Fri. Jul 3rd, 2020

Emmys: Annie Murphy (‘Schitt’s Creek’) has a rightful place among the Supporting Actress in a Comedy competitors

This article contains spoilers to Schitt’s Creek.

Schitt’s Creek may have ended, but the glory of the show created by Dan and Eugene Levy remains. If you didn’t have a chance to catch it, you still have an opportunity because first five seasons are streaming on US Netflix. But I’m not here to talk about the brilliance of the series overall. It’s time to focus on the first-class star, the one and only, Alexis Rose.

Let’s come back for a moment, and remind everyone what the series is about. Schitt’s Creek tells the story about a once-rich family who loses all their money and assets – almost all. The only remainder of their former power is a rundown motel in a small town graciously called Schitt’s Creek. Johnny (Eugene Levy), Moira (Catherine O’Hara), and their two children – David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) have to move to the little town whose mayor is Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott). The Rose family’s main struggle is surviving amongst “ordinary” people and re-learning how to work for yourself. Even though family members are positively spoiled, the viewers cannot accuse them of hatred of others or superiority. Well, not superiority per se. They were wealthy once, after all. Thankfully, they were not born into money. They achieved so much through the hard work of Johnny and the chain of his video stores. They aren’t afraid of hard work, which each member easily proves throughout the whole series.

The character of the Rose daughter, portrayed by Annie Murphy, is one of the best parts of Schitt’s Creek. Don’t get me wrong – all of the characters are perfectly crafted and bring an unparalleled charm to the series. But let me prove why I think Murphy has a rightful place (and hopefully win) amongst the competitors in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in the Primetime Emmy Awards. 

Right after we meet Alexis, we automatically appreciate her “bohemian” style and various, carefully selected outfits (even Sienna Miller liked it, according to Alexis). It doesn’t matter if she just goes out for a run or lounges in Café Tropical, consuming her favorite parfait. Alexis is always impeccably dressed. One word that entirely matches her is “bubbly.” Alexis is the younger out of two siblings, hence a little more spoiled. Although throughout its six seasons, the character repeatedly highlights the fact that David is more loved by Moira than her. Despite the fervently denying matriarch, we can observe that Moira slightly favors David. Thankfully, both Rose women mature a lot and get closer as the series proceeds. Moira supports Alexis in her further education and goals, giving a touching performance by Jazzagals, her singing group led by Jocelyn Schitt (Jennifer Robertson).

For me, Annie Murphy should be solely nominated for her signature exclamation, “ew, David!” that became a regular line in my conversations – no matter if the person’s name is David or not. Certainly, Alexis Rose’s character breaks the stereotype of “typical rich blonde girl” in the film and television discourse. Murphy’s role is not only phenomenally written and supremely portrayed. Alexis is layered, complex, and multidimensional. Apart from being a little pampered, the woman is smart, gentle towards others, and ambitious. As the series proceeds, her family goes to the first plan in her life which never happened before. She starts to value her parents and brother above anything else. In one of the episodes, she finds out about their terrible financial situation and goes as far as scraping a dropped foundation from the floor just to save it. Can we all appreciate this extreme and not really healthy sacrifice?

Alexis is also very supportive of other women and doesn’t judge them by appearance or different upbringing. She may not know a lot after arrival in Schitt’s Creek, but she grows and matures season after season. This maturity is most visible in the last, sixth season. Hence, Murphy is my Emmy candidate. We can perceive Alexis’ support on the example of her relationship with Twyla (Sarah Levy). The lovely worker of Café Tropical becomes (probably unknowingly) Alexis’ most loyal confidant of all secrets. Both characters gossip and even exchange clothes (but we all know that Alexis won’t wear any of them). In the end, the Rose daughter first finds out that Twyla is working in the restaurant “just for fun” because the truth is that she won a lot of money, and she doesn’t have to work a day in her life. 

Her maturity further manifests in the way she handles relationships with men. After a tragic romance with Stavros (who has “broken up with me five times already!”) for whom the girl would abandon her family in the blink of an eye, she ends up being with Mutt (Tim Rozon), then Ted (Dustin Milligan), a veterinarian. After breaking the hearts of both, she realizes she’s in love with Ted. From the spoiled, careless woman, she becomes a person who has a loving relationship. Sadly, in one of the most touching scenes of the sixth season, she decides to split from Ted, who follows his dream and travels to work on the Galapagos Islands. Instead of joining him, Alexis makes the hardest of the decisions and puts education, career, and family first. Season first’s Alexis would never!

Alexis’ character development manifests itself not only in regard to a relationship with Twyla or her family but also in the woman’s educational progress. From her own free will, a girl decides to finish high school and then attends Elmdale College. In the end, she becomes a thriving entrepreneur of Alexis Rose Communications and proudly represents the most demanding soap opera star – her mother. From a girl who was more interested in partying, she puts education in the first place. She still is that woman with bubbly personality, but her priorities gradually change. 

While we cheer up each of her educational steps, there are also her stories. These stories force the viewer to pause the series and ask – wait, what?! Her first kiss was with Jared Leto. According to one of many of her absolutely bonkers tales, Alexis was also kidnapped while in a foreign country. At one point, when David is missing, the younger daughter must remind her concerned parents that she “was taken hostage on David Geffen’s yacht by Somali pirates for a week, and nobody answered my texts?” Her stories even include the case of the FBI, but evidently, they knew where Alexis was “the whole time.” She even escaped Yakuza at twenty-one, or so she tells Ted. There are many more of Alexis’ stories that further prove that her character is not one of the boring kind.

And last, but certainly not least – “A Little Bit Alexis.” The song performed and oh, so fervently choreographed by Annie Murphy’s character was such a massive hit that it was released in February 2019 as a full-fledged song. In the aforementioned scene, Alexis auditions for the role in a musical that Moira and Jocelyn direct. After presenting them a sample of her skills, both women are perplexed. “Well… There is a place for her… somewhere,” Jocelyn says and adds, “Moira, I saw your talent, and I thought, well, the apple can’t fall far from the tree.” Moira looks at her and replies, “Different orchard, Jocelyn. Though I do admire that confidence.” The soap opera actress later adds that the vocal coach who trained “Babs Streisand” gave up and actually quit the business only after two lessons with Alexis. I, for once, don’t know what he meant, I utterly love “A Little Bit Alexis,” especially when performed by Annie Murphy. Just as much as everybody else that I forced to watch Schitt’s Creek. They are now the greatest fans of the show. 

The comedy series ended on a good note and a very touching documentary that followed the last episode, but that’s not the end of the journey. The cast always gladly returns to their beloved roles from Schitt’s Creek. They recently joined Obamas in commemorating graduates of the year 2020. In the set of videos from the variety of artists and leaders titled “Dear Class of 2020,” the cast sang “Hero” with the surprising feature of Mariah Carey. We can safely assume that David freaked out. 

Schitt’s Creek was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards in 2019, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series. I want to see Annie Murphy being nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in the upcoming race. For all the reasons I pointed out above and many more stories that she, as Alexis Rose, tells us in almost every episode of the series. Hopefully, my wish will come true as there is nobody else who could perform “A Little Bit Alexis” better.

The final season of Schitt’s Creek is currently available on PopTV.

Zofia resides in Los Angeles and is a film and television critic. She has previously written for The Mary Sue, First Showing, Film Threat, In Their Own League, Film Inquiry, and more. She loves the Scream movies, CarolAmerican Horror Story, and Schitt’s Creek. Her Twitter – @thefilmnerdette

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