Welcome to ‘Schitt’s Creek’ actor Annie Murphy’s sex and relationship column, Ask AnnieThing, where you, YES YOU, can ask her your most pressing life questions. This month, she tackles the L word
I’m six months into my first serious relationship and my partner told me he loves me, but I’m having a hard time returning the sentiment because I’m not sure that I feel the same way. I think I love him, but I’m confused because “love” seems so unquantifiable—plus I don’t have any other relationships to compare it to. Movies make such a big deal about getting butterflies and saying the big “I love you” while making out in the rain, but I’m not sure if that’s there for me. I really care about him, we have a lot of respect for each other and I really enjoy being with him, but I don’t know if I’m “in love.” How do you know you’re in love, anyway?
I’d been dithering about how to delicately answer this question, when Ewan McGregor swung onto my shoulder like a handsome, grinning, tuxedoed, monkey and yelled a quote from his turn as Christian in Moulin Rouge: “Love is a many splendored thing! Love… LIFTS us up where we belong! All you need is love!” Then, in a normal tone, he added, “Just answer the fucking question.” I was like, “Good call, Ew.” (That’s what I call him.)
So here it is: I don’t think you’ve fallen in love with your boyfriend yet.
I think this because I’ve had the great fortune of being in the spinning bingo cage that is falling in love. And though “I feel like I’m in a spinning bingo cage of love” is (somehow) not yet a cliché, I can assure you that ACTUAL clichés about falling in love exist for very good reason.
When you fall in love, you DO feel like there are pre-historic butterflies that have made a home for themselves in your actual body. You DO think about the person 143,000 times a day, because now even weird things like Brita filters and gum remind you of them. You DO get “ma’am-ed” at the grocery story because you’re 1,000 miles away, daydreaming about what it was like making out with this person in the rain. Or devising elaborate plans to make it rain, so you can finally make out in it.
Granted, I am speaking from my own personal experience, but I know I’m not alone. Over thousands of years, people have built castles, written books and plays and songs and poems, they’ve painted paintings, jumped out of airplanes, dressed up like something super dumb for Halloween, broken the bank, burned bridges, eaten sea urchin, gone to war, and probably even driven for billions of hours across deserts full of lava and snakes, because they’re crazy in love. The world is full of incredible proof that people have fallen in love.
ON THE OTHER HAND (and btw, there are way more than two hands here… we’re talking about love, mmkay?), I do very much believe that loving and falling in love can exist independently of one another. Love doesn’t always come in the form of dolphins leaping across the ocean’s horizon. Love can be found in companionship, love can develop over time and it can form out of necessity, proximity or familiarity. That’s one of love’s most wonderful characteristics—it comes in many shapes and sizes, and it can grow out of many things.
ON THE OTHER, OTHER HAND (I told you this was going to be a thing), if, after a bunch of months into your first serious relationship, you haven’t felt at least a few little wings punching around in your stomach lining, then something might be missing. And if it is, that’s okay. Sometimes a whole bunch of people come and go before Rachael McAdams and Ryan Gosling yelling about being birds and smooching around in the ocean starts to make sense.
Though it’s possible you might not find the feeling you’re looking for in this relationship, I can promise you one thing: you’ll know when you’re the equivalent of Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge, swinging like a handsome, grinning, tuxedoed monkey, around a giant elephant-shaped outdoor lounge decorated like a Moroccan bazaar, while stars sparkle in the sky above.
The Schitt’s Creek star on how she learned to speak up for herself and the moment she found out she got her life-changing role.
You may recognize Annie Murphy as quick-witted former rich girl Alexis Rose on the hit TV comedy Schitt’s Creek. Here, the actor talks about how she learned to cope with rejection in the industry, and find her voice offscreen.
Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
For a long time, I thought I was going to go into law, but theatre just kept being so present in my life. [But] being on stage and getting that [positive] feedback from the audience, it was a really incredible feeling that I didn’t really want to part with.
Why is it important to advocate for yourself?
When I started out in the industry, I felt the need to say “yes” to everything. You wanted to be an actor, so you took acting jobs. So your agent would call you up, and be like, “I’ve got an audition where you’re going to play a nude woman who transforms into a werewolf in the back of a truck!” And you’re like, “Yay, I can’t wait to do that audition in front of a stranger.” [That’s why] it’s very important to listen to your gut.
