Things are about to get real in Schitt's Creek. The Pop TV hit comedy returns for its fourth season starring Eugene Levy, Katherine O'Hara, Annie Murphy and Dan Levy. Centered around a family that went from being outrageously wealthy to broke, this season of the show is already being talked about as the funniest and most emotional to date.
Murphy and Dan Levy chatted with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith about their careers, the new season of the program and why this show has no egos.
DJ Sixsmith: Annie, who inspired you the most when you were first beginning your career as an actress?
Annie Murphy: Oh, heavy hitting questions right out of the gate. As cliché as it is, I was a huge Audrey Hepburn girl growing up. I would also say John Cleese. I was really crazy about "Fawlty Towers" growing up. Those were two inspirations and I also love anything Jimmy Stewart was in. Katherine O'Hara also, who I'm in this show with. I've been so full of admiration for her since I was in my early teens. I have a weird and eclectic handful of people.
DS: Dan, what's the biggest difference between the person you are now in your career and the person you were as a host for MTV in Canada?
Dan Levy: I was 19 or 20 when I got the job at MTV. You're just grateful for employment at that point. What was cool about the job was it was a brand new network out of Canada. My co-host and I at the time had a lot freedom to build our own show. It helped me realize that I had a passion to put something together from scratch. I love the all-encompassing job of show running. We had a lot of room to play and test at MTV. I think you learn from every experience. Now I have much larger responsibility and it's one that has been informed and shaped by my experience growing up as a TV host. I knew at that time that I didn't want to host for the rest of my life. It never came naturally to me.
DS: "Schitt's Creek" is going into its fourth season. Why has the show worked so far?
AM: I think the show has worked so far because it is about a group of people who are trying their best and it's set in a town that's based on love, respect and inclusivity. I think especially in this insane political time that we're living in, a place like that is a really wonderful place for people to be able to escape to. Even for just 22 minutes at a time. It's not slapdick comedy, it's just people being put in ridiculous and uncomfortable situations that bring humor to the show.
DL: I turned to my Dad when we first started out because I felt like his comedic sensibility really lent itself to this idea. Ever since, we've really been on the same page more or less when it came to decision making and ultimately what the show should look and feel like. We've had a really easy go of it. We have a great team that works with us. I hear horror stories of friends who are working on other productions that are not quite as ego-less as ours. You really get the sense that we are working on something special. All of us are sucking the marrow out of that experience, knowing it will likely never be the same once the show is done.
DS: Annie, how has your character Alexis Rose grown since the show first started?
AM: She's come such a long way. I'm actually really grateful to the writers for taking her on the odyssey she's gone on because right out of the gates on paper, Alexis is such a nasty handful and spoiled brat. She's a self-absorbed rich girl and she's grown so much in the writing. In Season 4, we see her pursuing self-betterment and education. She's no longer defined by which man's arm she's hanging off or her possessions. You will also see her with a broken heart for the first time and I think it's generally the first time she's ever experienced that. It was really fun to play because Alexis is usually so silver linings driven and is always trying to make the best of everything.
DS: Annie, what's the best part of working with Eugene and Dan Levy?
AM: Eugene Levy is such an incredible legend. He's truly Jim's dad from "American Pie." He's the kindest, most fatherly man, who is just concerned about everyone and making sure they're comfortable on set. Dan truly takes a page out of Eugene's book when he's running the show. One of my favorite things to watch is Eugene watching Dan in a scene behind the monitors. Eugene is kind of a dance mom. Dance moms stand in the back of the room and make these strange and vague movements imitating their kids. Eugene stands behind the monitors watching Dan do a scene and he's mouthing the lines and his face is doing what Dan's face is doing on camera. Through all of this, he has the sweetest and most loving smile on his face. He is so proud of all of Dan. Watching that is interesting.
DS: Dan, what's the coolest thing about working with your Dad every day?
DL: You can't ask for a more supportive and professional person to work with. That was only something that I found out from working with him in a professional capacity. I think he and Patrick McKenna have set a tone that is about the work. They show up every day prepared and there is absolutely no ego to be found, which is such a rare thing in entertainment. As a result, the trickle down from that has really impacted the rest of the cast and the crew. We all have the same goal of wanting to make a great TV show and have fun.
DS: What can people expect this season when they tune in?
AM: I always get really scared that I'm going to get murdered in my sleep by Dan if I reveal too much. This season is the funniest one by far and it's also has the most heart. There are a couple of little tear jerky scenes in there. I don't want to say anything else for fear of losing my life.
DL: Our fourth season picks up the very next day from where we left off in season three. We are just taking it one step further. Everything that everyone loved in the third season will be there in spades this season. Relationships we've never seen before, characters being pushed way outside their comfort zones and it's a really fun season. It's also the most emotional season as well. We're now four seasons in and I think we've peeled back the layers of these characters enough to be able to tell slightly more emotional stories. I think it's personally our funniest season yet.
"Schitt's Creek" returns to Pop TV on Wednesday, Jan 24 at 8pm EST/PST. Pop is a joint venture of CBS Corporation and Lionsgate.
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