By Audrey Rock
Photos by THT
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/23/18 – It’s not surprising that Schitt’s Creek, the quirky comedy about a moneyed family who experiences financial loss so sudden that they find themselves in a bleak, backwards-Beverly Hillbillies arrangement, has lasted nearly four seasons. What is surprising is how quickly those first three seasons passed.
It’s a great sign for the series—time does fly when you’re having fun. And Schitt’s Creek is the ultimate in dysfunctional family entertainment. The latest season premieres this Wednesday, January 24th, on PopTV.
The cast feted the occasion at the Arclight Hollywood last Tuesday (Jan 16th) with a four-pronged event including red carpet, private reception, screening, and panel sponsored by GLAAD. The show’s creator, Daniel Levy (whose father, Eugene Levy is a cult comedy legend) appeared alongside Eugene, Catherine O’Hara, Emily Hampshire, Annie Murphy, Dustin Milligan, Lea DeLaria, and AnnaLynne McCord.
The general mood was lighthearted, and as guests and cast members posed in the informal Schitt’s Creek photo booth, Eugene Levy hung back and spoke with THT on the carpet about his lack of expectation to ever work with his highly talented son; and his decades-long working relationship with the radiantly funny Catherine O’Hara.
“I can’t even describe how great it is,” Levy said when asked how it was to work with Dan. “It’s kind of surreal. I’m so proud of him, I’m so proud of the work he’s done. I’m so proud of how he has developed into a great writer, and a great producer. His on-camera work is phenomenal.”
As fawning as it sounds, that may actually be an understatement. Daniel’s studiedly aloof yet startlingly vulnerable portrayal of 20-something pansexual son David makes it difficult to imagine a good reason Daniel and Eugene didn’t work together before now.
“Growing up, he was always on his own,” said Eugene. “Never came to me, never asked me for any help. So when it came to working on a project with him, I thought it would never happen.” Lucky for audiences, it did. They benefit from a warm, laugh-out-loud funny, and never treacly interaction between the four central Rose-family characters. The family dynamic is the best since “Arrested Development”—and it’s only getting better as they mature further into the series. Eugene plays the dejected video store magnate millionaire and dysfunctional patriarch Johnny Rose.
Levy also reflected on his relationship with his repeated co-star, Catherine O’Hara, who has appeared in many Christopher Guest “mockumentary” films alongside him, including “Best in Show,” “For Your Consideration,” and “A Mighty Wind.” She plays his neurotic actress-wife, Moira, in the series.
“It’s almost 40 years,” he told THT. “I think the great thing about how comfortable we are working together comes through in our characters on the show, as a couple who’ve been married for so long. I think it helps when we have that kind of history together. It comes through in ways that you couldn’t necessarily ‘act.’”
O’Hara, for her part, took a much more succinct approach to the whole thing. “It’s awful,” she quipped, while standing casually at the bar during the exclusive private reception. “He has information on me.”
The beloved actress then stated she’d been working with him for “85 years,” laughed heartily, and good-naturedly renegged. “No, it’s wonderful. He’s ridiculously talented. And he’s a lovely gentleman—as is his son.”
The reception eventually gave way to the screening—a laughter-filled two episode preview of season 4, and a panel conducted by “Orange is the New Black” phenom Lea DeLaria. The cast discussion was entirely endearing, in that none of them individually, or as a group, could hide their sincere affection for the series. They simply ARE their characters, and they light up when falling back into their affections, their accents (O’Hara adopts a bizarrely succinct and unplaceable ‘actress’ dialect for the distinctively non-maternal matriarch role), and their respective interactions as newly-christened paupers in the depressing town of Schitt’s Creek.
During the panel, Daniel summed up his series beautifully, stating that the family’s misfortune “actually forced them to confront the fact that love is so much richer than anything they could’ve imagined.” It’s a message he says is “more timely now than ever before.” Through all the comedy, that message resonates. This is a fictional family whose financial tragedy gives way to the chance for them to really get to know one another on a level that only hardship can beget. And that is ultimately what makes “Schitt’s Creek” such a compelling and heartfelt endeavor.
“Wow, you are not just a pretty face,” fired off panel moderator Lea DeLaria, the longtime comedian and “Orange is the New Black” actor, to Daniel Levy. “You are a smart man.”
The same could be said of the entire cast. They’ve found a way to make a terminally self-absorbed family consisting of a neurotic mother, stressed father, insecure pansexual son, and narcissistic daughter extremely relatable. And that is character development genius.
Schitt’s Creek: Season 4 premieres on PopTV this Wednesday, January 24th, at 8:00 PM (7c)