According to Annie Murphy, her Schitt’s Creek character Alexis Rose only ever said “Ew, David” twice over the course of six seasons, and yet, somehow, it’s the quote we all latched onto.
Regardless of how many times she uttered the now-iconic line, Murphy brought us untold amounts of joy as Alexis, whose selfish and ditzy ways provided the foundation for one of the best-written evolution arcs in recent television history.
Considering the Canadian actress was planning to quit acting the day before she landed her audition for the sitcom, it’s pretty remarkable to think of how she is now a household name, synonymous with several catchphrases, fashion inspiration and a song that you can’t stop laughing at nor get out of your head.
In a recent interview with The Zoe Report, Murphy revealed that, as much as she loves Alexis, she did not want to be pigeonholed as that character and was disappointed after the end of Schitt’s Creek to receive an influx of scripts that had done just that.
“It was very clear that people wanted to see me as Alexis, or they’d say, ‘Oh, it’s definitely not Alexis. She has brown hair this time,’” she told the publication. “It was really, really important to me to do something as far away from Alexis as possible, even as just a challenge for myself to see if I could do something else after doing one very specific thing and succeeding.”
It was for this reason that her new series — Kevin Can F**k Himself — was the perfect fit for the Emmy-winning actress. The darkly comic, gritty series centres on a working-class woman who discovers that her husband has blown their life savings behind her back and decides to hatch a plan to kill him.
However, as filming was due to begin in March 2020, Murphy knew that she wasn’t feeling quite herself, also noting that during Schitt’s Creek’s finale tour she had relied on friends like fellow actor Noah Reid (who played Patrick Brewer) to help her put on a “brave face” for the cameras.
“My mum was like, ‘You’re crying 12 times a day hysterically, to the point where your teeth are chattering. That’s not normal,’” she told The Zoe Report. “After seeing a therapist, Murphy was diagnosed with depression and filming was postponed.
“A lot of people are going to think that I sound like I’m playing a tiny violin for myself. ‘Oh, you’re rich and famous. Why the f—ck are you sad? You have nothing to be sad about.’ But I’m not going to post photos of me covered in my own snot, lying on the floor, unable to get up. I don’t want people to have to see that.”
Murphy explained that regular therapy and taking antidepressants have helped her to feel like herself again and that is so glad she took time to focus on her mental health before commencing filming on Kevin Can F—k Himself in September 2020.
The series was created by Valerie Armstrong (Masters of Sex) as a way to not only point out the inherent sexism in traditional sitcoms but to completely turn it on its head. For that reason, when Murphy’s character Allison is sharing a scene with her husband Eric Petersen the show leans into the stereotypical sitcom tropes such as saturated colours, canned laughter and obvious one-liners, but snaps into a gritty, muted palette shot in a single-camera format when she is alone.
“Looking at the world of sitcoms with a more analytical eye, it’s astonishing to see how much misogyny and homophobia and racism is shrouded by this laugh track and glossed right over,” Murphy told Harper’s Bazaar.
“I hope it is a show that is going to spark some conversations. And if that’s the case, then it will have been a success.”
Kevin Can F**k Himself premieres on 27 August on Amazon Prime Video.