Tag Archives: Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek expands in Season 2

One of the big surprises in Season 1 of Schitt’s Creek were the relationships. Far from being a formulaic comedy series hitting viewers with a rat-a-tat-tat of jokes, Dan Levy’s co-creation showed real heart among its characters … when they weren’t caught in cringe-inducing situations.

By the end of the rookie go-round, David Rose (Dan Levy) was speeding out of town in a stolen truck after breaking up with Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire) and Alexis Rose (Annie Murphy) was trying to decide which man she wanted to be with: stoic, stable Ted (Dustin Milligan) or rough and tumble Mutt (Tim Rozon). Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) and Moira (Catherine O’Hara), meanwhile, were plotting to get the family out of Schitt’s Creek. When Season 2 returns to CBC in January with two back-to-back episodes, three days have elapsed since David disappeared and Alexis decides to cut Ted loose.

“Ted returns a changed man after going on a honeymoon by himself,” Dan says with a smile while O’Hara cackles with glee. “Ted goes away to a sunny resort and learns a lot about himself.” The same is true of the other major characters; Johnny is plans to sell Schitt’s Creek but opens up an office in the meantime, Moira attempts to inject the town with some sophistication and David goes looking for a job. Now that the writers’ room members know more about the characters, they can interplay and explore other parts of the town.

“We definitely went into this season saying, ‘OK, let’s go with some different pairings,'” Dan says. “We see a really lovely episode between Moira and Alexis halfway through the season.”

“They wrote a great story,” O’Hara says. “Alexis gets sick and Moira doesn’t know how to mother her. There was always someone there to take care of Alexis when she was growing up. These are new experiences for Moira.” O’Hara is quick to point out Moira is forced into these mothering situations; there is no forethought or plan to make her a better mom. Or cook, as illustrated in Episode 2 of Season 2, when Moira’s attempt to re-create a Mexican dish from her own mom’s recipe turns into a fiasco in Jocelyn’s (Jennifer Robertson) kitchen.

David, meanwhile, goes on a job hunt, which leads to the introduction of a new character played by former Saturday Night Live and SCTV actress Robin Duke.

“David gets a job at a clothing store and she plays Wendy, the manager of the store,” he teases. “The store is struggling, so she is balancing the reality of an unstable business with having hired David, who wants to redo the whole store. His ideas are not coming from a business mind.” Also on tap? More Twyla (Sarah Levy), thanks to a group activity that starts happening in the town.

“Again, this was a way of showing our characters in different lights and providing a different through-line that was outside of the areas we’ve associated them with.”

Schitt’s Creek returns Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Plus: Vote for Schitt’s Creek for Favourite Canadian TV Series of 2015.


Schitt’s Creek returns to CBC in January

From a media release:

Schitt’s Creek Season 2 is set to launch this winter with a double episode on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 9 p.m./9:30 NT.

In the second season, after a failed attempt to sell the town, the once rich and powerful Rose family come to the depressing realization that their stay in Schitt’s Creek may be longer than they originally hoped. Father and former video store magnate, Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) continues to look for ways to extricate his family from life in their sad little town, while his wife, former soap star, Moira (Catherine O’Hara) searches for ways to grace the town with her sophistication and taste. As for their spoiled children, David (Daniel Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy), they must do the unthinkable – find jobs. The Roses will bloom again – even if it’s in Schitt’s Creek.


TV Eh B Cs podcast 31 – Annie Murphy Rocks the Fire Tornado

Annie1Annie Murphy is a graduate of both the Canadian Film Centre Actors’ Conservatory and the Theatre Performance Program at Concordia University.

Her projects have included Beauty & The Beast, Rookie Blue, Flashpoint, Good God, The Story of Jen and Blue Mountain State. Murphy has also spent time on stages in Montreal and Toronto.

She is currently starring in Schitt’s Creek for CBC as Alexis Rose, and the day we recorded, her new CBC web series The Plateaus hit the web with the first five episodes of a story about a band of brother, sister, best friends, lovers, and lastly, musicians.

Listen or download below, or subscribe via iTunes or any other podcast catcher with the TV, eh? podcast feed.

Want to become a Patron of the Podcast? We’ve got a Patreon page where you can donate a small amount per podcast and get a sneak peek of each release.


Interview: Annie Murphy finds gold in Schitt’s Creek

It’s hard to believe, but Annie Murphy once auditioned for the role of Stevie on Schitt’s Creek. After a full season of CBC’s newest sitcom—heading into its season finale tonight—it’s hard to picture the Toronto actress as anything but Alexis Rose, sister to David (Dan Levy) and daughter to Moira (Catherine O’Hara) and Johnny (Eugene Levy).

That’s because viewers have connected with these characters in speedy fashion. As Diane Wild pointed out in her piece, Eugene and Dan Levy have created a series that successfully balances laughs with heart. In a short period of time, they’ve crafted relationships between Stevie (Emily Hampshire) and David, and Alexis, Ted (Dustin Milligan) and Mutt (Tim Rozon) that are silly and believable. That’s not easy for a sitcom, let alone one in its first season.

Those relationships are tested in Tuesday’s finale, as Johnny arrives at the motel to tell his family there’s a buyer for Schitt’s Creek and they’re getting out. While Moira and Johnny are thrilled, David and Alexis are less enthusiastic. After all, they’ve fostered friendships (some with benefits), and are loathe to leave them.

We spoke to Annie Murphy about the season on the whole.

Tell me how you got on Schitt’s Creek in the first place. Was it a casting call?
Annie Murphy: I was in L.A. for pilot season and having a really miserable time there. This audition came down the line and it was the first audition in a long time that I got super excited about it and obviously the names attached to it were pretty intriguing. So, I went in in L.A. and Dan was in the room. It was the first audition ever where I walked in confident and walked out confident. I doubt it will ever happen again. [Laughs.] That was it. I got a call from Dan a few days later saying that he wanted me to read for the role of Stevie. I flew back to Toronto and auditioned for Stevie and then screen tested for both roles in front of a room of people who I now know are lovely people but in the moment it was very daunting.

Then there was a very, very long two weeks of my life where I heard nothing. After a week and a half I had prepared myself for the absolute worst. I got a phone call and on the display it said ‘Eugene Levy,’ and all the blood drained from my body. It was Dan on the other end and he goes, ‘Hey Annie, it’s Dan Levy calling. I just wanted to thank you for all of your hard work and tell you how much we appreciated and enjoyed your auditions.’ He said it in this sad, sombre tone. And then he just didn’t say anything. So, I was scrambling and thanking him for letting me get that far.

And then he said, ‘OK, before I let you go, I have a quick question: how would you like to play my sister?’ As corny as it was, it was one of the best moments of my life.

I had a bit of a hard time finding my place at the beginning of the show, just because all of these other people had been doing it for so long.

How different would the show have been if you had played Stevie?
I honestly don’t think anyone could have done it but Emily. She is just so perfect for the role. The dynamic between Emily and Dan is so fantastic in their snarky, sarcastic tone. But he and I have that dynamic too. I feel like I’ve known him for a long time, we’ve been bickering for decades. The casting was just spot-on.

David and Alexis have a fascinating relationship. It would be easy to have them be combative all the time, but they’re not like that. And by the end of this season they’re really there for each other.
I’m an only child, so it’s been very interesting to play a sibling dynamic. I feel like David and Alexis had to cling to each other when they were children. It’s been a really, really neat opportunity to play the borderline hatred sometimes, but knowing at the end of the day they can always rely on each other. Literally right next to each other at night. [Laughs.]

It’s hard to develop characters in a sitcom, especially in a first season.
What I love about this show is that these characters are very honest and the comedy comes from the terrible situations they find themselves in. It’s not a set-up and then a punchline. It has been really cool to find those moments of genuine sadness in a show that’s so funny. Genuine concern. Genuine anger. Every character has been written so well that there is a beautiful range to every one.

What have you learned about yourself, comedically, from working on Schitt’s Creek?
I had a bit of a hard time finding my place at the beginning of the show, just because all of these other people had been doing it for so long. I wasn’t challenging myself to take risks or go out on a limb and try something as everyone else did. But as the season went on, and because of how encouraging everyone on the show was, I did learn that I can go for it. Sometimes that’s a good idea, and sometimes that’s a horrible idea, but I learned to be impulsive and trust in myself.

Is there anything you’d like to see Alexis do in Season 2?
I’d like her to show more independence at some point, but I won’t complain.

Maybe she’ll gain independence by moving into her own motel room.
That would be a start. That would be a nice start.

The season finale of Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.


Interview: Jennifer Robertson, No. 1 with a (Nutri)Bullet

Jennifer Robertson is quick to admit she was a bundle of nerves on her first day on Schitt’s Creek. It wasn’t the content. Robertson has made a living out of writing and performing comic material in projects like Comedy Inc. and Little Mosque on the Prairie. It was co-stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara who reduced her to a bundle of nerves.

