Schitt’s Creek, the Canadian sitcom created by comedy legend Eugene Levy and his son Dan Levy, premiered in 2015. It’s quietly become one of the best shows on television. And Alexis, played to perfection by Annie Murphy, has become our favorite Jewish character on television.
Who is Alexis?
The basic plot for those who have yet to experience the magic that is Schitt’s Creek: wealthy family loses their fortune when their business manager messes up. The Jewish family — Eugene Levy’s Johnny, Catherine O’Hara’s Moira, Dan Levy’s David, and Annie Murphy’s Alexis — are forced to move to the one place they still own: a small town in rural Canada called Schitt’s Creek that Johnny had bought David as a joke.
In the decade leading up to the show, Alexis travelled the world and barely saw her family, now she has to share a motel room with David that adjoins her parents’ room. Alexis and David (like many siblings) have a love-hate relationship. Just watch this compilation to hear how Alexis says Day-VID in seasons 1 through 3 (as Murphy explained, “Sprinkling it in is similar to saying like all the time. It’s a crutch at this point.”)
Alexis’s vocal fry is very unique, as Murphy explained to Vulture: “Alexis certainly has a voice and a tone to her. For the first couple of weeks every season, I end up bringing it home with me. I’ll talk to my husband, Can you turn the heat down? I’m cold! Luckily, it fades after two weeks and my husband is thrilled when it finally stops. This is the first role I’ve done where it’s a significant departure of me in real life, so it’s fun to strap on fancy shoes and a made-up face and be Alexis.”
Murphy explains, “I feel really, really lucky and proud to be a part of a successful television show that rests for a large part on the shoulders of a group of very talented, very funny women. Obviously, it starts with the writing, but every woman on the show has really just taken the reins and made each of those characters so unique and so funny and so beautifully layered. They’re fully-formed people.”
In season 1, Alexis dates Ted, a local veterinarian. He proposes to her, she breaks off their engagement, and in season 2, she dates Mutt. In season 3, Alexis goes back to high school to finish her degree, attends online college, and by the end of season 4, she’s in a much different place than when she first arrived in Schitt’s Creek. Basically: We watched Alexis grow tremendously on screen.
Let’s break down the key parts of her growth, and why she’s become our favorite Jewish character on television…
Alexis starts the series trying to cling on to her socialite lifestyle, as a woman used to getting whatever she wants (particularly when it comes to guys in her life). But as the show goes on, she lets go of some of her old habits, decides to finally finish high school (and go to college!), and starts her own business.
Going back to high school was no easy decision; being 28 and sitting in a classroom full of 17-year-olds is difficult. But Alexis handles it with confidence. When she walks in, she introduces herself:
“So as Jocelyn said, my name is Alexis, and yes, I did not finish high school. Um, it’s this long, boring story involving a yacht, and a famous soccer player, and like a ton of mushrooms. Anyway, I think it would be so great if we could just go around the room, and everyone could tell me like, five things about yourself.”
She quickly becomes insecure about two girls who seem to be making fun of her, but learns they actually are passing notes that are complimenting her. She finishes the credits she needs, and graduates.
As Murphy explained to CBS, “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.”
And after graduating high school, she enrolls in college! Initially extremely disappointed by the course offerings, she decides to just take classes online to get her diploma. She graduates with a degree in public relations (which, the diploma accidentally spells “pubic relations”).
Suddenly, she’s focusing on herself, not a guy. Given the opportunity to leave the town, she stays. She spearheads an event called “Singles Week,” and starts her own communications firm.
TVLine wrote, “Remember the joyful wonderment you felt as a baby when somebody blew you a bubble for the first time? That’s how we feel watching Annie Murphy bring to life Schitt’s Creek’s Alexis. Over four seasons, the actress has taken the impoverished party girl from flighty as a sparrow to… OK, she’s still super flighty. (Just ask Mutt’s plants.) But now she’s also adorably entrepreneurial, surprisingly selfless and stunningly vulnerable.”
Season 4 focuses on Alexis planning “Singles Week,” helping her dad and Stevie re-brand the motel, and offering unsolicited advice to David on his new business.