How did you learn to handle rejection?
There is so much heartbreak and letdown in this industry. You get your heart set on something, and then you’re sitting by the phone for three weeks and it never rings. I don‘t think that necessarily ever gets easier, but you learn that there’s going to be something else — that’s going to make you feel the same way — coming down the tracks. I don’t think the heartbreak ever gets that much easier to swallow. You just learn to look at it from a different perspective.
What advice do you have for some just starting out in this industry?
Really have the confidence that you have something awesome to bring to the table. Write and create as much as you can, because if you’re sitting around waiting for someone to give you a well-round, interesting, incredible role on a silver platter, you’re going to be a real cute skeleton covered in cobwebs when that happens.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
When I got the part on Schitt’s Creek! When I got the call, I just jumped around and giggled and laughed all over the place. That was my biggest, best moment so far.
How do you define success?
Success, I think, is a combination between a happy work [situation] and a happy life. As vague as that is, that’s what it means to me, at this point right now in my life.
I’ve added a handful of missing photos of Annie to the gallery. Sorry for the downtime, the website was undergoing maintenance. Enjoy the photos!
Annie and Dan are in attendance tonight at the 2018 MTV Awards. They both look fabulous! I’ve added photos to the gallery. Enjoy!
The year so far has been crammed with so much great television that even with many standbys absent from the scene — fan favorites including “Better Call Saul,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Veep” have not broadcast episodes in 2018 — a list of the year’s great TV feels comprehensive, even with half the year to go. This list of 13 television shows and one TV movie, a mix of new and returning broadcasts, is an attempt to name some of what stood out most sharply to Variety‘s critics: Those shows that, in an unprecedentedly crowded landscape, demanded our attention and earned our appreciation. The first half of the year has been strong enough to make the eventual task of winnowing down a year-end best list seem very difficult indeed; for now, here are some shows from the past six months worth catching up on.
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
The Canadian comedy about a rich family stripped of everything began as a delightfully silly showcase for its cast, including Dan and Eugene Levy (who co-created the show), the ever-incredible Catherine O’Hara, and the surprisingly formidable Annie Murphy. But four seasons later, “Schitt’s Creek” has evolved right alongside its characters to become more confident and mature. Dan Levy, who also serves as writer and showrunner, finds a worthy partner onscreen in Noah Reid’s Patrick. Murphy more than holds her own as her spoiled Alexis lets herself open up. And the reliable team that is Eugene Levy and O’Hara build on decades of working together to make their married characters ring both true and deeply absurd. — CF
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(Annie is also in this interview.)
Four seasons ago, Pop TV comedy series Schitt’s Creek began with a compelling fish-out-of-water premise. Following the wealthy Rose family and their life of excess, the series really got cooking when they all went broke, resulting in them moving to a run-down town they once bought as a joke.
The Contenders Emmys 2018
While this conceit is essential to the series, for co-creator and star Daniel Levy, the show has always been about love. “It’s been about leaving them in this town to realize what is truly important. That was really the thrust of the show from the very beginning, and fortunately, you can tell so many stories about love,” he told TVLine’s Michael Ausiello last month during the comedy’s panel at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys. “It presents itself in so many different iterations. That’s been what the joy has been for us, to continue to reveal that to these characters.”
Co-creator Eugene Levy, appearing on the panel with his son as well as co-stars Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy, discussed Schitt’s Creek as a place of inclusivity, emblematic of the series’ values.
“Now, the town itself is a community that deals with people for who they are, and not what they are. This is not a black, white or brown show; it’s not about gay or straight; it’s not about city/country; it’s not about male/female,” he said. “People are accepted for who they are, and that’s the good-feeling vibe about Schitt’s Creek.”
For more from the cast of the series—as they discuss Moira (O’Hara)’s wigs and a sibling relationship crafted seamlessly for the screen—click above.
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Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury has acquired U.S. broadcast syndication rights to Schitt’s Creek, the single-camera comedy that is the top-rated original show on Pop, the cable network co-owned by Lionsgate and CBS.
