Yesterday I analyzed gay representation on ten "tv shows we think you'll like" on Amazon Prime, and Being Erica
got the most points. Plus it's got time travel. So I watched the first episode.
Scene 1: On the way to work in downtown Toronto, Erica (Erik Karpluk) tells us that she's a screw-up: 32 years old, with an MBA but a series of dead-end jobs, attractive but unable to land a husband. The reason for her failure at the heterosexist trajectory: bad decisions.
She goes to her cubicle and starts answering calls. Suddenly the boss fires her for being "too smart."
That happens to me a lot, too.. "You're overqualified for this job! We're really looking for someone stupid."
Erica wants to hang out with her friend Vinessa, but she's busy -- got a meeting. Successful, you know. I'll bet she landed a husband, too.
They discuss Erica's date tonight with a nice, stable dentist -- Erica's not into him becauss she's still hung up on Noah LaFleur (Chris Gallinger) from high school.
After 14 years? That may be your problem!
Scene 3: Erica getting dressed for her date. Gratiutious body shot! Yuck! Then the guy (James A. Woods, top photo, a Canadian actor, no relation to weirdoJ ames Woods) cancels because he hasn't been to the gym in two weeks and feels out of shape,
Two weeks? Back before COVD, if I skipped two days I felt fat.
Fired, dumped, and then rained on. Worst day ever, right?
Not yet. Erica seeks refuge in a coffee shop and takes a sample of a new mocha drink -- which turns out to have nuts in it! She collapses.
Scene 4: The mysterious Dr. Tom (Michael Riley) visits Erica in the hospital and commiserates with her, isn't it a terrible tragedy to be 32 years old with no husband or kids! She's an utter failure as a woman and a human being, but he can help. He leaves her with his card.
This episode was written by Jana Sinyor and directed by Holly Dale. Two women who apparently haven't heard the news: we had Women's Liberation 60 years ago. You've come a long way, baby. Your self-worth no longer depends on whether or not you have a husband. .
Erica is recuperating in her old room in her parents' house, looking at all the photographs on her bedroom wall of her friends smooching with men and surrounded by kids. Some of those kids are teeangers. When did Erica leave home?
Vinessa, an aunt and uncle, Erica's sister younger Samantha, and her husband Josh (Adam MacDonald) come by for a "get well" brnnch. It was just an allergic reaction. How much recuperation does she need?
They rub their various careers in Erica's face: investment banker! surgeon! "And Erica, dear, what job do you have now?" Then their various relationships: "What about that dentist you were dating? He's succcessful -- you should land him!" Finally Erica can't take it anymore and blows up at them.
Scene 6: Erica leaves, still in her pajamas, and wanders through suburban Toronto. She somehow appears at the house where Dr. Tom has his practice. The receptionist points her up a scary circular staircase.
Dr. Tom has a gigantic portrait of Sigmund Freud behind his desk, and has the annoying habit of speaking in quotations (and then giving you the author).
He asks Erica to write down all of the bad choices she has made in her life, and they'll work on them. She writes down dozens. This reminds me of the Peanuts strip where Lucy offers to write down all of Charlie Brown's faults. "Get a piece of paper, fold it in half so you have columns, and number 1 to 50. Then turn to the back and number 51 to 100. You'd beter label this page A. We'll have several more.
First up: high school Harvest Dance. She got drunk and passed out on the dance floor. Afterwards her boyfriend Noah broke up with her, and the other kids shunned her, labeling her a "slut." But isn't drinkin acceptable among high school kids? And doesn't "slut" mean something else?
Dr. Tom pressures her into making a commitment: "Do you want to change your life or not?" I'm smelling con artist. Legitimate life coaches let you think it over. But Erica says "Yes!"
Zap! She's 17 again, back in high school, but with her memories intact. Won't being freaked out ruin her day?
She freaks out with best friend and then the yearbook editor, Mr. Leeds (Mark Hildreth, no beefcake photos).
At home, she acts bizarre with Dad, the Young Samantha, and Young Samantha's boyfriend, the Young Josh (John McGill). Finally she concludes that Mr. Tom sent her there to correct the Harvest Dance mistake. If she succeeds, she'll go home.
This is probably not the same John McGill. It's just difficult to find beefcake photos of actors who have appeared in nothing else and have the same name as 35,000 other people.
Scene 8: Morning. Erica helps Dad fix his old-fashioned computer (like 1970s vintage). Brother Leo (Devon Bostick), who apparently has died since, appears. Erica makes a scene by dramatically hugging him.
Out on the street, Mr. Tom appears as a hot dog vendor.. Erica yells at him: "I didn't sign up for this! I want out!" He insults her.
Then she argues that fixing her mistake will change everything. Butterfly Effect? He assures her that changing her life will have no impact on world events.
Scene 9: Erica goes to school and makes out with Noah in front of staring students.
That night, Erica is getting ready, trying to shave her legs, when Samantha's boyfriend accidently bursts into her room. This will be important later.
Scene 10: Erica and Noah are making out in a parked car. She tries to give him a blow job, but he resists; he's not ready to have sex yet. She starts talking crazy; he leaves.
Scene 11: The dance. All the couples seem to be boy-girl. Erica's friends tell her about a rumor that she pleasures herself with a vibrator (based on what the boyfriend saw, no doubt). I see where this is going; you can't change the past. Remember the men who tried to kill HItler?
Noah comes in, accuses her of being a skank, and loudly breaks up with her.
Scene 12: Erica rushes out to the hot dog cart and yells at Dr. Tom that she's making the same mistakes again -- you can't change the past. She wants to go home. Dr. Tom says "You're right where you need to be." New Age BS
Scene 13: Back in the school, the girls grab Erica to drink vodka. She refuses, and they yell at her for ruining the dance. So you're screwed if you drink, and screwed if you don't drink. Welcome to high school.
Scene 14: Big mess. One of the girls overdoses, and pulls of Erica's top. Undaunted, she rushes into the dance to ask for help. Now everybody thinks she's a skank! The girl has to be taken away in an ambulance, and it's Erica's fault for some reason.
Distraught, she confides in Yearbook Editor Mr. Leeds: "I'm a 32-year old woman in a 16-year old body!" She came here to fix her mistake, but screwed up.
But he's perfectly ok with the time travel thing. "You didn't screw up. You did what you had to do to get your friend some help. You didn't care what anyone else thought of you."
Whoosh! Erica waks up at home. She rushes back to the therapist's house, but it's not there anymore. But Dr. Tom shows up and tells her the moral of the adventure: don't worry about other people's opinions of you. Do what you think is right.
Is this an After School Special? The more you know....
Beefcake: Cute guys everywhere, but nobody takes their clothes off, except Erica. Most of the guys appear only in this episode, anyway, but there are hunky regulars coming up, like Morgan Kelly and Adam Fergus (left).
Other Sights: No.
Canada: Disappointingly generic, no Canadian references except for one establishing shot of downtown Toronto.
Dr. Tom: Annoying. I really want to smack this guy for his holier-than-thou attitude. Maybe he's an angel, and therefore literally holy. But still...
Sexism: Women are worthless unless they have a man! Oh, and a high-power career, too, as an afterthought.
Gay characters: No. "Uncle Ruby" appears in only two episodes, and the two gay guys won't show up until a nice, safe Season Two.
Will I Keep Watching: Probably. In spite of its numerous faults, it was fun to watch.