But get through it she did, and Season 1 of CBC’s Tuesday night sitcom has been a breeze since. The Vancouver native plays Jocelyn Schitt, schoolteacher wife to town mayor Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott), who is forming a bond with Moira Rose (O’Hara). We spoke to Robertson about working with two comic legends, what she looks for in a role and why O’Hara wanted to buy her NutriBullet. Oh, and an odd nickname for her hometown.

Where am I speaking to you today from?
Jennifer Robertson: I’m in Vancouver. I’m visiting family, so I’m in ‘the ‘couv.’

Wait, what? Is that the short form for Vancouver?
I don’t know. [To her family in the background:] Hey, do you guys call it ‘the couv’ or is it just me? Vancouverites call it Vancouver, apparently. But assholes like me that live in L.A. call it ‘the couv.’ The kids call it Van. [Laughs.]

You have a lot of experience in the comic world, whether it be writing or performing, but what’s it like to work with Eugene, Catherine and Chris on something like this?
Obviously, it’s amazing. I wasn’t eased into it. My first day on set was a scene with Catherine and Eugene and I was losing it. I was befuddled and confused. I finally had to say, ‘I’m just so sorry, it’s because of you guys and I will pull it together.’ And we laughed and moved on from there. You know when you start working with them why they’ve achieved the level of success that they have. They’re so good at what they do and they put so much care into what they do.

Dan’s always put together and he’s meticulous and you’re like, ‘Ug, can you be messy just once?’

I feel like Catherine is very unassuming and isn’t sure what the fuss about her is about.
Yes. I think she views herself as a very ordinary person. I had bought a NutriBullet to use while I was there and on our last day together she wanted to buy it from me. She said, ‘Can I buy it from you? What do you want, $50?’ And I said, ‘You can just have it.’ She said, ‘Oh I couldn’t. I have to give you cash for that.’ She’s very, very sweet.

You bought a NutriBullet for while you were working on the show?
Yes, for smoothies and juicing and stuff. It’s funny, because when I arrived in Toronto and went to Walmart to get it I looked around and realized, yup, this is what Jocelyn wears. She is a very polyester kind of gal. Everything is tight and ill-fitting, and as you get older you realize it’s all about fabric and fit.

Schitt’s Creek is very much about the subtle humour. Is that something you had to learn or did it come naturally?
It was a great lesson on how to reel it in. Like on Comedy Inc., it was all about bigger, bigger, bigger. So to go from that to this was definitely a shift, but it’s enjoyable because it feels more grounded. It’s like a burger and a steak. This is more like a steak laugh because you’ve invested more into it. Eugene stressed very early on that that was where we were going with it and we embraced it.

A generation of viewers only know Dan Levy from MTV, but both he and Annie Murphy are fantastic comic actors.
Yes! I only knew Dan from MTV and it’s his show and his vision so that’s part of it but yeah, his timing is incredible. The episode where he’s selling his clothes … he was so incredible because you can feel his pain. He isn’t that character but there are elements of him that are. He’s always put together and he’s meticulous and you’re like, ‘Ug, can you be messy just once?’

Annie is amazing and the chemistry between the two of them is exactly the same. They are always teasing each other and making fun of each other.

I was like, ‘You actually have a skill! You just made a functioning well in two hours! That’s way more impressive than what I do for a living!’

We got a bit of back story with regard to Jocelyn. We found out she’s a teacher. Will there be more classroom scenes?

Not really, but what I think is great is that you see a relationship building between Moira and Jocelyn. It’s really fun and Catherine and I agreed that in a lot of shows female characters are combative and our choice was not to make it that way. We may not understand each other in this scene but maybe we don’t need to fight. That’s a Season 1 thing for sure.

How did you get the role of Jocelyn? Did you audition?
I did audition, yeah. The good old fashioned way!

Is that the norm for you?
Yeah. I’m not at that level where I don’t have to. If it’s Canadian and I know the person really well and there is a guest star part … I have been offered guest star parts, but in terms of series leads I’ve always had to audition.

What do you look for in a gig?
It depends on what it is. A lot of times I’m just looking for a job. If it’s something that I’m writing or creating than it’s a whole other thing. There have been things along the way that I’ve been so lucky to have been able to create and have a voice in and those things you cling a little bit tighter to than if it’s somebody else’s show.

You hosted Canada’s Handyman Challenge. What was that like?
That was so much fun. Those guys are great and I was amazed at the contestants. I was like, ‘You actually have a skill! You just made a functioning well in two hours! That’s way more impressive than what I do for a living!’ It was a great experience.

Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.