It’s clear from what we’ve seen of the Roses before Schitt’s Creek (or BSC, if you will), but more importantly what we’ve heard about those old days, that Johnny and Moira were nonexistent parents. They’ve admitted this more than once, and although they were forced to at first because of their current situation, they’ve both worked to rectify the … let’s call it an oversight. Some of their individual attempts to be an actual parent to their adult children work better than others—never forget the awkward Moira–Alexis lunch at which Moira needed notecards with prompts for conversation topics (you know, like, “What’s your favorite season?”). In “The Hospies,” both Moira and Johnny get to put some parenting skills on display. Some are better than others.
Shall we start with Moira, then? Great. She and Jocelyn have cast the entire production of Cabaret, but still have yet to find someone to take on the lead role of Sally Bowles. The options in Schitt’s Creek are bleak. Who should overhear the women discussing their dire situation — they may have to take out an ad on BroadwayWorld.com! — but Alexis Rose. Ever heard of her? She had a short-lived, “critically reviewed” reality show called A Little Bit Alexis and a corresponding album. She took vocal lessons with Barbra Streisand’s vocal coach one summer when she “wanted to be the next Jessica Simpson.” She knows she is overqualified and even though they would make her audition, she will take on the mantle of Sally Bowles. She is who they have been searching for all along.
Only Moira goes out of her way to avoid getting Alexis involved. Jocelyn assumes it’s some weird mother-daughter competition thing and so insists on letting Alexis audition. Eventually, Moira gives up — she can audition, but Moira will have nothing to do with it. As Joce quickly finds out, Moira’s hesitancy to cast Alexis in their musical has nothing to do with competition and everything to do with the fact that Alexis is terrible. She performs “A Little Bit Alexis” and Annie Murphy is horrifying in the most glorious way. (Also, I can’t stop singing this song, please send help.)
So Jocelyn realizes she was clearly wrong. After Alexis skips out of there, Jocelyn admits she thought this was some sort of “the apple can’t fall far from the tree” situation. But no, it’s a “different orchard” Moira explains. And that whole training with Barbra Streisand’s vocal coach thing? Apparently he “quit the business after just two lessons with our sweet Alexis. He now lives in a monastery.”
Since Jocelyn is the one who started them down this road, she’s the one who has to give Alexis the news. After a miscommunication with a box of chocolates, Jocelyn is forced to tell her that she didn’t get the part but that they want her to be Kit Kat Klub Dancer #6, a role that features sexy costumes and lots of stage time — two of Alexis’s favorite things. So she’s happy, regardless. The real standout in this scene, in any scene let’s be honest, is Catherine O’Hara as Moira, attempting to take none of the blame (“I wanted to fight for you, but I had to recuse myself as your mummy”) and all of the glory (“How wonderfully generous of us”). The back-and-forth is genius. And so Moira’s “ignore and lie” parenting technique works out in the end. Except for the fact that the ladies still have yet to find a suitable Sally Bowles.
Meanwhile, Johnny’s displaying some much healthier parenting skills, albeit not with one of his biological kids, but with Stevie. Their psuedo-father-daughter relationship has been a joy to watch grow, and it goes next-level here. They head off to the Hospies, a regional hospitality awards show, where the Rosebud Motel is up for the “Best Customer Service in a Motel Under 20 Units” award. Johnny tries to play it off like it’s no big deal, but the man has a speech written. And once he and Stevie arrive at the reception, he is downright giddy.
Stevie, too, is in a great mood, but for other reasons: Amir is presenting an award. She’s even packed a bag so that she can join him over the weekend as he visits a few motels for work. Unfortunately, when she surprises him with the idea, his reaction isn’t what she hoped for. He thought they were just casually hooking up whenever they saw each other. He likes her, but he’ll always be traveling and she’ll always be working in Schitt’s Creek. That’s not going to change … and he doesn’t really want it to. It’s a real shame — I had such high hopes for Amir!
Even more unfortunate, all of this goes down just as the Rosebud Motel is announced as the winner in its category. After they come off stage — regrettably, we don’t get to hear Johnny’s speech — Stevie can’t hide that she’s upset. When she explains what happened with Amir, Johnny, who just moments before had been raring to go to some Hospie afterparties, lies and says he’s tired and thinks they should just head back home. Heart not warmed enough yet? Challenge accepted. When Stevie admits she’s too embarrassed to go get her bag from the table where Amir’s still sitting, Johnny offers to go get it, and some shrimp, before they hit the road. A true gentleman always offers to bring you shrimp when you’re crying over a boy. REMEMBER THAT. Yes, Johnny is the designated straight-man in this comedy, but thankfully that doesn’t mean he’s any less wonderful to watch.
But wait! An equally delightful thing occurs once Stevie’s made it home. Moira appears at her door with a bottle of wine after hearing about Amir. Like Stevie, Moira needed to be pushed out of her ho-hum, “podunk routine” when she was younger, and that push came at the hands of Sally Bowles. She thinks it could do the same for Stevie. She describes the character as a “headstrong young woman who’s been knocked about a few times and looking to make the most of herself.” Stevie’s flattered by the comparison — that anyone would see her that way. As with Johnny, it’s a truly heartfelt moment, even if Moira does take back the bottle of wine on her way out.
The Wig Wall
• David and Patrick get the least interesting storyline of the bunch, although it’s always nice to see two characters who don’t normally interact get to do so. In this case, it’s Patrick and Ronnie. Patrick is annoyed that Ronnie’s taking longer than their agreed-upon timeline to build a restroom in the store. He tries standing up to her and it is very cute, but you know who wins this fight.
• So, like, is David teaching the calligraphy class at Rose Apothecary, or … ?
• Jocelyn, after Alexis’s audition: “There’s a place for her, somewhere.”
• I don’t know why, but it brings me joy that Moira refers to her as “Babs Streisand.”
• Thinking about changing my ringtone to Eugene Levy saying, “For what it’s worth Alexis, I always thought ‘Hampton Hoes’ was quite catchy.”