Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Being Erica

I know I'm late to the game on this one, but I've been watching the CBC's new show, "Being Erica," since it began in January. And it's REALLY good.

Set in Toronto (you can play "name that Toronto landmark" as they wander around downtown), the show is about Erica Strange, a 32-year-old woman who has made a kajillion mistakes in her life, and wishes she could go back and change them. Poof... one day a man named Dr. Tom pulls her into his office (his office magically appears in various places, and she could walk into a bathroom and it's the interior of his office) and asks her to write down all her regrets. She fills several sheets of paper, but the most important one is that her younger brother didn't die.

And then, he sends her back in time to those moments to try to play them out again, seeing if she can make her current life any happier or more successful. In the first one, she returns to high school in the early 90s to go to her prom and NOT get crazy drunk and fall all over the place and have her boyfriend dump her (the guy she's been pining for ever since). In the second episode, she goes to university to try to get her best friend not to end up with the woman who will eventually break his heart. In each episode, she manages to right the wrong, but then screws up so colossally that she creates a new problem.

The episodes are really well written, the dialogue is sharp and funny, and while it feels very Canadian in some places, in other ways I could see this show being sold internationally and playing around the world, because it focuses on a universal topic: regret. But it's far from a depressing show; it's very funny. In one episode she goes back to a guy's house on the first date who seems like a good prospect, until he shows her his African mask collection on the wall and she sees the "Made in Taiwan" sticker on the back. She decides to overlook it, but when he's making out with her on the couch and she sees his "Dostoevsky for Idiots" guide on his bookshelf, she can't get out of there fast enough.

The most touching moments so far have been her encounters with her brother when she goes back to the past. She always has a longing in her eyes, and reaches out to touch him as if she just wants to hold onto him and not let him go. The actress who plays Erica, Erin Karpluk, is amazing, and is able to play 32 and 18 very easily.

I love this show because it's so realistic. I also love it because she's only a couple of years younger than me, so when she returns to university it's in the same era as my university days were. They play music of the time to trigger memories, and the music playing is the same music that would have been playing when I was that age.

The show has been on Mondays at 9, but has just moved to Wednesdays at 9pm (I know... I know.. blasphemy for Lost viewers) but if you have time-shifting or a PVR, watch Lost and record Being Erica. If you've missed the episodes so far (and live in Canada) go here to watch the first five and catch up. You will not be disappointed.


redeem147 said...

This is a great show. CBC has a few - I also love The Border.

Melissa said...

I can't wait for this to show in the US on SoapNet. The previews/clips I've seen have been fantastic.

Have you seen her video diaries? They're hilarious and poignant and everything I hope the show will be:

(I found you through Ryan/BeyondtheRubicon and think you're fabulous.)

humanebean said...

*sigh* "unavailable" in the US. We're SORRY about President Bush ... we got RID of him already. We've sent Cheney to another "undisclosed location". (okay, okay, he's in Maryland ... which is the next best thing) Can't we PLEASE have 'Being Erica' south of the border? ; ]

Nikki Stafford said...

redeem: I haven't seen The Border, but I've heard really good things about it.

Melissa: Thank you! That's so sweet! Yes, her video diaries are very funny... there's a blog on the CBC site where she often has video podcasts. :)

humanebean: See Melissa's comment; looks like it'll come to your shores soon. And I must admit, I had a little giggle of happiness when I saw the note, "Only available in Canada." Nothing against Americans, of course, but as a Canuck, we're used to seeing that on EVERYTHING. We can't access any videos off major network sites in the US... Hulu is closed to us... you name it, it's unavailable outside of the US borders. So it was nice to see something where I was actually allowed in for a change. :) But it's too bad you weren't. Must be copyright issues there.

And on behalf of myself, thank you for everything you've done with that new administration. ;)

humanebean said...

You know, I hadn't thought of it that way. Typical selfish, tunnel-visioned American! I hereby resolve to wait my place in line patiently.

And, on behalf of those who have labored long in the shadows, dreaming of a time when the bright light of day would once again shine on the cobwebbed corners of democracy, we humbly accept the thanks of grateful nations. One small step for America .... hopefully one giant leap for mankind. ; ]

Jazzygirl said...

I will wait patiently too. :) It looks like a really good show so I'm looking forward to it. Not that I need yet ANOTHER show to get into, mind you! ;)

helfron said...

Really love this show. It is easily my favourite "time travel" show because it is so real rather than a crossword puzzle. Being Erica is my favourite TV show since Buffy and Firefly. Heard good things about the Border as well. Republic of Doyle, which I haven't seen, looks interesting as well.