Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Annie Murphy and Dan Levy play the Rose family in Schitt's Creek

Even if you haven't watched it, there's a good chance the characters of Schitt's Creek have turned up on your phone – in your social feeds or in your WhatsApp groups.

The TV show has won prestigious awards and critical acclaim, but some of its most successful marketing has come from memes.

"I feel like the internet world almost caught on before the TV world did," the series co-creator and star, Dan Levy, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

The show is shown in dozens of countries around the world, and has proved irresistibly binge-worthy.

"We had an incredible social media manager through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation," says Dan.

"He was the person who initially put up all of that content online. I think it was the end of season two or three when he mentioned one meme or gif that had been viewed a billion times."

If 2020 were a Schitt’s Creek meme pic.twitter.com/52p1MLurSU

— Rachel Severson (@rachel_severson) July 23, 2020
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Did you ever notice that there’s a Schitt’s Creek meme for every occasion? pic.twitter.com/dOeqFLlKkH

— Mark (@kramehr) February 24, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Everytime I say Ew, my inner Alexis Rose wakes up! 💁🏻‍♀️@SchittsCreek @annefrances pic.twitter.com/1uflXyfEKO

— Madame Query (@PratimaSirohi) May 28, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

If you've only seen the out-of-context internet stuff then it's probably time for a quick explanation.

Dan plays David Rose, the son in a billionaire family who lose everything and end up living in a motel in a remote American town.

David is used to a completely over-the-top life in his luxury New York apartment but, all of a sudden, he's sharing a motel room with his sister, Alexis, who's played by Annie Murphy.

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, If you want to hear a banger, go check out A Little Bit Alexis by Annie Murphy

Initially, the audience wasn't supposed to like the Rose family.

"We had the luxury of spending an entire first season showing who these people were in order to slowly, but surely, reveal who they are becoming," says Dan.

"I'm very grateful that people stayed because the first season is showing these characters at their worst," he adds.

Dan's just released a book called Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story Of Schitt's Creek which looks at all six series and 80 episodes of the comedy.

He's written it with the guy he also co-created the show with: his real life and on-screen dad, Eugene Levy.

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The show's cult following even helped write the book with fans "knowing more about the show" than Dan did.

"It's both embarrassing for me and a compliment to them," he says.

"There was one Instagram account called Schitt's Sheets which documented in great detail, through a variety of spreadsheets, information about our show – from the number of times that people hugged each other, to the various variations that I wore my rings, to the number of times that Alexis said 'ew' in the show."

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A post shared by Schitt's Sheets (@schittssheets)

Alexis only says "ew, David" a handful of times in the entire thing, so what's become a catchphrase of hers in the world of memes isn't actually a massive part of the TV character.

"I think that's the big revelation for a lot of people as they think it's been spoken 1,000 times," Dan says.

"The truth is she said things like 'ew, stop' or 'ew, no' a lot more."

As well as internet legacies, Dan wants his show to be remembered for other reasons including David's pansexuality – which means he's attracted to people regardless of their gender.

"A lot of the stories I see representing my community are cautionary tales or lessons to be learned, or something that's kind of heavy handed and waterlogged with messaging," Dan says.

"Very rarely do members of the LGBTQIA+ community get to see themselves represented in really hopeful and happy ways.

"It's about presenting people for who they are, and allowing people to see those people and warm to those people and love those people."

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Dan believes production companies have a challenge in getting character representation right

Dan also let Newsbeat in on something fans have been wildly speculating about since a picture surfaced of him out to dinner with Antman star, Paul Rudd, a few weeks ago.

People hoped the meeting might mean Dan's in the third Antman film – but they were wrong.

"What came from that photo was essentially that I look much older than him, that we are best friends and that I am in Antman 3," he says.

"Unfortunately, he is not younger than me, we are not best friends and I am not sadly in Antman 3."

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