I recently watched an episode of Being Erica which began with Erica awakening to find her bed empty. Her boyfriend, shirtless under an apron, greets her from the kitchen, where he’s cooking breakfast. He is ridiculously handsome, and has underwear model abs. After embracing Erica, he offers her a day of shopping with his credit card.
It’s escapism for Canada’s women, and that’s excellent. We’ve had fifty years male fantasy in the form of Gunsmoke, Magnum PI and Two and a Half Men, so it’s high time to even up the score.
On a related note, in its first season, the show depicts all five of its recurring blonde female characters as villainnesses, or at least difficult and a little bitchy. The show’s creator? A brunette.
For those new to Being Erica, the show has a wacky premise. In the pilot, Erica meets Dr. Tom, a kind of metaphysical therapist who transports her back to various points in her life, where she inhabits an earlier version of herself. The time travel stems from the idea that Erica has many regrets, and the time travel enables her to correct past mistakes.
But here’s the thing: more often than not, she cannot or does not change the past. The show’s message is also a kind of (gender-neutral) fantasy: my life is the indelible sum of past actions, and it’s inevitable and right. There’s something very assuring in that idea, and reflects our culture’s current fetishization of “absolutely no regrets”. I’m not sure that’s a great lesson, but only a stupid man would turn to television shows was lessons.
I’m only ten episodes into the first season, and I’m actually enjoying it. The writing is entertaining, and the leads are strong. I’m proud to say that the actress who plays Erica, Erin Karpluk, is from my alma mater. I’ve tried six or eight Canadian series, and this is the one that’s stuck. I’m going to give Combat Hospital a try, too, as I think that passes the Canadian test.
Speaking of the Canadian test, how Canadian is Being Erica?
- The cast occasionally acknowledges that they’re in Toronto, and we see iconic Toronto locations like the ferry to Toronto Island.
- One of the recurring characters if French Canadian.
- I’ve spotted some Canadian currency.
- One of the characters works as a columnist at The Globe and Mail (she seems modeled on Leah McLaren).
If an American wasn’t paying close attention, though, they could watch several episodes without realizing the show was Canadian. So, I give it two out of five poutines.