Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Being Erica. SoapNet. TV show for grown ups.
Being Erica is about Erica Strange, age 32, single, between jobs, and Canadian. (OK, it's a Canadian show. But ever since Degrassi and ENG, I've enjoyed Canadian TV.)
The Hollywood-pitch: "Imagine 13 Going on 30, but in reverse! Instead of learning life's important lessons by being an insta-grown up, she learns them by going into the past."
I had thought that this was going to be a stuck in the past show; and, what with it being Canadian and on an odd TV channel, thought why not?
Oh. my. This? It's my new "look at what I discovered! It's the best show! You must watch!"
About the back in time thing. What happens is this; in the first episode, Erica feels like she's made every possible wrong choice one can make: in career, school, life, family, friendships, personal life. You name it; she did it wrong. Erica goes to see a psychiatrist, and lists all her "wrong decisions" ever. Turns out the Doctor can send her back! in! time! It's a short-term thing; and no, it's not to "fix" the past. It's to confront her own decisions and how she views them.
So, can you change the past? Or do you just change how you feel about the past? Interestingly, so far, Erica changes a few details here and there, but has yet to change anything that significantly alters the present. There's no waking up to a different job, a husband, a toddler she didn't have before the back! in! time!
If anything, once Erica sees the truth of the past -- that a decision was not wrong; that it's as much how you handle a mistake as having made that mistake; that when confronted with choices, one is not right, one is not wrong; she gains more confidence in herself.
Will she change anything that alters the present? Well, with divorced parents; a tragically dead brother; and a sister about to marry the worst guy ever.... yeah. I think we may see some bigger changes, though her Doctor insists that it isn't possible.
For the first few eps, we saw the same actress as the back-in-time Erica, because it was High School and University. But then... this last one was Erica going back to her Bat Mitzvah (did I mention she's Jewish?); and it was a younger actress, who did a great job acting as a 32 year old in a 13 year old's body (and did a kick-ass job of remembering her Torah portion after almost 20 years!) And so cute to see the grown up Erica appreciating her family, her party, and all; and ignore the things that embarrass real thirteen year olds.
Other good bits: the clothes, slang, and music from the past. Half the time I'm thinking, "OMG, I owned that dress!" or "I love that song!" Erica's friends and family are not only great -- there is some very nuanced story-telling going on, as they have to present themselves at different times, in different emotional places. Since it's Canadian, there are some Degrassi alum.
© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy