The wrong one can lead to a disconnect and snap the viewer right out of it. But when it’s done right, it can inspire, create emotion and become something iconic.
Schitt’s Creek did the latter last Tuesday when Patrick (Noah Reid) performed “Simply the Best” to David (Daniel Levy) during an open mic night at Rose Apothecary. The stripped-down, acoustic version of the Tina Turner classic was easily the most talked about scene of Season 4 and elevated Patrick and David’s relationship to something truly special, a fact Reid is still amazed and gratified by a week later.
“It’s wild,” Noah says during a chat on the phone. “I’ve been sort of following it peripherally through family who’ve said, ‘Oh my god, it’s in the iTunes Top 10.’ When we made the song, I was super nervous about it because I knew it had the potential to be a really big moment for both the characters and the audience.” Reid, who released his debut album Songs From A Broken Chair in 2016—and snagged a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Original Song for his work in the feature film People Hold On—was skittish about taking Tina Turner’s 1991 smash hit and turning it into a memorable moment for Patrick and David.
“Dan said that the lyrics never get their due because it’s such a pop anthem, so you think of the instrumentation and the chorus,” Reid recalls. He struggled with nailing down the tempo of his arrangement before finding inspiration in the guitar pattern of a tune by Afie Jurvanen (a.k.a. Bahamas) that lifted the song.
Related: CBC renews Schitt’s Creek for Season 5
The tune is the capper to what has been the wonderful growth of a relationship. Rather than the mean-spirited mockery that has become a trope of primetime comedies, Levy and his team have created something special. Yes, Patrick teases David and points at his partner’s neuroses (to the delight of Stevie and viewers), but it’s done gently and out of love.
Reid is mum regarding questions about whether Patrick will perform another song for David in the coming weeks, or what’s in store for the couple as Season 4 winds down, but was quick to answer if there was a song that connected a scene the way “Simply the Best” has with Schitt’s Creek viewers.
“The benchmark for me is probably Glen Hansard in Once,” he says. “The way that the songs were woven in and were such an integral part of the story. He’s such an incredible musician and singer and Markéta Irglová, who plays the pianist in that film, they had a really amazing connection too.”
Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.
Image courtesy of CBC.