- Even die-hard "Schitt's Creek" fans probably haven't heard these behind-the-scenes secrets.
- Three of the main actors are related in real life, and Alexis was almost played by someone else.
- Some of the show's characters and themes were based on early-2000s reality stars and socialites.
Chris Elliott made Eugene break character all the time.
In a 2017 interview with Yahoo's "Build" series, Eugene said that Chris (who played Roland Schitt) made him laugh during scenes all the time.
"He's got my number," he said. "He's constantly making me laugh on set … He does it intentionally, of course, and he actually succeeds."
The role of Alexis Rose was almost played by someone else.
Fans know actress Annie Murphy as Alexis Rose, but the part was originally played by Abby Elliott — actor Chris Elliott's daughter — when the show's unaired pilot was being shopped around.
By the time it got picked up, however, Abby was no longer available.
Murphy auditioned for Alexis and Stevie Budd, and during a 2016 92Y Talks discussion, she shared that she'd "never worked so hard at an audition" in her life.
Dan went on to say that Murphy brought a "natural likability to this girl who is so unlikeable," and that after the audition, he called his dad and said, "I found Alexis, thank god."
At first, Eugene couldn't get over the fact that Murphy wasn't blonde, but Dan was eventually able to convince him that was a fixable problem.
When developing "Schitt's Creek," Dan was partially inspired by "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."
In 2015, Dan told Out that he came up with the idea for the show while watching reality TV.
"It really just started with me being in Los Angeles, knowing that I wanted to write. I had been watching some reality TV at the time and was concentrating on what would happen if one of these wealthy families would lose everything," he said. "Would the Kardashians still be the Kardashians without their money?
The cast didn't know what Catherine O'Hara's accent for Moira was going to sound like until the first day of shooting.
Although Dan, Eugene, and the rest of the cast knew that Catherine O'Hara was going to give Moira Rose an accent, they had no idea what the legendary comedic actress was going to come up with until they started shooting.
"I remember being so thrown off by it, because it's this vaguely European accent that has no origin and yet is from everywhere," Dan told Vulture in 2020. "I remember really having to hide my enjoyment of it, and actually do my job as an actor, as a kid who has been around this accent for his whole life."
Even O'Hara didn't know exactly where the accent was going to go.
She told Vulture in the same article that she initially thought it would die down as Moira adjusted to her new home, but if anything, it got more pronounced. For example, her iconic pronunciation of "bebe" didn't become a running gag until season four.
"I said 'bebe' as a joke or a mistake the first time," O'Hara said. "Once I hit on 'bebe' and got a laugh from the crew, that was it."
To get into character as Alexis, Murphy watched old videos of early-2000s celebrities.
Alexis had her own accent, which Murphy referred to as "that nasty old vocal fry" in a 2018 interview with Vulture.
She told the publication that in order to really nail it, she turned to clips from reality TV shows.
"I popped my eyelids open with toothpicks and watched and watched and watched," she added. "It's a level of comedy where it's so beautifully unnatural, and I had to bring that fry to the character."
In a 2020 interview with Variety, Murphy said she used celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the Olsen twins as inspiration for Alexis' mannerisms.
"I stole a bunch of stuff from them, which I am so grateful for — the vocal fry and the [holds out her hand]. I noticed they all carried their handbag like this," she said. "One late night I was like, 'What if there was no handbag?'"
Dan said it was important for him to "present a love story that's without fear of consequence" on the show.
In a 2019 interview with Esquire, Dan talked about how Pop allowed him to create a TV show where David's sexuality was never made to be a huge deal.
"To be able to present a love story that's without fear of consequence was something that I wanted from the very beginning," he said. "Something that I never wanted to compromise on."
He went on to say he saw "Schitt's Creek" as his opportunity to put something on television that he didn't see when he was growing up: The normalization of queer sexualities.
"Some of the time, I think bigotry comes from fear of things that people don't see," he added.
The location of the town was purposely kept vague.
Although the show was filmed in Canada, it never really specified the location of Schitt's Creek — which was an intentional omission because the writers didn't want it to change the viewer's idea of the town.
During the 2016 92Y Talks discussion, Eugene said the town is "wherever you think it should be."
"We honestly wanted the focus of the show to be on this town, and if you put it in a country with real states, or you put it in a country with real provinces, then things become tangible … it kind of diffuses the focus to me," he added.
Dan didn't know that Patrick would end up being David's life partner when the character first appeared on the show.
When Patrick (Noah Reid) was first introduced on season three, Dan didn't even know if his character was going to date him.
"I went into it with the hope that he would become a romantic love interest for David," the actor told GQ in 2019." I knew [Reid] socially — but I had never acted with him, so I didn't know what our chemistry would be like."
That's why season three ended with a playful kiss.
"A kiss could lead to more, or it could lead to nothing," Dan said.
Moira's style was inspired by Daphne Guinness.
Moira's flashy outfits are one of the most memorable things about the character, and O'Hara was originally inspired by English socialite and designer Daphne Guinness.
Dan told Vulture in 2020 that the photos she brought in were "very much in line with what [he] was already thinking."
O'Hara specifically wanted to avoid "your typical snooty rich that you see in old family comedies."
"Nothing against Chanel, their stuff can be beautiful and wild, but I was thinking the typical tweedy Chanel suit, that lovely wealthy woman look," she said. "I just wanted to be avant garde."
It was O'Hara's idea for Moira to wear different wigs all the time.
Another iconic part of Moira's style was her penchant for wigs.
According to the documentary "Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell," like Moira's accent, the wigs were O'Hara's idea.
"I just asked if I could wear lots of wigs, depending on my mood," she said. "It works for fashion reasons. It works for hiding or revealing what I'm feeling. It works as a protective helmet. So it's just too much fun."
Playing Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" was Emily Hampshire's lifelong dream before she got to do it on the show.
On season five, Stevie took a big leap out of her comfort zone by playing Sally Bowles in "Cabaret," but in real life, it was a dream come true for actress Emily Hampshire.
She told Decider in 2019, "[It] was the craziest moment because whenever anyone would ask me, what's your dream role to play, years ago I said Sally Bowles in 'Cabaret.' I loved the movie and I'm obsessed with musicals."
She said she even asked Dan during season one, "If we do a musical can we do 'Cabaret'?"
"But I never in a million years thought Stevie would be part of it or let alone play Sally Bowles," she added. "So I kind of got my dream in the best way possible because I got to do my dream as Stevie and got to express what Stevie's feeling to that iconic song."
Murphy cowrote the song "A Little Bit Alexis" with her husband.
On season five, Alexis performed "A Little Bit Alexis" as her audition for "Cabaret."
Murphy actually cowrote the song with her husband, Menno Versteeg, and his bandmate, Nixon Boyd.
She told CBC Music in 2019, "We wanted to spoof the early 2000s kind of socialite pop singles that came out, but we also secretly really wanted to make an early 2000s socialite single that was a banger and that people would actually want to listen to."
She added, "We kind of prayed at the altar of Britney for a little while and went on a very interesting YouTube hole of Paris Hilton's videos and Lindsay Lohan."
Reid composed Patrick's cover of "The Best."
On the season-four episode "Open Mic," Patrick serenaded David with his own version of "The Best," which was originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler and famously covered by Tina Turner.
Dan told GQ in 2019 that he chose the song because he's "always thought it was one of the most beautifully written pop songs in history."
"And Noah took the mandate — 'This is the song. Make it slow. Make it beautiful' — and came up with that incredible cover," he continued. "The minute I heard it, I knew that the scene was going to work."
One of Dan's most nerve-wracking scenes was when he had to lip-sync "The Best."
During the season-four episode "The Olive Branch," David lip-synced "The Best" for Patrick. The character was visibly nervous during the episode, and Dan said he was in real life, too.
"That was probably the scariest scene I've ever shot in my life," he told GQ in 2019. "I'm terrible at memorizing lyrics, and I don't dance, and I don't perform like that ever. So that was a panic the night before."
He added that he ended up sharing a bottle of Prosecco with Reid at lunch.
"I would like to say it was method," he said. "Even though my character isn't an alcoholic, I felt like he would've done something similar to that to ease himself into it."
Murphy and Dustin Milligan are almost the same height, so Milligan had to stand on boxes to kiss her.
Dustin Milligan (who played Ted) and Murphy are around the same height, but that was often thrown off by Alexis' super-tall heels.
Murphy told Entertainment Weekly in 2019 that one of their biggest filming obstacles was dealing with the height issue.
"Dustin's always kind of making fun of himself for giraffing to get up to me, and I'm always kind of cracking my vertebrae down to get to him to make it look like we're the same height," she joked.
Milligan told Entertainment Weekly in a separate 2019 interview that in some scenes it's obvious that he's looking up at her, but in others, the crew had him stand on "apple boxes" to make up for the difference in height.
The final season was full of little Easter eggs for day-one fans to appreciate.
During an interview for Yahoo's "Build" series in 2020, Dan called the final season "a love letter to our fans," saying there would be "little Easter eggs" in the final episodes.
"So hopefully people will see things in there, from a fan perspective, that's like 'Oh, I see what they're doing here. I see where they're going,'" he said.
For example, Johnny and Moira finally see the town's titular creek.
It only took Dan half a day to write the series finale.
During a 92Y discussion in 2020, Dan said that he was able to write the last episode of the series in just half a day.
"Series finales I feel like people always remember and they compare them and they write about them, and I tried to shut all that out," he said. "But at the same time, there was a sense of relief in knowing that if it came to me this easily that we must have done something right in the process of putting the building blocks in order for this to feel so seamless."
Dan called the last day of shooting "the most emotional day" of his life.
The last day of shooting wasn't easy for Dan (or any of the cast members).
"I cried for, I want to say, five straight hours, to the point where I had a splitting headache and didn't know what to do with my life," he told GQ in 2019. "I wept when I took David's shoes off. I will never wear those shoes again — nor do I want to — but I was very sad to take them off."