The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 1

Third-episode verdict: Being Erica

So we’re three episodes into Being Erica aka "Quantum Leap for girls", in which plucky, unlucky-in-life Erica gets sent back in time to fix all the parts of her life that went wrong as part of some extreme therapy. Time then for the normally extremely manly Carusometer to set its shades of justice to pink and pass verdict.

On the whole, the show’s been very good so far. Maybe a little lightweight in places, but enjoyable, fun, female-friendly without being male-unfriendly. It’s been typically Canadian-smart, with Erica (MA Lit) and best pal discussing Tolstoy and Dostoevsky while playing Wii Sports, for example. And while there’s been a certain element of predictability, with Erica finding that if you try fixing one part of your life, another tends to get broken in return, it has been cleverer than that for the most part.

Doctor Tom, the mysterious therapist whose office can appear behind any door, who can send Erica ‘leaping’ back into her past body without so much as a bye-your-leave, and who seems somehow privy to every conversation she ever has and everything she’s ever done, is by turns irritating and interesting. We’re not exactly sure how he does everything he does – and he’s becoming more and more Satanic by the episode – and his habit of not saying anything other than quotes by famous writers became very irritating by the second episode, but his mystery is another reason for watching, even if it looks like we’re not going to get any answers any time soon.

Erica isn’t quite as interesting, but rather than being a stereotypical helpless chick lit heroine, certainly through therapy is becoming stronger and turns out to have had an edgier side than Bella Bloom on The Ex-List, for example. She’s more adult and in one sense of that word, there’s a good deal more naughtiness going on in her past that you might have guessed. But in another sense of the word, it’s interesting to see how simple maturity makes her behave differently and more strongly than she did when she was a teenager, surely every 30something’s belief – if they knew then what they knew now… The fact she’s smart, both intellectually and emotionally, is also a plus, and she feels far more of a three-dimensional character than many shows have given us. And Erin Karpluk is really very good.

No two episodes have really been the same, and the time travel aspect of the show is less important that you might have thought it would have been, with more of the show dedicated to Erica’s present day situation than what led her to it. There’s an interesting romantic sub-plot developing, Erica’s on the up and her family and friend’s are improving. 

One to watch, if you like fun but smart female-oriented dramas with just a hint of fantasy – or thought Peggy Sue Got Married should have been turned into a less depressing TV series.

Given this is being distributed by BBC Worldwide, it should be in the UK at some point, too, and SOAPnet in the US has already picked it up as well.

Carusometer rating: 1
Prediction: Will run for at least two seasons, minimum.

Wednesday’s Bad Nemo news

Doctor Who

Film

Radio

Theatre

British TV

US TV

Canadian TV

Review: Being Erica 1×1

In Canada: Mondays, 9pm, CBC

UPDATED 9/1/9: With new pic and vids
UPDATE 2: Apparently, the BBC is going to acquire this, although no airdate is fixed

There’s kind of a golden rule in time travel stories: never interfere with your own past. Don’t go meet your parents because your dad or mum will fall in love with you and you’ll never be born; don’t try to save a relative’s life because the wee timerous beasties will start eating you while you’re trapped in a church. That kind of thing.

The other golden rule is that you’re travelling in time to make a difference to the world. Let’s stop war being averted, aliens invading and taking over, or the future president of the United States from being killed by assassins.

Being Erica laughs – it is a dramedy after all – at that kind of jessie talk. It’s a time travel show in which the heroine does nothing but interfere with her own past, all because her life’s a bit of a mess and she’d quite like a decent job or boyfriend for a change.

Erica Strange is 32, lives in Toronto and her life has gone to pot. She has a Masters but works in a call centre – or should that be worked? She’s cute but always gets dumped or treated badly by rubbish men. Everyone she knows seems to be married and successful. If only she didn’t keep making such bad decisions.

After she wakes up in hospital after an allergic reaction to a nut-infused coffee, a mysterious, saturnine man called Dr Tom (Baker?) turns up at her door offering her therapy that’s guaranteed to fix her life. What he doesn’t tell her is that it involves travelling into her past to points in her life when she made bad decisions to see if she’d make a better job of things with the gifts of hindsight and maturity.

First ‘leap’: Prom Night.

Continue reading “Review: Being Erica 1×1”