Dan Levy reveals Schitt's Creek season 3 secrets, from Patrick's introduction to the magical ending
We're keeping up with the Roses!
For season 3 of EW's BINGE podcast, we're talking to Schitt's Creek showrunner, co-creator, and star Dan Levy about the Emmy-nominated CBC and Pop TV comedy. Every Wednesday, Levy recaps a season with EW's Shana Naomi Krochmal and Patrick Gomez, sharing behind-the-scenes stories and insights. Follow along and you'll be more than ready when the final season premieres in January.
In this week's episode, which you can hear below, the hosts discuss the introduction of beloved character Patrick, Alexis' wild backstories, the last-minute change that gave us that iconic car scene, and more from season 3 of Schitt's Creek. Here are just a few highlights from this week's BINGE, which you can subscribe to on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.
The Jake of it all
Season 3 opens with the rest of the Rose family meeting David's (Levy) new love interest, Jake (Steve Lund), after an "afternoon delight." Complicating matters even more is that Stevie (Emily Hampshire) is also seeing Jake, who wanted all three of them to become a throuple.
The seeds for this arc were planted in season 2, which is the move of a show with confidence that it would return. While the show hadn't yet been renewed when the choice was made during the previous season, Levy says they "had a good indication" it would be back.
What could have been a romantic story line became one about Stevie and David's friendship. "They have to negotiate this throuple potential and realize that they are going to put their friendship first," Levy says. "But yeah, it's a very sexy way to open the show." He adds, "Exploring a throuple with your best friend I don't think is the healthiest way to go, but for those of you that have, congratulations."
Alexis' dramatic backstories
Alexis (Annie Murphy) is truly a woman of mystery. She has escaped from the trunk of a Thai drug lord's car, been picked up by the South Korean secret police on New Year's, and played pool for a friend's freedom from a Ugandan diamond smuggler. Writing and thinking about where Alexis comes from is a joy for Levy. "Part of it came from the socialite world," he says, "where you're like, ‘She's dating who now?' ‘He's the czar's son from some sort of Russian oligarch thing.'"
While Levy thinks Alexis being unfazed by all that she has endured is "a lovely part of her character," the same cannot be said for David, who is concerned about his sister's wild life and seems more scarred by the events than Alexis. In a particularly touching scene, David shares his concern for his sister, an exchange Levy calls one of "those rare moments of intimacy and sentimentality [that] are really lovely to play and to write."
Her shenanigans-filled life results in Alexis not graduating from her boarding school — although her family attended the graduation — so she has to head back to high school in season 3. Going back to school is a turning point for the character, setting her on her path for the remainder of the series. "Realizing that she has to work for what she wants, and the validation that comes with that," Levy says. "The validation that comes with not having things handed to you on a silver platter."
Let's talk about Patrick
One of the most notable events during season 3 is the introduction of Patrick (Noah Reid). He is warm, kind, and disarming — the complete opposite of David, which makes them a great pair to watch. "What originally attracted Patrick to David in a social capacity was the intrigue of ‘Who is this strange unicorn person that I've never seen,'" Levy says. Patrick was created without a firm grasp on his sexual orientation, another difference between the two, which added a natural curiosity to their initial spark.
Reid was cast while Levy was still writing and shooting the season, so Patrick's role in David's personal life wasn't set at the start. The pair were going to form a bond slowly as they built David's new business together. No one was sure what the character would be or how long he'd appear, but Levy knew what stories he wanted to tell if it worked. And with Reid, they got it right and the two blossomed into something special. "Getting to write that slow burn was so fun and so rewarding," Levy says. "It led to the intimacy of their relationship and the confusion."
After being burned by exes in the past, what David needed was a relationship with someone who liked him for who he really is. That meant "it was really important to start revealing a side of the character of David that trusted, or at least began to trust," says Levy.
The voicemail scene
David's first hurdle to starting his own business involves explaining what his business is to Patrick, which gives us one of the show's most memorable scenes. In an absolutely hilarious frenzy while stoned, David leaves Patrick three voicemails in a row in an effort to prove he knows what he's doing while sitting alone in his new storefront.
"I was stoned in the empty café. It was fun. It was challenging," Levy says. "I'll always write things and be like, ‘Oh, I think this is a funny scene' and then forget that I have to play it."
While Levy wasn't actually high during the scene, he shares one instance where he used liquid courage to help during a scene. "When we went to the tailgate party, the last take, I'm doing these keg stands and the last take I was like, ‘Just put the beer in,' and I did a full keg stand with real beer," he says. It's important to keep warm, folks.
That car scene
David's birthday is a mess that starts with his family forgetting it and ends with a beloved Patrick-David scene. Viewers will remember the pair sharing loving words in Patrick's car during the season finale, but what they don't know is the last-minute change that made that magic possible.
Originally Patrick was the one who kissed David, but something about it didn't feel real to Levy. Patrick is a confident man who is trying hard to get David's attention, and Levy thought, "When it came down to that moment where it mattered, he just couldn't do it because he was scared, and David had to be the one that helped him through it." Talking through coming-out experiences with a friend and rewriting the scene finally got it to where Levy wanted it to be — and he did it all while Reid was on his way to the set to shoot it. "I dictated the dialogue to him while he was in the car and started writing it down so that by the time we got to set, we started to rehearse the new version," Levy says.
Levy felt the scene represented an opportunity "to depict the fragility of those early days of realizing your sexuality," he says. "I wanted people who had gone through a similar process to see something in that connected to them in a real way."
The moment was a powerful one that the series earned after viewers spent seasons getting to know the characters. As Levy says, "It has become one of those touchstone moments in our show where I feel like people who had come to the show as a comedy were starting to realize there's more stories to be told."