An Ode to Moira Rose of Schitt's Creek, the Most Delightfully Absurd Mother on TV

Catherine O'Hara gave TV audiences one memorable character in Moira Rose on Schitt's Creek.

By Chris Harnick May 10, 2020 1:00 PMTags
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There is—and never will be—another character like Moira Rose.

It's been more than a month since the show ended and the Schitt's Creek matriarch has never been far from top of mind. Her over-the-top wardrobe, unique cadence and colorful career made her one of TV's most beloved characters—and that's why we're honoring her on this Mother's Day.

Perfectly played by Catherine O'Hara, Moira and her wigs burst onto the scene in 2015 when Schitt's Creek premiered. Over the six seasons, each character on the series created by and starring Eugene Levy and son Dan Levy, grew. Schitt's Creek, the town, saved the Roses—father Johnny (Eugene Levy), mom Moira, son David (Dan Levy) and daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy)—after they were forced to relocate there following the loss of their wealth.

The Schitt's Creek Wedding Album

What made the show—and Moira specifically—so satisfying were the character arcs. After six seasons, the characters were still recognizable as the (fictional) people they were at the start of the show, but there was real growth for viewers to experience. For Moira, the development was slower. That was intentional and something O'Hara had a hand in while working with Dan Levy on the character.

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"We would get to collaborate a bit on how her growth would happen. I'm glad we held it back for Moira," she said. "Johnny, God bless him, was just trying to keep up his energy, trying to get his life back together for us. He took on the responsibilities for the family. And we were all depending on him and as little as we reminded him of that, he knew every day when he woke up, it was his job to take care of all of us to get our lives back. And the kids, David and Alexis, just blossomed in this town with the relationships and finding themselves and gaining confidence and finding out how much they could do when it wasn't just handed to them, and how capable and talented they were. And Moira's growth was a lot slower. I think Moira was always in love with her husband and thought she was a good mother, but I loved how every typical mother-child dynamic was completely alien to her and to them, because they were alien, they were totally fresh for them. And that was so great to be able to play that."

The care that was taken in developing this character, a character who could easily be one-note, is evident to any viewer, whether it's their first viewing or a revisit. It's one of the aspects of Moira that elevated the character to, let's face it, legendary status.

"When we first started writing it, I was thinking to myself, like, ‘Geez, I wonder if people will get this.' And I'm very pleased that they have. I mean, to see her face pop up all over the internet at least once a day, it's a wonderful gift. I think in a way it just goes to sort of further exemplify how brilliant Catherine is," Dan Levy previously told E! News. "She's a legend."

Watch: Our Favorite Moments From "Schitt's Creek"

Moira will always be remembered for the wigs, the fashion that's spawned numerous tributes, the undistinguishable accent and the colorful vocabulary that flew out every time O'Hara opened her mouth in character. It's all how Moira Rose instantly became a gay icon.

She's the mother gay men wish they had growing up. She oozed fabulousness and camp (in the best way possible) at every turn, whether it was preparing to address the press after her death was incorrectly reported or trying to fold in the cheese while making enchiladas.

"It's really, really fun to play Moira…it's really fun because it's different from anything I've played, it's different from most people in the world [Laughs.], but I guess her insecurity is relatable. She's a freak and she's relatable at the same time. And I get to be ridiculous, and at my age, that's too rare a thing, I think for actors my age," O'Hara told E! News in 2019.

She's a freak, she's relatable, and she'll go down as one of the best TV moms—and best TV characters in general—in history.