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New York Television Festival Schitt's Creek panel: 7 things we learned

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Pop

The cast of Pop’s original comedy Schitt’s Creek got together Thursday for a panel at the New York Television Festival moderated by EW’s own Gillian Telling, where the audience got to see the first episode of the show’s second season, which will premiere March 16 on Pop. During the panel discussion that followed, Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, Chris Elliott, and Jennifer Robertson talked about their experiences on the show, and where this new season will take each of them. Here are the main takeaways:

1. The show was inspired by Daniel Levy’s friends, but owes a lot to reality TV

Schitt’s Creek creator Daniel Levy got the idea for writing a show about a wealthy family losing everything after hearing about a friend of a friend who thought he or she was inheriting a ton of money but didn’t. When he brought the idea to his father, Eugene Levy, the legendary funnyman was quick to see the timeliness of it.

“The public is used to seeing wealthy families on TV thanks to reality shows,” Eugene said. “So we wondered what those families would look like without all the money.”

2. It’s been difficult to talk about the show because of it’s semi-profane name

Prior to the episode screening, a clip ran of the cast on various talk shows promoting Schitt’s Creek. One interesting thing that came from that was the fact that many morning shows weren’t allowed to say the show’s name. 

“When we first brought up the name, the network was like ‘Hmm, what about ‘Up a Creek’ maybe?’ ” Daniel explained. “We had to prove that Schitt was a real name.”

“Didn’t you have to like look through a phone book and find Schitt?” Murphy interjected.

The cast was relieved when they were allowed to use the name, and have found other ways to bring up the name on talk shows. Eugene explained that once the name is displayed, like on a card or text on the screen, then they are allowed to say it.

“It is just the most appropriate name for the show,” Eugene added.

3. Jennifer Robertson lost a lot of hair because of her role on the show

Robertson showed up to the panel with a notably shorter bob. As Jocelyn Schitt, the always perky wife of the town mayor, Robertson had to tease her hair all season into huge, wavy ‘dos. 

“You can’t wear that style without some hair getting cooked,” Robertson said, explaining that she lost some of her hair after the first season wrapped.

Now, she wears wigs when portraying the character, which she says is much easier.

4. Eugene Levy is a big giggler

The cast started talking about breaking, with Daniel revealing that the scene in the pilot episode in which Moira (Catherine O’Hara) loses her diamond earrings and is hysterically looking for them caused him to visibly laugh in every take, which is why his hand is over his mouth during that scene. They all agreed that the biggest laugher, though, was Eugene.

“It’s full-on giggles with Eugene,” Murphy said. 

“And high-pitched giggles,” added Daniel.

5. They spend an incredible amount of time getting trendy, designer clothes

One of the standout elements of Schitt’s Creek is the Rose’s eccentric, high-fashion outfits that so visibly clash with the Podunk town they are forced to live in. Daniel explained how important it was to get the clothes right.

“The only way to tell this story about how we used to have money but don’t anymore is through the clothes,” Daniel said. “It authenticates the experience. We’re on eBay, websites, going to flea markets and thrift stores.”

Definitely the most unique dresser of the bunch is O’Hara’s character, Moira Rose, who got to wear her favorite outfit of the series in the season 2 premiere, consisting of a huge black top hat with various feathers and leggings with circular cut-outs.

“Those are Balenciaga leggings, darling,” O’Hara affected.

6. The actual townspeople are proud to be Schitt’s Creek-ers

The show is filmed on location in the small town of Goodwood, Ontario, and Eugene talked about how their show’s presentation of small-town life has actually made fans out of the residents of Goodwood.

“They’ll sit in deck chairs on the lawn across the street and watch while we’re filming,” Eugene said. “We got to know pretty much everyone in the town… They even had a ball team — the Goodwood Cougars — and they changed the name of the team to the Schitt’s Creek Cougars.”

7. Eugene Levy doesn’t think you can learn comedy

With both Daniel Levy and Chris Elliott having famous comedic fathers (Elliott’s father was Bob Elliott, part of the mid-1900s comedy duo Bob and Ray), Telling went on to ask if they thought that they were born with comedic talent or if they had learned it. Eugene cut in.

“I don’t think comedy is something you can learn,” Eugene said. “It’s something innate, and even if it’s not apparent it comes to the surface.”

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