Friday, January 21, 2011

Why I Love Being Erica

The CBC programme Being Erica (2009-2011), which just finished its third season, is easily my favourite TV programme since Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

Erica actually shares a lot with Buffy, Degrassi Classic, and My So-Called Life. Erica's creator, writer, and executive producer, Jana Sinyor, and Aaron Martin, Erica's writer and executive producer, both have ties to Degrassi: The Next Generation, and both have talked, as the excerpt from an interview with them at TV Casualty makes clear, about the influence of Buffy on Being Erica.

Like Buffy, Being Erica uses genre, in Erica's case science fiction, to explore, in a nuanced and complex fashion, the dramas and tragedies of real life. Erica (Erin Karpluk), a Torontonian Jewish thirtysomething, as we learn in the very first episode of Being Erica ("Doctor Tom", 5 January 2009), is in time travel therapy. Much of Erica's therapy revolves around past regrets, past regrets which include Erica's regret at her behaviour during a high school dance, the demise of one of Erica's former friendships, Erica's first sexual relationship, Erica's relationships with her family, Erica's relationships with former lovers, Erica's bat mitzvah, and probably most of all, Erica's regrets surrounding the death of her brother Leo, a regret that partially culminates in the superb season one finale "Leo" (1 April 2009). Like Buffy Being Erica is an arc show, novelistic television. And like Buffy Being Erica is novelistic television that touches on the social ethics of everyday life and treats these ethical issues in a sophisticated way.

I like all of this. A lot. I love intelligent arc television. I love television shows that take social ethical issues seriously. I love adult television that makes me, by making me identify with a protagonist like Erica, think seriously of what I have done in my past and its consequencs. Being Erica has all of this and more. I love Being Erica.

Appendix:
Aaron Martin and Jana Sinyor talk about the influence of Buffy on Being Erica...
Was it difficult to come up with that mythology?
Martin: Not really. [Jana and I] both come from a love of shows like that. The reason we both know each other and bonded is because of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is a huge show with a big blueprint to it. It’s the kind of TV that we really like.
Sinyor: We like shows that have a fantasy element that are grounded in reality. That’s what this show [Being Erica] is. We both loved that Buffy was very much set in the real world, that it had this whole underground thing with vampires.



Read What Others Have Written About Being Erica:
Being Erica TV Character Transfixes Toronto's Jews
http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=186852

Being Erica Takes a Jewish Slant on the Single Life
http://www.jewishjournal.com/television/article/being_erica_tv_show_takesjewish_slant_on_single_life_20090311/

Yiddeshe Mamme on Being Erica
http://truthpraiseandhelp.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/time-traveling-in-toronto/
http://truthpraiseandhelp.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/make-someone-happy/

On Season Two of Being Erica
http://cultural-learnings.com/2009/12/09/season-finale-being-erica-the-importance-of-being-erica/

Interview with Erica Creator Jana Sinyor
http://stayinginwithvlada.com/2010/01/18/what-its-like-being-erica-with-creator-jana-sinyor/

Jana Sinyor and Aaron Martin Talk Being Erica
http://communities.dose.ca/dose/blogs/tvcasualty/archive/2009/09/21/being-erica-q-amp-a-with-executive-producers-jana-sinyor-and-aaron-martin.aspx

Viewing Being Erica:
If you are in the US you can watch the first two seasons of Being Erica on hulu thanks to SoapNet, the network Erica is on in the States
http://www.hulu.com/being-erica

You can also check out Erica's webblogs and webbisodes at the CBC Being Erica site (http://www.cbc.ca/beingerica/) and at hulu.

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