The core of Alexis’s character was never an idiot — she was always capable (see the list below of all her wild escapes), if spoiled and vain. And when she finds herself back at school, working at her ex-fiancé’s veterinary clinic, she realizes her capabilities. She still dresses in over-the-top outfits, and always has perfect hair and makeup, but that doesn’t take away from her intellect.
And, obviously, we have to talk about Alexis and Ted’s love story. Who doesn’t love a good slow-burn romance? All of her relationships before Ted and Mutt were very “whimsical and full of lust and frivolity,” but suddenly, she is dealing with real emotions and real broken hearts.
Throughout season 4, she comes to the realization that she’s still in love with Ted, even though he’s moved on. So she throws herself into work and finishing her degree. Towards the end, she finally tells him: “I love you. I’m in love with you. And, I know I really don’t have any right to say that to you. And also, I know you’re in a relationship, um, and I’m happy for you, I really am, I just feel like if I didn’t tell you how I felt, I would literally go insane. You’re the sweetest man I’ve ever known. And that’s it.”
(Annie Murphy is FANTASTIC in this scene, btw.)
Sometimes we just need television about a silly family moving to a small town, and Schitt’s Creek delivers. As Murphy said: “There’s a lot of emotion that comes with it. It has good, cozy, happy feelings for the most part and I think we really need that now.”
But she’s still ridiculous
Sidenote: We would define Alexis as the more extra, Canadian version of a Jewish American Princess. Her casual mentions of world travels — held hostage by Somali pirates, meeting Beyoncé in Mykonos, dating Prince Harry — are simply hilarious.
A•lex•is•ism [uh-lek-sis-iz-uh m] noun 1. A past brush with danger and glamour 2. Reference to an unsavoury former lover. We’ll end with them (Compiled by moira-roses-garden.tumblr.com):
“Were you picked up by South Korean Secret Police on New Year’s? I had to sweet talk the consulate’s lawyer to get me a passport before midnight.”
“Oh in case you wake up in a chair with your hands duct-taped together, you can snap the duct tape by just raising your hands over your head and then bringing them down really hard.”
“It’s a long, boring story involving a yacht, and a famous soccer player, and like, a ton of mushrooms.”
“I never should’ve taking that semester off. But I did meet Beyoncé in Mykonos, so it was almost worth it.”
“Like, have you ever tried to negotiate in Arabic? It’s very difficult.”
“Okay, you try parallel parking in a burka, David. No amount of flirting can get you out of that, trust me!”
“Do I have to remind you of the time that I was taken hostage on David Geffen’s yacht by Somali pirates for a week and no one answered my texts?”
“It’s just a checkpoint, okay? I’ve been through tons of these in Johannesburg. It’s like a drive-thru, except everybody has a gun.”
“I wasn’t in rehab; I was at rehab, visiting Stavros.”
“Just remember: no sudden movements, do not reach for the glove box, and no matter what happens, do not tell them your real name.”
“I once dated this sultan’s nephew who was forbidden to talk to me or even to look at me, and we made it work for like half a regime change.”
“I have my license in seven different countries, and I have my ‘F’ class!” Isn’t that for transport trucks? “Yes, well, I had a lot of people to move!”
“I was casually seeing Prince Harry, so there was the whole, like, ‘Is she gonna be a princess’ thing; um, but it’s also because we were going through this very dark phase where we were just, like, partying too hard.”
“I didn’t go missing, David. The FBI knew where I was the entire time!”
“I drove into the Prada store on Rodeo Drive. In fairness, it did look a lot like an entrance to a parking garage, and I was high at the time.”
“I once had a 7-year-old drive me around Mumbai, so I’m pretty sure you’re cool to steer for a sec.”
“The actual longest relationship was a three-month affair with a Saudi prince; but for the last two months of that, I was trapped in his palace, trying to get to an embassy.”
Bonus David about Alexis: “I was the one at home, not having fun, because I was constantly worried about which East Asian palace Alexis was being held hostage in this week!”
We love her so much.