by Tierney Bricker | Sat., Apr. 11, 2020 3:00 PM
A Canadian treasure once sang "Goodbye's the saddest word I'll ever hear"... and it seems like Céline Dion was singing about our feelings toward Schitt's Creek.
The beloved POP TV series ended its six-season run on Tuesday, with viewers getting their one last stay at the Rose Motel with the Rose family after three years of laughs, love and A Little Bit Alexis.
Co-created by real-life father and son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, who also star as father and son Johnny and David Rose, Schitt's Creek became the little Canadian show no one saw becoming a pop culture phenomenon. But thanks to stellar comedic (and emotional) performances—including a career-best from Catherine O'Hara as Moira—endlessly quotable one-liners and meme-able moments, and delivering one of modern TV's most lovable romances with David and Patrick (Noah Reid), it will end as one of TV's most adored comedies.
What better way to send-off Schitt's Creek than be looking back over its six-year run and revealing some behind-the-scenes facts about some of its most iconic moments, including Annie Murphy's iconic "A Little Bit Alexis" performance, David and Patrick's unexpected romance and which fan-favorite almost dropped out of the show before it began filming in 2014.
Here are 25 secrets you might not know about Schitt's Creek... (and no, one of them is not that Sarah Levy, Dan's real-life sister and Eugene's daughter plays Twyla. What is this, amateur hour?!)
1. Fans of MTV's The Hills likely remember Dan as the co-host of the live after show, and in a 2015 interview with Out magazine, Dan revealed reality TV inspired Schitt's Creek.
"It really just started with me being in Los Angeles, knowing that I wanted to write," he explained. "I had been watching some reality TV at the time and was concentrating on what would happen if one of these wealthy families would lose everything. Would the Kardashians still be the Kardashians without their money?"
2. The concept of Johnny Rose buying a small town was inspired by a real celebrity: Kim Basinger buying a town in Georgia in 1989.
3. While he had never turned to his famous father for help prior, Dan told Variety he decided to ask Eugene to partner with him on the series.
"I went to him with this idea of a wealthy family losing their money and said, 'Do you want to work on this with me?" And he said, 'Yes,'" Dan recalled, "Which I think was something he was hoping would happen a lot earlier."
4. And the decision to approach Catherine, Eugene's dear friend and SCTV colleague, for the part of Moira was the patriarch's idea, though she was reluctant to do it initially and had only done the pilot presentation as a favor for her longtime collaborator.
"She had done the presentation pilot. When the show got picked up, we had to go back to her and ask. She was really reluctant — justifiably so. It was a big unknown, and television is a commitment," Dan explained to Variety. He ended up asking Eugene to give her one last call and tell her to just give it one season, which worked.
5. Catherine came up with Moira's signature accent, which she attempted to describe via e-mail. "I was saying, ‘'Eugene, I don't want to sound like a human,' basically," she told Variety. During the show's run, she would often flower Moira's dialogue with the help of Foyle's Philavery: A Treasury of Unusual Words.
6. The genesis of Alexis' iconic "Ew, David!"? "The 'ew' was written into the show just because I say it a lot in my real life," Dan told Variety. "I try not to think about the audience too much in terms of expectations. I feel like the minute a show becomes aware of itself, I start to separate. I just like hearing Annie say, 'David.'"
7. The small Canadian town in which Schitt's Creek is filmed, Goodwood, Ontario, has seen a surge in visitors thanks to the hit show. "We did dingy up the town tremendously," Dan told NPR. After the coronavirus pandemic, the creator had to take to Twitter to ask fans to stop visiting the town for now, writing, "Visiting right now is a threat to the residents' health and safety. Thanks for understanding."
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8. For a long time, fans speculated where exactly Schitt's Creek was set, as it's never specified on the show. But in 2018, Dan confirmed the fictional town is in Canada.
"We are a Canadian show, so inherently it is a Canadian town," he told Buzzfeed News. "We've never spoken about it, so I don't like to necessarily pinpoint it anywhere. But for the sake of the hard copy, I guess it's set in Canada."
9. The Schitt's Creek had to fight to keep the show's title when they pitched it to the network, eventually printing out white pages to prove it was a real last time, per EW.
"I don't even know if there were people in Canada, there were just a couple in Ireland," Dan said. "Thank God for those people, because we got to keep our name."
10. One of the series' most iconic moments was the reveal that Alexis had tried to become a reality star and had recorded the theme song for it, gifting fans with the single "A Little Bit Alexis," which has gone on to become a viral hit.
And Annie actually wrote the song herself, with help from her husband, determined to make it "a banger" in the vein of something Britney Spears or Paris Hilton would've released.
"She has always sort of been surrounded by musicians and new people and producers and said, 'Yeah, let me see what I can do," and came back to us with a banger," Levy told EW. "Now, I'll get tweets from predominately gay men who are in clubs and the song will play. I think gay bars and clubs are like playing it, which to me is the greatest compliment."
