Catherine O’Hara is a comedic genius. She brought the eccentric icon Moira Rose to life on Schitt’s Creek so masterfully that you cannot imagine anyone else playing the role in her stead.
As much as Moira’s sense of fashion made her stand out, her dialogues became as much a part of her signature style. While many actors might rely on improvisation to breathe life into their characters, O’Hara, ever the wordsmith, took a different path. Her tool of choice? Foyle’s Philavery: A Treasure of Unusual Words, a dictionary given to her by her makeup artist, Lucky Bromhead, during season one.
However, O’Hara confided to The Vulture that she did not share her secret with showrunner Dan Levy or the writers till season five. “I was greedy about it,” O’Hara said. “Daniel and the writers would write me dialogue, and I’d go through my book and rewrite it and make it that much more Moira.”
Moira Rose doesn’t just speak; she orchestrates linguistic symphonies that were inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s eloquence and Marilyn Monroe’s sultry breathiness. It’s the kind of speech that makes you feel like you need a thesaurus and a linguistics professor on standby just to decipher her words.
It’s not just for the sake of impressing the town’s residents, but Moira’s quest to educate herself one obscure word at a time. As O’Hara puts it, she wanted Moira to “learn a new word every day,” making her character not only an enigma but also the town’s walking, talking thesaurus.
So the next time you watch Schitt’s Creek and Moira Rose regales you with her linguistic prowess, remember that behind those eloquent lines lies a treasure trove of words known only to the most intrepid logophiles.
It is Moira’s world, and we’re just living in it, and that’s exactly why we adore her.