The series, created by Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy, stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy and Emily Hampshire. It centers on a wealthy family who goes broke and moves to Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once bought as a joke. Season five of the series, renewed by CBC and Pop, is currently in production.
The show has grown steadily, albeit from a modest base. Its fourth season, which wrapped April 11, drew 116% more adults 18-49 than the average viewership in the first season. Total viewership has nearly doubled.
“It is not every day you can walk into a TV station with a comedy this good, with a cast this talented and be able to point to the kind of ratings growth, social buzz and critical acclaim that Schitt’s Creek has generated,” said Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, co-presidents of Debmar-Mercury. “We enter the off-network market as this renewed series is coming off of its highest-rated season in the U.S. and four consecutive seasons of audience growth.”
Commissioned by CBC, Schitt’s Creek is produced by Not A Real Company Productions and created by Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy. The executive producers are Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Andrew Barnsley, Fred Levy, David West Read and Ben Feigin. Schitt’s Creek is produced in association with CBC and Pop TV, and distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
From Ottawa’s Main Street to TV’s Schitt’s Creek, Annie Murphy has come a long way from her beloved hometown! But the Canadian actress, 31, remains close to her roots in the capital city, from where her husband – Hollerado frontman Menno Versteeg – also hails and which her family still calls home.
Here the TV star dishes her favourite local hot spots and must-see places to visit on your next trip to Ottawa, all with the loveable whimsy that’s made her a fan favourite on the hit comedy series. Consider this your insider’s guide to Ottawa with Annie Murphy leading your tour .
Favourite brunch spot
Head to Elgin Street Diner (374 Elgin St., open 24 hours), where I spent my prom night crying into a delicious poutine. Yummy, greasy diner food for your saturated body and soul.
Or pick up a bunch of sesame bagels and some dill cream cheese from Kettleman’s Bagel Co. (912 Bank St.), a.k.a. the best bagels west of Montreal.
Favourite treats to pick up from the ByWard Market
Take your friends to Le Moulin de Provence and order the Obama Cookie. This cookie shot to superstardom when a certain Barack Obama visited the bakery, ate the cookie (then probably just called “The Regular ol’ Maple Leaf-Shaped Cookie That Says ‘Canada’ On It”) and exclaimed, “I love this country.” Follow in his footsteps! Escape the madness! Eat what he ate! Love this country!
Best summer patio
If you’re looking for food and drinks and fresh air and a very gorgeous, very Ottawa view, you should head to Tavern on the Hill (1223 Alexandra Bridge). It overlooks the Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Château Laurier, the Ottawa River, the National Gallery of Canada and people making you jealous by having fun on their boats. But that’s okay! Because on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings there’s live jazz, so you can feel real fancy, too.
Best artisanal coffee shops
Fiending coffee? Equator Coffee Westboro (412 Churchill Ave N.) is organic, fair trade and locally roasted, and The Ministry of Coffee (1013 Wellington St W.) in Hintonburg has both coffee AND beautiful, shiny, solid bike posts close by to strap Old Faithful to.
Favourite date-night spot
In high school, I’d go on double-dates with my three best friends to Light of India (730 Bank St.) at least once a month. The food was delicious and there were small, beaded lampshades on each table, which we would remove and wear on our heads as hats.
If Indian food and making hats out of things that aren’t hats doesn’t sound like the perfect date night, packing a picnic dinner and heading to one of the many beautiful spots along the Ottawa River is also fun and romantic (but sadly lacking in beaded lampshades).
Best place to take a friend who’s visiting Ottawa for the first time
If your friend likes jukeboxes, cozy vibes and burgers that make you go “THIS IS GOOD!” while accidentally drooling a bit, take them to Chez Lucien (137 Murray St.) in the ByWard Market. On top of the good vibe, good music and good food, they insist that your burger comes with both fries and salad, so you can eat the 15-20 fries you were craving while also feeling proud of your very, very healthy life choices.
Coolest night spots in Ottawa
…I had to ask a friend to help me out with this question, shhh. He suggested Riviera (62 Sparks St.). The name is written in cursive, the cocktails look fancy and delicious, they have oysters, and the pictures of the food make everything look very, very edible. And Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market (325 Dalhousie St.), a trendy-looking hotel that cool influential people probably stay at, with a rooftop patio called Copper Spirits and Sights that offers up a very gorgeous view of the city.
