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Catherine O’Hara Wins an Emmy and Our Hearts

Catherine O'Hara took home an Emmy last night for her brilliant role on the comedy Schitt's Creek. Here's why she, and her character, inspire us during these times.

I want to say that Catherine O’Hara is a national treasure, but technically I can’t since she’s Canadian. And she emphasized the triumph of Candian-ness at last night’s Emmy Awards broadcast by appearing with Schitt’s Creek cast mates at a swank party north of the border (complete with a white-rose-lined red carpet), while all the poor American-nominee schlubs were stuck on Zoom from their homes, getting their bookshelves and kitchen counters critiqued by Room Rater over on Twitter.

So, as a country we got our noses rubbed in the superiority of our northern neighbor’s COVID response, but I will forgive Catherine O’Hara anything. She and Schitt’s Creek got me through some of my worst days of the pandemic. There she was, as Moira Rose, the glamorous, former soap opera star trapped in a rundown motel with her whole family after her world collapsed, and somehow she was making a go of it. How could I not identify? How could I not feel better about my own restricted life?

And the Winner Is…

O’Hara won her first acting Emmy last night (she’d previously won one for writing), in the category of best lead actress in a comedy. (Schitt’s Creek racked up wins, including one for Best Comedy Series.) Her win was announced from an envelope that host Jimmy Kimmel and Jennifer Anniston had cleansed by fire “to burn off all the germs” (people, this is why Canada is doing so much better on the COVID front).

Wearing a sequined black dress and combat boots (a pairing that would have gotten the approval of clotheshorse Moira Rose), she gave her acceptance speech. “This is so cool,” said the 66-year-old O’Hara. “I will forever be grateful to Eugene and Daniel Levy for the opportunity to play a woman of a certain age — my age — who gets to fully be her ridiculous self.”

Yes, Moira Rose can be ridiculous and vainglorious, but what I love so much about how the character is written and played is that she is not just that. She has depth (granted, in a kind of superficial way), meaning she can be surprisingly warm, tender and graceful. And funny, always funny.

I believe most of us are equally multi-layered, and it is a true delight that television is recognizing an actress and a character our age that demonstrate this. Take a bow, Catherine/Moira, and thanks for your words of comfort.

Here’s how she signed off last night: “Though these are the most trying of times, may you have as much joy being holed up in a room or two with your family, as I did with my dear Roses.”


By Jeannie Ralston


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