From The Archives: Being Erica. By Des Cherry.
Have you ever wished you go could back in time and edit your past? Take back that mean thing you said in the heat of an argument, tell someone how much they meant to you before they died unexpectedly or not sleep with that guy who turned out to be awful. Well if so, you may enjoy ‘Being Erica’, a brilliant Canadian TV series, created by Jana Sinyor, which ran from 2009 to 2011 (CBC).
Erica, who is in her early 30s, has a long list of regrets, and feels her life is going nowhere when she meets a mysterious and miraculous therapist, Dr. Tom. He can send her back to the moment she is regretting. When Erica does change her regret, however, things don’t quite turn out the way she had thought they would.
This provides an entertaining and interesting exercise in philosophy for the viewer. Can we change the path we are on in life or is it all pre-destined in some way? Do we really have freedom of choice? There are philosophical questions and quotes throughout, mostly from Dr. Tom. ‘The life which is unexamined is not worth living’ (Plato). ‘We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way’ (John Holt). ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it’ (Winston Churchill). Erica certainly seems to learn from examining her history in her therapy sessions and becomes more confident and self-aware as the series goes on.
Towards the end she even learns the year in which she will die, which raises yet more questions. How do we live when we know we only have a certain amount of time left, when we know the year of our death? It’s too far away for Erica to party every day, but it’s close enough not to bother with a pension or worrying too much about the future of the company she has now set up.
‘Being Erica’ addresses some interesting questions of our time such as, ‘Why does my boyfriend masturbate to porn when he could be having sex with me?’
‘Why did my best friend choose relative strangers over me to be godmother to her child?’ ‘Should I have sold out my principles to get that great job I wanted?’
The acting is excellent, particularly from Erin Karpluk who plays Erica. You really feel her pain when she is betrayed by friends or falls out with boyfriends. I watched it again recently and it made me so nostalgic for the days when people may have had these honest discussions and arguments. Nowadays I think we are more likely to simply be ‘unfriended’ on social media or blocked on the phone. Even just being able to go out for a drink after work, go clubbing and flirt with random strangers and worry about why we aren’t married yet instead of worrying about a deadly virus made me miss the ‘good old days’.
‘Being Erica’ is a fabulous trip down memory lane with laughter, drama, great outfits and high heels. It has philosophy, ethics, coffee, wine and sex. I wish more TV was like this.
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