It’s the beginning of the end for Schitt’s Creek. The CBC series, which has garnered acclaim in Canada and the U.S.â€”where it airs on Pop TVâ€”bows its final episodes beginning Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.
To say Schitt’s Creek, co-created by and starring Daniel and Eugene Levy, has been groundbreaking is an understatement. What began as a snicker-worthy word gag because of its title has evolved into a truly wonderfully heartfelt series about acceptance, love and family. And, the characters have evolved with it, including Twyla. When we were first introduced to Twyla, she was friendly, but a little dim. Now, she and fellow supporting characters like Patrick, Ted and Ronnie have become fan favourites, equal to main characters David, Johnny, Moira (Catherine O’Hara), Alexis (Annie Murphy), Roland (Chris Elliott) and Stevie (Emily Hampshire).
We spoke to Sarah Levy about how she scored the role of Twyla, playing a beloved character, saying goodbye to the series and what her future holds.
I’m sorry that Schitt’s Creek is ending, but I respect Daniel deciding this would be the final season and concluding the series the way he wants to.
Sarah Levy: I think that’s exactly it. I mean, so often we see shows really just go for as long as they can. I admire that but on the other hand, I think that it’s necessary that when you’re telling a story, there is an ending to that story. And quality does decrease when you just kind of keep it going for the sake of keeping it going. So I give a lot of credit to Daniel and dad for ending a good thing while we’re on top.
Let’s go back to the beginning. In the first season, Twyla was introduced as a well-intentioned waitress who seemed a bit dim. How did you end up on the show in the first place? Did you have to audition or was it assumed you’d be a part of it?
SL: It was kind of insane. I had majored in theatre at university. I studied it and then I moved out to L.A. to pursue acting. So I had been here for a couple of years and then Daniel moved here once he finished up with MTV. [He and my dad] had this idea and they asked if I wanted to be a part of it if it was even something that I want it to be a part of. And of course, it was. The opportunity to work with my family seemed a really wonderful thing. And we obviously had no idea where it would go, but I went along for the ride gladly.
Twyla has grown over the last five seasons and become very much a beloved character, alongside Ronnie and Patrick. What has it been like seeing these characters evolve?
SL: I think it’s incredible and it’s a testament to the writing as well, that these characters aren’t getting lost. They’re all so well crafted and unique and well written and we have wonderful people playing those characters, Noah Reid and Karen Robinson. So it’s been incredible the support that we’ve gotten from fans when it comes to our characters because they aren’t necessarily onscreen all the time, but they make their mark and I think that’s the most important fan part.
The other thing that has been amazing is how the writing room has introduced LGBTQ storylines. Very often that can be done very heavy-handed in primetime television. I’ve loved the way that it’s just been subtle; this is just the way the people are.
SL: That was something, again, that Daniel had been very strategic about. We’re so used to seeing these relationships on television being made a huge deal out of it and drawing attention to it, and is it good or is it bad and everybody kind of has a say in it. He was so adamant about it just being another relationship on television. We’re not trying to make it anything more than just a beautiful love story between two people.
We saw Patrick and David the proposal happened and the acceptance. Is it safe to assume that there’s a wedding in this final season?
SL: I think it’s safe to assume that there’s something of a wedding.
Are you happy with the way that the show ends? Do you think that fans will be happy?
SL: I’m more than happy with how it ended. I still love watching it like everybody else, all the fans, I don’t like to see anything really before it airs and I watch each episode as it airs. I think everyone is going to be so satisfied with this ending. I think that’s the beauty of being able to end it when you want that you can craft it in a way that ties everything up in a beautiful bow without cutting anything short before its time. And of course, it’s bittersweet, it was a sad day but we can’t deny that is a beautiful ending and I really think that everyone’s going to just cry some happy tears.
What can you say about Twyla’s storylines for the sixth season?
SL: It’s more of advice-giving. One of my favourite things about Twyla and Alexis is they’ve developed this really wonderful friendship where they give each other advice … more Twyla giving Alexis advice on things that she should probably do or not do. We get into a couple of those scenarios. I think everyone is going to be thrilled and excited and so pleased with her future.
You’ve signed on to a new series. Tell me about it.
SL: It’s called Best Intentions and it’s for Pop TV. We don’t know exact dates of when that starts, but sometime in the spring and it has a great cast and it’s written by Adam Herz who actually wrote American Pie. So we’re in wonderful hands and it’s very full circle for me actually because we shot the pilot last year, which marked the 20th anniversary of American Pie. And it was very surreal to now have my own working relationship with Adam because he works so closely with my dad. So it was a really fun shoot and hopefully, we can continue that.
Finally, you released a Christmas song just before the holidays. How did ‘Big Christmas’ come about?
SL: I’ve been writing music for as long as I can remember and I play piano and guitar and music has always been a huge part of my life growing up. My grandmother was a great singer, my mom is a great singer, songwriter and dad won a Grammy for songwriting. So maybe it’s this subcategory of our family dynamic that not many people know about. I’ve been working with a writing partner, a woman named Shevy Smith, who’s a fantastic writer and producer and singer. We’ve been working through the fall just writing some stuff. And I went to her and said, ‘Should we really be writing a Christmas song?’ I’ve always thought it was a really daunting challenge because Christmas is so saturated.
We just tried to write something that we loved, and that was really the point of it. Something that had a positive message and was about being together with the people you love, whoever those people are, whether it be family or friends or someone you love. And we just wrote it in about a session and a half and then it took no longer than a week before we recorded it and put it out. So it all happened very quickly but we’re so thrilled, it’s so exciting.
Download Sarah’s single, “Big Christmas” on Spotify or iTunes.
Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.
Images courtesy of CBC.