Portrayed by: Annie Murphy
Show: Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek
The riveting part of Schitt’s Creek as a series is that when you first start watching it, you have absolutely no clue if you’re going to like it. You look at this rich, almost unbearably white pompous family who have lost everything and you wonder how the heck you could feel an ounce of remorse for them. You think to yourself, well it is a comedy after all—there is bound to be character development. But goodness does that pilot make it seem impossible and especially for a character like Alexis who’s so detached, so unabashedly self centered, and so disconnected.
But the moment David says “you’re going through something?” signaling that they all are and that none of them are happy about it, it tells us, rather obviously, that while they are each going to experience tremendous growth, something about Alexis’ journey will not only take longer, but for that reason, it will be that much stronger.
From the girl with too many horrific and cringeworthy stories to the woman behind Alexis Rose Communications, this is without question, one of the best forms of character development we have ever watched. The daughter, the friend, the girlfriend, the woman with the journey to love. The fascinating thing with Alexis’ character is that even when she drove you completely bananas, Annie Murphy did such a marvelous job in embodying her tone, that you loved her anyway. You couldn’t help it. (At least I couldn’t.) No one else could say things like: “Ew, David,” “You get murdered first for once,” “Love this journey for me,” or grunt and ugh the same way. Murphy’s Emmy award winning comedic chops were unmatched because the underlying heart beneath it all mapped her way to success.
Alexis Rose might be selfish when we first meet her, she might be dense and sadly even, uneducated, but as the seasons progress, Alexis Rose learns to care and she does so deeply. She cares with such fervency in her bones that adoration begins to illuminate her entire being with armor. The love she pours through to others begins to not only heal her, but it strengthens her and every other character that then crosses her path.
She was always capable of so much. She is resourceful and smart when she sets her mind to something, she just needed to believe in herself a little bit more.
You look at a character like Alexis and wonder why in the name of all that is good and holy in the world do you sell yourself short like that? Why are you sitting on a bed crying about Stavros when he’s dumped you and treated you terribly more times than he’s done anything good? And that’s just it—it’s easy for us to sit here and watch her go through this assuming that we’d do a better job of handling the situation when we aren’t in her shoes. But then one day she says: “You never get this almost uncontrollable urge to talk to people or be complimented?” And it clicks. Some people (or if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, all of us) just want to be loved. Some people are so extroverted, and while it’s so hard for me, an ambivert to understand how someone can be entirely one or the other, watching Alexis’ journey unfold has been one of the most joyous TV viewing experiences of my life.
Alexis surrounded herself with people who praised her constantly because she was not able to find that joy and strength in herself. She wasn’t able to see herself as smart and charming and funny. (And I mean, really truly see herself this way, not just say it.) It’s one thing to say something out loud, it’s another to believe it with your whole heart. It’s one thing to take a compliment and say thank you, it’s another to truly believe the person means it. And we’ve all been there, how we mask that may look different on each of us, but we have all been there.
Some people need to scream and cry and bend and break because if they don’t, they’ll lose the part of themselves that allows them to be their best, happiest self. And some people need to do this until they figure out just where they are meant to be. While Alexis isn’t at her best at the start of the series, the glimpses we get into the why make perfect sense when we start to see her mold into that version by continuing to hang on to what matters as she sheds what is bringing her down.
How exactly does someone like Alexis thrive when they are in a town with nothing to do full of people who have never experienced the kind of things she’s always adored? By helping them find joy.
That’s why it’s so easy for Twyla to trust her, however hesitantly, because whatever Alexis is trying to bring into her life is joy and laughter. She might have been self-centered most of her life, but Alexis Rose was so far from malicious and so often the two words are pinned together as mutually exclusive. Alexis wanted to help people find joy because in seeing their joy, she experienced it too. And later, in experiencing the joy of watching others find their way to things that mattered, she grew to love them and herself more deeply.
What Alexis’ relationship with Twyla did so gorgeously is showcase just how much loyalty matters to Alexis when she is surrounded by people she loves—especially, after she’s gotten a taste of what it means to truly lose people. So much of Alexis’ growth is also tied to Ted because he loved her even when she wasn’t entirely worthy of it, even after she broke his heart. And when someone finally saw her for who she is, it helped her find that balance within herself. The very balance that later helps her understand what she’s done after letting go of Ted and how she can project her pain into something bigger. It’s after that loss and after that gain where we see her unwavering loyalty to people like Twyla and Stevie—women she cares about, women she’ll try to uplift, women she’ll defend no matter what.
It’s that very growth that took Alexis out of her own head and into the lives of others. She started to really look into herself and understand that her energy as an extrovert is at its best when she’s helping others, when she’s surrounded by her family and friends–the people who are real and true. It’s why she starts missing her family long before she had even left because she starts seeing them all for who they are. And it’s when she begins expressing her love and the “nose boops” get more frequent that we begin to understand just how beautiful her growth really is.
Alexis easily became one of the most beloved characters when she started expressing her feelings more. She easily became so relatable when Annie Murphy would scrunch her nose and get the twinkle of joy in her eyes right before she was about to boop someone or say something extremely vulnerable. She’s fiercely independent, but goodness, she’s a source of joy and a true force. Moira was right when she said: “You take that ember of independence and you keep it burning because you, my darling, are destined to be on fire.”
And that’s exactly what Alexis did, she took the fire in her and spread it to everyone else. She took the fire in her and chose the type of career path that would lead to helping others—the career path that would lead to people finding their joy in the way that she found hers.
Alexis’ growth isn’t a change in her character. She doesn’t suddenly become a martyr, a paradigm of nobility—she just grows, and she does so all while remaining her blissfully dramatic, showy little self with a whole lot of heart weaved in between. The woman who was once in Ted’s words, “so deeply selfish” is now anything but that.
Alexis learned to love herself in order to love others as deeply as she was always capable of. She might’ve been resourceful in her partying days, but she’d never chosen to better herself before as she did while in Schitt’s Creek. She’d never chosen to really spend some time getting to know herself. When she finally learned this, she grew to love those around her in a way I imagine she didn’t even think was possible. Alexis loves her family deeply, though they’d never really been close, the past few years gave her the opportunity to really get to know them, and when she did, she missed them even while they were right in front of her. In the love she began to show them, they started growing too. Alexis’ vulnerability was both transcendent and transparent–a huge source of energy for all those around her.
At her core, Alexis Rose is so unbelievably kind—she’d do anything to see her brother happy, she’d do anything to see her mom and dad succeed, she’d do anything to see Stevie and Twyla reach their goals. She’d do anything to be the best person those in front of her need. And it’s the sincere desire to be helpful that makes her so ridiculously wonderful because even though she’s eccentric and deeply flawed (as we all ultimately are), she cares more than a lot of people ever would.
She is brave, bold, beautiful and passionate, and she is
a little bit Alexis.
And we love this entire journey for her.