Your favourite neighbourhoods
Ok, I maaaay be a little biased as I grew up here, but Old Ottawa South /The Glebe are by far my neighbourhoods of choice. Divided by the Rideau Canal, the two hoods are easily walkable in 40 minutes or so and are full of awesome little restaurants, shops and bars. And babies and dogs. And my parents, who are often wandering around running errands and being adorable.
Best hot spots only locals know about
If there is one piece of life-altering information I can share with you, it’s this: whatever you do, no matter what, even if you’re only in Ottawa for one tiny hour, GO TO COLONNADE PIZZA (280 Metcalfe St.). I’ve eaten an embarrassing amount of pizza in my lifetime, and this is. By far. My favourite. Pizza. In. The. Entire. World. There’s no doubt in my mind that a pizza from Colonnade Pizza would be my last meal request. So, please, do us both a favour and go.
Runners up include: Sherwood Market & Deli (111 Sherwood Dr.), for the chicken bacon avocado sandwich on thick challah bread with secret sauce. DiRienzo Grocery & Deli (111 Beech St.) has sandwiches the size of your face and homemade pasta, and Quinn’s (1070 Bank St.), a tiny wood-paneled pub with good food and very good vibes.
Best place to watch the Ottawa Senators play
Let’s be honest, the BEST place to watch a Sens game is from a box seat at the Canadian Tire Centre (1000 Palladium Dr.) that your rich and well-connected aunt hooked you up with. If, like me, you are sadly lacking in rich, well-connected, sports-obsessed aunts, I’d suggest heading to any number of small pubs you’ll find scattered across the city.
If you’re thinking to yourself “Man, I could really use some beautiful flowers, and a 25-minute drive to a small town where the beautiful old mill is haunted by a ghost named Anne,” have I got a florist for you! Mill Street Florist in Manotick, Ont. (just outside of Ottawa, and where my husband grew up!) is a pretty little shop just minutes away from an old haunted mill. Say hi to Anne for me, and tell her we should definitely do lunch sometime soon – it’s been too long.
Favourite local art galleries
Cube Gallery (1285 Wellington St. W.) is a beautiful gallery for contemporary art, and of course, we can’t ignore the National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Dr.). The beautiful National Gallery is home to a lot of incredible works of art and exhibitions that leave me both inspired and depressed about my astonishing lack of artistic talent. I once danced through this ol’ gallery at midnight wearing a stranger’s wedding dress to the sounds of a live orchestra, but that’s a story for another time. Plus, there’s an over-30-foot spider named Maman standing guard outside, so please go do some gawking.
Best way to spend the day in Ottawa
Ok, we’ve been over this. You need to get yourself to Colonnade Pizza immediately. When you’re done eating the best pizza in the world, take a walk down Bank Street all the way to the Parliament Buildings, have a peek at the Centennial Flame, and then check out the gorgeous view.
Best way to get around town
Biking all the way, baybee! Ottawa isn’t too sprawling, so you can check out a lot of it in a day on your bike. If you’re not one of those people that owns and travels with a bike, you can rent a VeloGO bike and rip around on that. Ottawa has a ton of really lovely bike paths, so you can cruise along the Rideau Canal or through the Central Experimental Farm (960 Carling Ave.) without having to dodge cars and their opening doors.
Best trails to take a hike
The bike paths I just mentioned are also jogger/walker/dawdler-friendly, but if you’re looking for some dirt under your feet, and outdoor birds and animals going “eeeeeeeeeee” from the trees, head to Gatineau Park, which is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Ottawa. The park is full of beautiful lakes and trails my 16-year-old-self wandered while wistfully daydreaming about my hot and heavy hypothetical relationship with Josh Hartnett (circa Pearl Harbour).