11. In addition to writing the ear-worm, Annie also revealed she choreographed Alexis' dance number, which she didn't show anyone prior to filming the scene. "I kept my fingers crossed that it would be sufficient and then I went in and did it," she explained to EW.
12. Did you know Annie originally auditioned for the role of Stevie Budd as well, with Saturday Night Live veteran Abby Elliott initially playing Alexis in the pilot presentation? When she couldn't continue with the show due to scheduling conflicts, Annie beat out hundreds of actresses to land the part, which she dyed her hair blonde for. We love that journey for her!
13. Before Emily Hampshire was cast as Stevie, Lindsay Sloane played the part of David's deadpan bestie and Johnny's motel partner in the pilot. And Emily delivered quite the memorable entrance as her audition, with Dan recalling in 2018 at the 92Y Talks that she "came in and immediately said, 'I'm sorry, this is going to be terrible.'"
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14. Before Noah Reid was cast in the role of Patrick Brewer, the character's sexual orientation and longterm status (and exact role in David's love life) on the show was TBD.
"That's a really great thing when you're making TV, when you write characters that you haven't yet cast, and then you cast them and they work, and they don't just work but they work with other characters and bring out the best in other characters," Dan shared with EW. "It was a really pleasant surprise. And we knew early on that this character was going to stick around."
15. David and Patrick's first kiss in the season three finale was initially scripted with Patrick being the one to kiss David. But after going over the scene with a friend and talking about their respective coming out experiences, Dan realized it needed to be the other way around. He re-wrote the scene the night before the filmed it, reading the new dialogue to Noah on the way to set.
16. Patrick's swoonworthy "Simply the Best" cover, one of the character's and series' defining moments, in season four was simply scripted as "Patrick sings a surprisingly beautiful cover." But the acoustic arrangement was all Noah's, with the singer-songwriter spending weeks working on it before finding his take on the Tina Turner classic.
"If we didn't have that song and he didn't do it the way that he had, I think that scene would not have had the kind of weight that it did and the ability to change my character in the way that it did," Dan told Entertainment Weekly.
17. Moira's emotional response to the performance was all Catherine, who couldn't make it through the scene without crying, so Dan kept it in the final cut, explaining he wanted to highlight "the candidness of television...it was a moment that, for me, meant a lot because it was a parent supporting their kid."
18. Of course, David later returned the favor, with his own dance performance set to the same song. Dan admitted to EW that filming the scene as an actor was" the most unsafe I've ever felt...that level of unabashed, just lack of consideration for how this is going to look or appear on film."
To help get through it, Dan and Noah split a bottle of Prosecco with their lunch prior to filming the scene. Initially, Dan had intended for the scene to play for laughs, but realized it meant much more when the cast and crew on-set were moved to tears. "I thought I had done it wrong and I think at times there are moments that come out of when you're making TV that are unexpected.
19. While it had a small cult following when it aired on Pop TV, Schitt's Creek didn't reach the height of its popularity until it hit Netflix in 2017. Variety recently reported the show was the streaming giant's second most-watched acquired series behind The Office.
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20. Moira and David's Christmas duet was originally supposed to be a solo performance for the Rose family matriarch, but Catherine insisted the pair perform together. "The look in her eyes when she told me was like, you'll be doing this. And I said, 'When will I ever get this opportunity again to be immortalized on television?'" Levy explained to EW of the season four moment.
21. Dustin Milligan, who played Alexis' love interest Ted throughout the series, initially met Dan years ago when they auditioned for the same role, which neither of them received. While there isn't a lot of improvisation on the set, Dustin revealed to EW he started adding puns into his dialogue.
"I didn't ask anybody if I could start doing these puns, I just started doing it," he said. "But I got the crew to laugh a little bit… I don't know why Dan decided to let me keep doing it, but he did."
22. Putting together the Rose family's bougie and often trendy to the point of ridiculous wardrobe on a small show budget was no easy task, with Levy telling EW, "It was a year-round experience of mining eBay and consignment stores and vintage stories and all these different consignment apps."
23. Throughout the series' run, Catherine has worn over 100 different wigs as Moira, a character trait the star actually asked to be written into the show. "I know two women who changed wigs throughout the evening, she explained to Variety, adding she would sometimes use her friends' names if there wasn't a scripted name for the wig.
24. Dan had initially envisioned five seasons for Schitt's Creek, but changed his game-plan after "we were given the opportunity to do two seasons, and I thought, 'Okay, I can tell the end of this story in 28 episodes,'" he revealed to Entertainment Weekly.
25. But he hasn't ruled out the idea of returning to Schitt's Creek or revisiting Rose family in the future, explaining to EW, "I feel really confident that we've really mined everything we could. But the world doesn't explode at the end of it," he says. "If there is something that comes up down the line that feels compelling enough to bring our troupe back together and continue to tell a story, so be it. I'm not one to slay down the iron fist and say ‘This is it forever.' This is just it for now."
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(This story was originally published on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 6 a.m. PT)