Comedy·SCHITT'S CREEK

Pandemic life lessons I learned from Alexis Rose

Although Alexis Rose lives in a pre-pandemic world, her blind-confidence, positivity and risk taking is something we can all learn from.
(Schitt's Creek )

"I told myself I would enjoy my own company tonight." - Alexis Rose once, or me every night for the last year?

Like the world's shittiest stork, this pandemic delivered a bundle of anxiety, loneliness and stifling uncertainty to so many of us.

But Schitt's Creek was my warm, comforting lifeboat in a sea of apartment-bound madness, with Alexis Rose as my fellow survivor, making adorable little origami Prada handbags out of pages from the boat's survival manual.

Along with Alexis losing everything, including her fortune, mansion and yacht parties, so too did I, including the gym I never went to and the opportunity to do terrible improv shows. We were, I told myself, Exactly The Same.

And then I watched her soar, transforming from a privileged, bratty socialite into a woman with heart, character, and self-reliance. I could learn from her, I thought. And I did.

Courtesy of Alexis Rose, I bring you these life lessons that helped me get through almost a year of self-isolation with my sanity intact (citation needed). May they bring you a total physical and emotional transformation as well.

Take risks with your love life

I adhered to a strict "no online dating" rule before the world shut down and apps became the only tools available to me. 

However, as I watched Alexis struggle, then succeed in finding love by changing her preconceived notions of relationships, I decided to give it a shot.

Ted Mullen (Dustin Milligan) and Alexis Rose (Annie Murphy). (Brooke Palmer)

Alexis found Mutt and Ted by going out of her comfort zone and dating men who weren't celebrities or drug lords; I found Brian and Aaron by scrolling Bumble for anyone who didn't look like an active serial killer. 

Alexis learned how to be vulnerable and love unconditionally; I learned that Brian enjoys standing women up on park dates and Aaron thinks that periods are "Kinda gross, but inevitable, I guess". 

Could our experiences be any more similar? I assure you that question was rhetorical!

I think we can all agree that the most important point here is that both of us opened ourselves up to new and unfamiliar experiences. 

And I'm still online, and hopeful (hit me up if you haven't murdered someone recently)!

It's okay if you don't become a home chef like all of your friends

I think in six seasons Alexis ate or made food at home approximately twice, and despite being someone who has at least three delivery apps on my phone, and whose biggest cooking claim to fame is "Sometimes I don't burn shrimp," she made me feel seen. 

Regardless of whether it's Café Tropical or pizza delivery, in times of prolonged crisis you have to eat what makes you happy— as long as you eat a vegetable every month or so. 

Nutrition is very important.  

Allow yourself to miss the 'Before times'

At the beginning of quarantine I resented thinking about all the things I missed about my old life. It made me too sad, too unsure about when, or if, I would have those wonderful things again (I am, of course, referring to the gym).

However, I did my best to change my perspective just as Alexis did by proudly regaling the residents of Schitt's Creek with stories of her glamorous former life.

Forlorn memories of birthdays in bars? Now I am intensely grateful for simple dinners with my bubble friend. 

Travel pictures that once got me down? They now serve as a reminder of how lucky I've been.

I might never have been a member of the Pussycat Dolls (not for lack of trying, I assure you) or been held hostage by Somali pirates on David Geffen's yacht, but that doesn't mean that I can't reflect on my life's adventures and allow them to brighten my current reality.

Dance, even if you're not good at it

Alexis Rose (Annie Murphy) performing "A Little Bit Alexis" for her community theatre production audition. (Brooke Palmer)

All you need to know about this life lesson is that after I made a TikTok video of myself dancing to "A Little Bit Alexis," I was interviewed by a major US publication about being "An old person who dances on TikTok." 

I could literally never imagine a better moniker than that.

So take a chance! Audition for that Zoom musical, embarrass yourself by dancing on the internet—who knows what it will bring you? Someone might even call you "very old!"

Even if you feel like garbage, if you wear a fancy hat, no one will know

After six months of the pandemic, my sweatpants and I had fused together into a shambling creature barely capable of physical activity or rational thought. 

Hair and makeup seemed pointless, and real pants were banned. Zoom calls involved someone saying, "You should maybe go outside more, haha!" 

Putting zero effort into my appearance was not great for my mental health. 

(Schitt's Creek )

But if a woman struggling with unhappiness and frustration like Alexis still woke up every day and donned outfits that can only be described as "If Coachella went to Coachella," then maybe she was on to something.

Spoiler alert: it turns out that putting on a fun hat, some red lipstick, and a shirt that you didn't sleep in does wonders for your mood in isolation. Who knew (if you did, congratulations, and please keep it to yourself)? 

And at the very least, on my really garbage-y days, people on Zoom no longer ask me if I've forgotten to eat my monthly vegetable.  

Embrace not being okay with your life's current trajectory

Alexis is lauded as the character with the most growth on Schitt's Creek, channelling her desperate lack-of-okayness into improving her life, her friendships, her family, and her career.

Self isolation offered me the chance to assess how the pandemic was affecting my life; for a long time I was the "This is fine" dog: desperately chugging caffeine alone in my apartment as the flames of my stalled artistic career smouldered around me.

I took a cue from Alexis and stopped saying, "I'm fine!" and started having honest conversations about pandemic fatigue and the exhaustion of making art in unforgiving circumstances instead.

I no longer let my discontent consume me; it now drives me, both to learn new skills like producing and video editing, and to find unconventional avenues for creative growth. I recently created a weekly Canadian late-night show called Late Night in Canada where I get to talk about our country's issues and politics in a comedic way, chat with activists, artists, and politicians, and make fun of our nation's top leaders with really bad Photoshop. What more could a girl want?

And if all of that doesn't work, I'm going back to college! I've heard Elmdale's got a terrific Pubic Relations program. 

So thank you, Alexis. I probably still won't go back to the gym when it reopens, but your own journey did me a world of good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clare Blackwood is an award-winning Toronto-based actor, writer, and comedian, an alumna of the Second City Sketch Conservatory, and the creator, writer, and host of Late Night in Canada, a new weekly political late-night show on YouTube. She is a contributing writer for The Beaverton, and has also been published on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Slackjaw, The Belladonna Comedy, Weekly Humorist, and Points in Case. Find her on Twitter @clareblackwood, or at www.clareblackwood.com.

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