Best family-night-out spots
My mum and dad and my in-laws still live in/around Ottawa, so we’re home a few times a year to visit. On the very, very rare occasion my family convinces me not to eat Colonnade Pizza for every meal, we head to either The Green Door (198 Main St.), a very yummy cafeteria-style vegetarian restaurant, or the Siam Kitchen (1050 Bank St.), VERY delish Thai food. Then we walk over to Mayfair Theatre (1074 Bank St.) in Old Ottawa South – it’s a really beautiful and old one-room independent theatre that shows movies that have recently left theatres AND rad older movies that you forgot you loved.
Best shops for vintage finds
Some people don’t love the idea of wearing clothes that have been worn and lived in by others. I am not one of those people. Vintage all the way, baby! The breaking-in has already been done, the clothes have lived lives you’ll never know about – what’s not to like? Head to Bellwethers Vintage (9 Florence St.) or Darling Vintage (502 Somerset St. W.) for well-curated collections, or to Ragtime (43 Flora St.) for some treasure hunting.
Best jewellery shops
There’s an annual rummage sale at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church (95 Somerset St. W.) that can offer up some pretty awesome finds if you’re having a lucky day. If that one weekend a year isn’t the most convenient time to try to find some jewellery, head to Magpie (430 Richmond Rd.).
Remember that music video that Carly Rae Jepsen put out in 2015 for her single I Really Like You, starring Tom Hanks in a leading lip-synching role?
Toronto band Little Junior certainly does, so much so that they painstakingly remade the video, frame-for-frame.
Sure, the budget was nowhere near that of Jepsen’s, and Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy acts as a stand-in for Tom Hanks (in a rather disturbing mask, mind you), but somehow this video seems far more joyful than the original.
Filmed in one hectic twenty-hour day at The Brandscape studio on Dupont, director Max Parr helped the band piece the video together with more than a little help from their friends (keep your eyes peeled for cameos from fellow musicians such as members of July Talk and Hollerado).
Bonus: all the money made from the song and video will be donated to Youth Line, a youth-led organization providing peer support to the city’s LGBTQ2 community.
“We had to figure out how “shot-for-shot” we could really get it,” said Parr.
“We wouldn’t be able to find city streets in Toronto identical to the ones used in the original video, and we weren’t going to be able to get as many extras.”
“I knew we were going to have to lean in the opposite direction of reality and fully swede the video. This meant shooting everything inside and making all of the city streets and buildings out of foam and cardboard. I’ve worked on a number of ambitious art-heavy videos, but this one was next level.”
Sweding, a term coined by director Michel Gondry, means “to remake something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on”.
This video does just that, as charming hand-painted set pieces and props take the place of the original New York City locations.
“The band spent many late nights with Marty (MacPherson) in a little garage, building and painting set pieces. Basically while one scene was shot, stuff was being built and painted for the next shot,” said Little Junior fronter Rane Elliott-Armstrong, who dressed in Carly drag for the video.
High fives are in order for Murphy, who sported the prosthetics, courtesy of The Butcher Shop FX, for 18 hours and truly embodied Hanks’ rather awkward performance.
“In the original video Tom Hanks doesn’t fully nail the lip-syncing of the song, so Annie broke down all of his lip movements PHONETICALLY, so she could sync up perfectly with Tom’s performance and not the track,” said Parr.
“After being caked up with Tom’s face, we realized that the articulation of her mouth was very limited and not entirely capable of the complex mouth choreography she had been practicing.”
“That said, I think it still worked out amazing and her limp mouth just adds to the eeriness of her Tom,” said Parr. “We were all convinced her face would no longer be there when the make-up came off.”
“She absolutely slayed her performance, there’s a side-by-side version floating around YouTube and it’s uncanny how similar they are!” said Elliot-Armstrong.
The video has many easter eggs moments, including Parr in the video as one of the Tinder matches, and the book on the bedside table in the opening shot being changed from “The Manly Art of Knitting” to “The Art of Sweding”. And yes, Jepsen’s seen the video.
“(She) saw the video and said she liked it. We screamed when we heard that,” said Elliott-Armstrong. “We are huge fans of Carly Rae, we play her music in our van constantly.”
There’s no knowing how many times Parr and the production team watched the Jepsen version to truly nail the remake, but all that work certainly paid off.
“I’m afraid that every video I make from now on will just unintentionally end up being a remake of CRJ’s “I Really Like You” because it’s the only thing I see now when I close my eyes,” said Parr.