Monday, February 02, 2009

Being Erica Fun in Any Time

I don't know how I missed blogging on the newest CBC television hit. I usually post something right after a series premiere or television show debut, but not this year. Better late than never!

Being Erica is a departure for CBC. It's an hour-long comedy, for one thing. Until Corner Gas came on the scene, it was popularly accepted that Canadian TV didn't do comedy well at all. Now after a couple of hits have made it into their sophomore year, CBC has gone whole hog into comedy. But Being Erica not just a comedy, it also deals with the downs of life in a compassionate and realistic way, unlike the usual righteously grave way of US TV. And it's sci fi in a non-sci fi way.

I don't think I've ever seen Canadian television do sci fi, not as a Canadian-based show anyway. Sure, as US teams gating through the galaxy, but a Toronto-based gal time travelling? Nah! When I read that part, I had to see. Within minutes of tuning in I was hooked. The show's producers didn't want the time travel to be a gimmick, but a way to move the story along. And they succeeded.

In the opening episode, a mysterious therapist walks into Erica Strange's life. He asks her for a list of all her regrets as a launching point for her therapy. After several hours of writing, she hands the list over. Each episode, Erica faces another failure of her failed life that originated in one of those regrets, and her therapist whirls her right back into the middle of it, not caring if her past version is driving down a highway or about to recite a poem she hasn't remembered in years. That whirl provides a perfect natural setup for levity that quickly moves into a story within the whole story. And all through the series hovers in the background her biggest regret: the death of her oldest brother Leo.

The Border
usually holds the Monday 9:00 pm timeslot. Being Erica is the exact opposite of that fast-moving drama. But the hour flies by regardless because they're both worth watching.

No comments: