Being Erica’s regrets

Two months and nine episodes into the series, the team behind CBC’s one-hour drama Being Erica seem a bit more comfortable in their gimmick format. But unfortunately, that comfort hasn’t boosted its ratings, which slowly eroded into Sophie territory through a change from Monday to Wednesday nights.

Faced with tens of thousands abandoning the show every week, and ratings dropping to just over 400,000, the show sexed it up this week, promising HOT GIRL-ON-GIRL action. As a red-blooded male, that got me interested, as it did plenty of other TV-watching-watchers.

Nudity and sexuality are my two favourite words

Nudity and sexuality are my two favourite words

That was a good start. Unfortunately the warning neglected to mention Spice Girls music, which I think requires the most viewer discretion.

Those of you in Canada can watch last night’s episode (and all the other episodes) on CBC’s website in pretty-good-definition. If you’re wondering how far the sex scene goes, here’s the juiciest bits:

Kissing close-up

Topless

Even more topless

That’s about as far as it gets before an (admittedly hilarious) interruption. But that’s still pretty hot. Of course, Erin Karpluk could spend an entire episode reading the phone book and I’d be entranced, so perhaps I’m not the best judge. And Anna Silk (whom you might remember from that Nicoderm commercial) kind of looks like Mary-Louise Parker, another of my many TV crushes.

The reviews range from “lesberrific” to … well, I’ll let you know. In any case, it did see a ratings boost of about 100,000 viewers. Bill Brioux says that might have as much to do with less competition than increased interest.

Mid-season review

I’m not a TV critic any more than I’m an art critic, so I can’t tell you if the show is good or not, topless scenes notwithstanding. I can’t even tell you whether or not I like it, because I just don’t know. I think I’m stuck between liking it and not liking it. I’m still annoyed a bit by the constant references to Toronto, as if living in Toronto to Being Erica is like living in New York to Sex and the City.

But the show is growing on me. It’s becoming a bit less cliché, a bit less predictable. And most importantly, I’m still watching it.

New media get old quickly

One disappointment I have with the show is its apparent abandonment of new media marketing. The thing that first got me attached to it was the pre-launch campaign which included a blog and YouTube videos, which were actually pretty entertaining. But the blog and YouTube channel stopped being updated after the show launched, and I don’t see any original new media outreach. Since the show is plunging in the ratings and desperately trying to gain an audience, this would seem to be the last time to abandon marketing efforts.

Americans like us!

A couple of weeks ago, Being Erica premiered on ABC’s SoapNet cable channel. That led to reviews in U.S. media, most of which were positive (and all of which I got off the most excellent TV, Eh? blog).

  • New York Times: Likes, especially compared to previous Canadian imports
  • Detroit News: Likes, saying it fills the void left by Sex and the City.
  • Variety: Likes, calling it “frothy” and “refreshing”, but pointing out that its very premise (that changing the past doesn’t help) will make it difficult to sustain the show for long
  • Boston Herald: Likes, following that whole “it’s Canadian so it’s exotic” motif, but saying it’s more relatable and likable than over-Botoxed American fare.
  • South Coast Today: Likes, calling it smart and sympathetic
  • The Jewish Week: Likes, because of the strong Jewish identity of the family

So if it’s so good and we can relate to it so well, why aren’t we? Is Being Erica’s cancellation something we’ll end up regretting?

8 thoughts on “Being Erica’s regrets

  1. princess iveylocks

    Cancelling that show would effectively cut off state-sponsored therapy to hundreds of MA graduates working in call centres across the nation. Keep Being Erica (at least for two seasons)!

    Reply
  2. Erin

    Good work, Steve – you found the lady-on-lady action! It must be a superpower.

    Now, can you please get somebody to do a comparative review of the Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle for a tech-savvy, Canadian audience? In maybe the next week? C’mon, you’re at the newspaper. You can make things happen.

    Reply
  3. Guillaume Theoret

    The newspaper at least wouldn’t do a review of Sony Reader vs Amazon Kindle since it would be 1 sentence: Sony Reader you can get but Amazon Kindle you can’t. Until Amazon decides to stop shutting out Canada the point is moot. You can thank that Canadian telecoms insist on gouging everyone that wants access to their network for the fact that Canada is becoming a technological third world.

    Reply
  4. Erin

    I share your frustration. “Garrrrrr!” is an opinion I’ve been voicing a lot on this subject, actually. But I disagree that it’s a moot point.

    You *can* get a Kindle and Kindle books if you have a US credit card and shipping address. And once you have the Kindle, you can, I think, get a lot of stuff onto it with the help of the many websites that distribute DRM-free ebooks. If you have some minor file-reformatting skills, you can get lots more things onto it. You just can’t use the neat whispernet thing.Amazon has officially announced that it’ll make it available internationally, it just doesn’t say when, and Kindle tech support verifies that there’s a *lot* of interest from Canadians.

    Taking all that into account, I want somebody to tell me if the frustration of waiting for the neat wireless Kindle stuff to be available in Canada is worth it.

    Yup. That’s what I want.

    Reply
  5. Cedric

    And aside from the constant Toronto references, they also refer to Montreal as some exotic place with funny-accented people and bagel. :D

    Reply
  6. Talia

    I’m watching it over in the UK through amazing internet methods. I think it’s a bit shonky, and yeah infuriating, but I kind of love it. I’m not sure if they actually have come up with a proper overall arch though or are just stumbling through. It’s kind of comfort watching!

    Reply
  7. B

    “Is Being Erica’s cancellation something we’ll end up regretting?”

    *My response to this is why do you “assume” it WILL be cancelled! I HOPE it won’t! I LOVE Being Erica! I CANNOT wait until Season 2!!! =)

    Reply

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