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'Schitt's Creek' star Annie Murphy plays an unconventional sitcom wife in new show

The "Schitt's Creek" star returns to TV in a new role she says is "a full departure from Alexis Rose."
/ Source: TODAY

Last year was quite the whirlwind for Annie Murphy. The actor kicked off 2020 by re-creating her "A Little Bit Alexis" performance, one of her famous bits from "Schitt's Creek," with Kelly Clarkson.

By September, she had won an Emmy Award — her first — for her portrayal of Alexis Rose, the spoiled rich girl who learned to love and pursue her dreams in the breakout hit from Eugene and Dan Levy.

The Rose family — played by Catherine O'Hara, Annie Murphy, Eugene Levy and Dan Levy — in the final season of "Schitt's Creek."Pop TV

That same month, she embarked on her next project and started production on a new series amid the coronavirus pandemic. The show, "Kevin Can F--- Himself," wrapped its first season production just three months ago and premieres this month on AMC+ and AMC.

"Overall, it was wonderful and I know that everyone in the cast and crew were so incredibly grateful to be working when so many people weren't able to be," Murphy told TODAY in a recent interview. "But it was definitely a very strange experience and especially even now to this day, I have friends on the crew whose faces I don't know, like I know their eyeballs and up, but it is a strange world to, you know, to be in such close quarters but unable to actually properly engage with anyone around you."

In "Kevin Can F--- Himself," Murphy stars as Allison McRoberts, an angry and determined woman married to Kevin McRoberts, described in a press release as a "husky and 'lovable' man-child." The show cleverly blends the bright look and feel of a stereotypical sitcom with the dark and gritty atmosphere of Allison's reality, giving viewers an inside look as Allison wakes up from her role as a typical "sitcom wife" and rebels against the injustices she sees in her life.

Eric Petersen plays Kevin and Annie Murphy plays Kevin's wife, Allison, in "Kevin Can F--- Himself."Jojo Whilden / AMC

"I think Allison McRoberts is pretty much like the polar opposite of Alexis," Murphy said. "She is, you know, working class. She is deeply and painfully unfashionable. She is full of rage and sadness and frustration. And she has a real doozy of a Worcester accent. So it really is kind of a full departure from Alexis Rose."

Allison isn't on board with her husband's antics in "Kevin Can F--- Himself."Jojo Whilden / AMC

Murphy describes the show as a stereotypical sitcom turned upside down. "I would say, Do you know the sitcom husband? And they would say, 'Yes,' and I would say, 'This show is not about him for once. This is a show about his wife, and what goes on in her world when she is not serving him sandwiches and being the butt of his jokes.'"

In the official trailer for "Kevin Can F--- Himself," Allison talks in the third person and explains that she has a "brilliant" plan to turn her miserable life around.Jojo Whilden / AMC

As Allison, Murphy gets to play a darker character on a path to take back her power but she insists she isn't all one-dimensional. "Despite that great anger, (there is) her deep desire to make changes and improve her life. So ... she fights through a lot of really heavy emotions, but deep down, is an optimist who is hoping for better."

That seems to be tellingly clear in what Murphy says would be on Allison's musical playlist. After all, what would a furious spouse out for revenge listen to? "There would be a lot of Jewel," Murphy suggested, surprisingly. "I think there would be some Celine Dion. I mean, there would definitely be Celine Dion, I think probably mostly Celine Dion with like a nice Lilith Fair smattering throughout."

Murphy should have an idea. Not only does she play Allison, she is also a hilarious cover singer and a Spotify superuser, having used the popular music streaming service for the last six to seven years by her estimate. "I do a lot of driving and listening. I do a lot of walking and listening ... I do showering and podcasting," Murphy revealed.

The 34-year-old mostly gravitates to pop music and says Dave Matthews Band even made a surprise appearance on her personal playlist. "Every day I listen to Robyn at least once. And then I've been kind of going through, like, a Billie Holiday phase," she said.

When Murphy tried Spotify's latest "Only You" feature, she realized she might just be more of an Alexis Rose than Allison McRoberts. With Alexis, Murphy said, "We know that Harry Styles 100% would be on the list. You know, I'm sure the Backstreet Boys would be on the list, as she dated Brian Littrell.

"I don't think she would have listened to Hanson, but Hanson might kind of like make a Dave Matthews-esque appearance on her playlist because she dated all three members of the band at one point. So it's, like me, it would be a very real eclectic mix of things but for very different reasons."

As for podcasts, Murphy highly recommends three in particular. "I've been listening to Esther Perel’s ‘Where Should We Begin' and Esther Perel is this incredible, wonderful therapist and you're basically a fly on the wall in couples therapy sessions.

"For a comedy podcast, I'm listening to the podcast of two women who I think are the, truly the funniest women on the planet. Vicki Pepperdine and Julia Davis. They have a podcast called 'Dear Joan and Jericha,' where they play Joan and Jericha, who are basically two older women who are love and sex and relationship advice columnists and it's one of those things where I'm like laughing maniacally walking down the street alone. So if you're in the mood, it's very, very dirty, I will warn you, it's like very lewd and very off color, but it's friggin amazing, and then I just started (the) 'Revisionist History' by Malcolm Gladwell podcast, but I’m just still getting my feet wet."

Fans can catch Murphy in "Kevin Can F--- Himself" when it premieres on AMC June 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT or on the streaming service AMC+.