Being Erica – Television Review

It would be absolutely impossible, if you knew me, to guess that I would like this quirky CBC show, and the fact that it was picked up by SOAPNET certainly wouldn’t help matters.

Temple Street Productions/Stephen Scott
Temple Street Productions/Stephen Scott

A girl with a life in shambles, who is just dripping with “issues,” goes to a very odd “therapist” who sends her back in time for a shot at doing over key moments of her past, is not the kind of show you’re going to put me in the ring with.  Not if you have any idea what you’re doing.

But, Being Erica is not quite as easy to dismiss as its summary blurb and choice of networks might imply.  Though the pilot lead-in starts off pretty rough, the show gets going quickly, and it turns out that somewhere on the spectrum there is acceptable kooky-cuteness.

Erica Strange (Erin Karpluk) is the woman who regrets just about everything she’s ever done in her life.  She’s 30-ish, alone-ish, and generally stuck in a rut no matter what spoke of the life wheel you’re looking at.  When things come crashing down on the really horrible, very bad, no good, etc., etc…. a strange Doctor appears and offers her a chance to turn her life around.  Because she happens to stumble into his office, she decides to give the therapy thing a whirl.  What’s the worst that could happen, it turns out to be one more bad decision?

Temple Street Productions/Stephen Scott
Temple Street Productions/Stephen Scott

The mysterious Dr. Tom (Michael Riley), who endlessly tosses around quotes, gets Erica to make a list of things that went wrong in her life.  The bad decisions, mistakes, and regrets from the last twenty years or so that Erica can’t get over.  He then demands a serious commitment to change her life, and the next thing you know Erica finds herself back at her prom.

Now the stage is set for her to relive at least one horrible moment from her past, and she can prevent herself from being the girl who passed out drunk on the dance floor.  The question quickly turns around on itself though, because Erica soon learns that the fix doesn’t lead to anything really wonderful anyway.  In fact, MyPast 2.0 might turn out to be one of those not so stellar upgrades.

On paper the show is just riddled with sap, and you have to expect it to play out like the worst offerings of Lifetime, but it somehow dodges the bullets it aims at itself.  It somehow accepts its goofiness, rather than trying to rise above it, and that ends up working.  Look, the show says, here’s a bit of fun that’s at least a little clever… and, what the hell, it’s kind of fun.

If you’re in Canada (or otherwise get CBC like I do), you’re already deep in at about episode 9, but in the U.S. on SOAPNET, the second episode is airing tonight.  Check it out, it’s rather a good time.  The show also gives you Erica’s Vlog (or whatever) at the website, wherein Erica rambles at various people in her life.  “Webisode 1” included below.

Are You Screening?

Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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