Tag Archives: Being Erica

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


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?

Yeah, we get it, Being Erica is set in Toronto

Being Erica

I just watched the premiere of CBC’s Being Erica, a show I was hopeful about a few weeks ago because of stuff it produced that it turns out has nothing to do with the show.

I was worried that this would turn into another amateur-produced series with cliché-crammed scripts that scream “this is a Canadian-produced show that wouldn’t survive 10 seconds south of the border”.

After the first episode, it’s too early to tell either way whether the show is worth watching. There’s plenty of cliché in it (rain starts pouring instantaneously when her date totally disses her). But there’s just enough nudity insanity later on to make up for it… I think.

I’ll let you know when I form an opinion. Until then you can watch it and form your own.

One thing that does annoy me (and, I imagine, most of the country) is the constant unnecessary references to Toronto. The high-school setting is set in 1992 (and makes a joke about a home computer that is at least a decade older than that), and references to the Blue Jays winning the World Series are inserted everywhere. The actual printed word “Toronto” appears at least four times in the 45-minute episode by my count. Even Sex and the City doesn’t reference its home city as often.

I’m starting to wonder if the city doesn’t have some product placement contract with the series somewhere, or if the Torontonians behind CBC television programming are really that obsessed with name-dropping their home town.

UPDATE: The premiere’s ratings were good or awful, depending on who you ask, but it’s hard to judge because the World Junior Hockey Championship on TSN sucked away most Canadian viewers. Nevertheless, critics seem to like it.

Inside the CBC has a post about Being Erica’s social media strategy (which will no doubt be analyzed to death on every Canadian social media blog). It includes the blog and YouTube videos I raved about earlier, as well as a fake Facebook profile (isn’t that a no-no on Facebook?).

UPDATE (Jan. 16): I just watched Episode 2, which apparently tried to make up for all the Torontoing of the pilot by mentioning Montreal seven too many times, and name-dropping some other towns too (Etobicoke?). Is the CanCon Committee paying them for every mention of Canadiana?

CBC’s Being Erica almost sounds good

The CBC, apparently excited by the fact that its show about a neurotic 30-something single white brunette consistently comes in dead last in the ratings with a pathetic 300,000 viewers (about a third of what Air Farce brought in on a regular basis), it’s developing a new show about a neurotic 30-something single white brunette called Being Erica (heavy Flash/automatic video play warning), which premieres Jan. 5.

The CBC’s description of the show is somewhat lacking, but it seems to have something to do with a woman being sent back in time by her therapist to fix all of the things she did wrong in high school and make her life better. Or something. It’s unclear if this is supposed to be really happening in some sci-fi way or if this is just in her mind. Whatever, I’m sure CBC will find some way to make it suck.

What piqued my interest though is this blog they’ve setup to drum up interest for the show (via TV, eh?). It features one-minute video blogs of Erica in her cubicle at work, ranting about this crazy coworker she has who leaves passive-agressive post-its everywhere. It’s like she works in The Office, only she actually has a pulse and doesn’t use awkward silences for conversation.

I actually like the videos. Enough that I almost wish the CBC would ditch the TV show entirely and focus their efforts on this instead. (Imagine if they started really thinking outside the 30-minute-sitcom box, the things they could accomplish.) I’m not sure if it’s just how well Erin Karpluk delivers the rants, or if it’s the writing behind them, but I’m entertained in a way I haven’t been by the CBC in quite a while.

The buzz (which can’t entirely be trusted, since it thinks Sophie was a hit) suggests that the show is very entertaining. More tellingly, it’s also been sold already to ABC’s Soapnet and BBC Worldwide.

That might be enough for me to try to remember where CBC is on my TV dial.