'Schitt's Creek' just covered Tina Turner and it's simply the best

Deputy Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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David (Dan Levy) and Maura (Catherine O’Hara) swoon over a serenade from Patrick (Noah Reid) on ‘Schitt’s Creek.’ (Photo: Pop)
David (Dan Levy) and Maura (Catherine O’Hara) swoon over a serenade from Patrick (Noah Reid) on ‘Schitt’s Creek.’ (Photo: Pop)

There’s no greater surprise on a TV comedy than when a character sings and it’s a) actually good and b) disarmingly touching. Schitt’s Creek nailed it in this week’s episode, when David (Dan Levy) and mom Moira (Catherine O’Hara) braced for an open mic night serenade from David’s boyfriend, Patrick (Noah Reid).

But when Patrick began singing a beautiful acoustic version of Tina Turner’s “The Best,” both mother and son got misty — although only one of them was scripted to. “While we were shooting, Catherine was getting so moved by it that she just had to fit it into the character. At one point, she was like, ‘Well, I guess Moira can just cry,’” Dan tells us.

The episode aired Tuesday night in Canada and by Wednesday morning, Reid’s cover was No. 1 on the iTunes Canada soundtrack chart.

Now that the episode has aired in America on Pop, it’s available on iTunes here as well. (UPDATE: Profits will be donated to LGBT Youth Line in Canada and The Trevor Project in America.) Dan, who co-created the series with his father, Eugene Levy, says he’s always loved the song’s lyrics. “You never really think to listen carefully to the lyrics, but it’s such a stunningly written pop song,” he says. “I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that if we can find a way to do an acoustic version of this song, the lyrics are so beautiful.”

The show’s writers wanted to pepper moments into the season bringing new couple David and Patrick closer together, and Dan knew that Reid — who has a background in musical theater and an album on iTunes and Spotify — had a great voice they could use at some point. “We just thought, what would be a great way to really show the audience that these two mean more to each other than they had initially expected or had ever thought,” Dan says. “We obviously went through a variety of different [ideas] — there’s the Say Anything approach to showing up to the motel, but we didn’t know what to do with that. The idea of an open mic night [at David and Patrick’s shop] we found really funny because it’s so disturbing to David, the idea that anyone would find that entertaining or enjoyable. Then on top of that, have his boyfriend spearhead the whole thing and ultimately sing to him — we just thought it was such a great way to showcase David’s biggest fear and then ultimately reveal that he had nothing to worry about.”

The song selection was Dan’s, but the arrangement was all Reid’s. “I called up Noah and said, ‘Here’s the situation. We want like a really slow, nice cover. Do you want us to coordinate how we do that or do you want to take a stab at it?’ He said, ‘No, no, no, let me play around with it for a bit.’ About a month later, I got this little MP3 sent to my phone where he was just sitting with an acoustic guitar and he sang the song. I would listen to that if it weren’t on my show,” Dan says. “Needless to say, that moment far exceeded any of my expectations in terms of just how beautifully it turned out. That’s all thanks to Noah Reid.”

This isn’t the first time Schitt’s Creek has caused waterworks with music. In the Season 3 finale, Moira surprised daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy) by showing up at her belated high school graduation and singing lead on a dreamy cover of “Baby, I’m Yours.”

What other TV comedies have used actors covering songs to such great effect? We’ll list some of our favorites, feel free to join in.

Murphy Brown: The titular Motown aficionado (Candice Bergen) serenaded her newborn with Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman.”

The Office: Andy (Ed Helms) insisted on singing Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” as his goodbye.

Gilmore Girls: We’re counting it because Lorelai (Lauren Graham) karaoking Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” was funny, until Luke (Scott Patterson) walked in.

Selfie: This show lasted less than a season, but the memory of just-rejected Eliza (Karen Gillan) singing Sia’s “Chandelier” at the company karaoke party lives on…

As does that a cappella rendition of  Cat Stevens’s “Wild World” Henry (John Cho) performs to an empty room.

Schitt’s Creek airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Pop. Catch up on the first three seasons on Netflix.

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