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Schitt’s Creek Hauled Out a Major Nod to Catherine O’Hara’s Past in Its Season Premiere

"It's showtime!" said Moira Rose's umbrella.
  • Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in an image from this week's Schitt's Creek season premiere. (Pop/CBC)
    Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in an image from this week's Schitt's Creek season premiere. (Pop/CBC)

    This week's much anticipated final-season premiere of the CBC/Pop! TV comedy Schitt's Creek saw the Rose family back at it in all sorts of ways (and in our favorite configuations). David (Dan Levy) and his perfect fiancé Patrick (Noah Reid) checked out an impossibly pricey wedding venue, while Alexis (Annie Murphy) was oblivious to most of it as she tried (in vain, as it turned out) to check in to her flight to the Galapagos. Meanwhile, a fire scare at the motel that nearly left Moira (Catherine O'Hara) and her precious bébés (that is: her wigs) engulfed in smoke gave her a moment of clarity, and she announced to husband Johnny (Eugene Levy) that she's ready to officially retire from acting.

    As a setup for the show's final run, it was an ideal premiere, setting up each of the Rose family members at the precipice of whatever big changes await them. But it also gives Moira and Johnny a moment of calm at the center of Moira's storm (spoiler: her retirement will be short-lived). Their sweet, and momentarily scandalous afternoon down by the creek — the actual Schitt's Creek! — was punctuated by some of Moira's typically elaborate wardrobe selections, chief among them being an umbrella that felt like an unmistakable callback to one of Catherine O'Hara's greatest screen performances.

    It was pretty much impossible to look at that black-and-white striped parasol and not think of the ghost with the most. Beetlejuice was the 1988 Tim Burton-directed comedy that dared to ask the question: What if the afterlife were a macabre mélange of bureaucracy and stop-motion-animated monsters surrounding your old home? It also presented its central deceased couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) with the very '80s dilemma of watching big-city yuppies descend upon their pleasant New England country home and turn it into a pretentious nightmare of interior design. The woman directing that transformation was Catherine O'Hara, playing the singularly odious Delia Deetz. O'Hara is a scream in the role, at one minute imperiously braying about how much she hates country living, and the next helplessly cowering as the ghosts in her house come out to get her. Between this movie and Home Alone, she made an indelible impression on an entire generation of young moviegoers.

    And despite the fact that O'Hara's comedy career has spanned so much more than one supernatural comedy — including the award-worthy work she's been putting into building out Moira Rose's delicious eccentricities over the course of six seasons — it's genuinely heartwarming to see a visual shout-out to Beetlejuice's signature black-and-white designs hovering over Moira's stunningly bewigged head.

    Whether this is the first in a string of visual references to O'Hara and Levy's storied comedy careers (a cameo by Best in Show's Winkie, perhaps?) or just a generous one-off, it started the season off on a great note.

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    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Schitt's Creek, Annie Murphy, Catherine O'Hara, Dan Levy, Eugene Levy