Saturday, 8 September 2012
Being Erica Review: What is the importance of Being Erica?
Really good Canadian television is a bit of a rare breed. Truthfully, even though I was born in raised in Canada, most of the TV that I watched in my childhood was American made. Up until a few years ago, I can honestly say that I can’t name a single Canadian drama or comedy that I watched and it never really bothered me all that much. Then came the writer’s strike of 2007 and Canadian TV started getting picked up by American networks to fill the content gap left by those fighting for the rights of content creators everywhere in the American industry. Suddenly, I found a reason to watch Canadian television and I’m very glad that I did.
Because then came Being Erica. A show about a down and out woman whose life just hasn’t turned out the way she planned it. A woman who can’t help but think that if only she’d made different choices in her past, her life would’ve ended up being so much better then it ended up being. And of course, who hasn’t felt that once or twice in their life? Who hasn’t taken a look back at their life so far and said “If only I could go back and do this differently, my life would’ve been so much better.” But is that in fact true? If you could go back and change it, would it actually be better or just different? Are you sure you wouldn’t make it worse? Even more importantly, are these moments really the things that have kept you from being happy?
These are the central questions at the heart of the show that is one part comedy, one part drama, one part sci-fi/fantasy, all blended together to tell a story of strength and personal growth, championed by the great and talented Jana Sinyor. While occasionally feeling like an ensemble cast, the show never loses sight of the quirky, smart, funny, and powerful yet feminine Erica Strange (played by the fantastic Erin Karpluk) who is on a journey of self discovery that never lets her take the easy way out.
It’s worth noting that in the middle of the show’s four year run, Erin Karpluk had the opportunity to work on an American TV show, and did, as a supporting character on a show called Life Unexpected but eventually had to leave in order to continue with Being Erica. I don’t think there are many people in the industry who would argue that if you want to make it in the industry today, Hollywood is where it is at. So the fact that she for all intents and purposes left an American TV show for a show in which she starred in being watched by a much smaller audience, means there has to be something pretty special about the show, and I can honestly say that I understand why.
She was once quoted as saying that people who watch the show have come up to her on the street and told her that Being Erica has encouraged them to make changes in their life when they weren’t happy with it before. Given the way in which it has affected me, both as a writer and on a personal level, I have no trouble believing that other people have felt the same way. Whenever life gets me down or I start to worry about much I have yet to accomplish in my life that I want to do, I turn on Being Erica and I remind myself that no matter how bad things might feel, they are never as bad as I think they are. There’s always a way to salvage things and make the most out of a bad situation.
And so, what’s the importance of Being Erica? That’s the importance of Being Erica.