Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Being Erica: Season 2 Retrospective

The fact that Being Erica was picked up for a second season seems like a no-brainer, considering the cliffhanger season one ended on. Since then, we've had an excellent premiere ("Being Dr. Tom") that shook up the show's format, several so-so episodes ("The Unkindest Cut", "Under My Thumb"), and a few episodes that could, in some sense, be called failures ("Cultural Revolution" and "Battle Royale"). Remarkably, the show pulled itself together, and, from "A River Runs Through It... It Being Egypt" onward, its storylines were clear and compelling.

Last night's finale gives us a chance to look back at what was a sophomore season that had its highs and its lows. Consider this an awards show, if you will -- it's the Oscars, but without any mystifying double-hosts or inexplicable Snuglis (Ellen DeGeneres, I'm looking at you.)

1. Best Actor:
-Michael Riley ("Dr. Tom")
-Morgan Kelly ("Brent Kennedy")
-Sebastian Pigott ("Kai Booker")
-Tyron Leitso ("Ethan Wakefield")

AND THE WINNER IS... Michael Riley. Was there any doubt? Sure, Morgan Kelly is good, but not great, and while Sebastian Pigott really developed over the course of the season, he didn't improve enough, in my opinion. Of note: "Paoa Can You Hear Me?", of course, "Being Dr. Tom".
Runner Up: Morgan Kelly.

2. Best Actress:
-Erin Karpluk ("Erica Strange")
-Reagan Pastornak ("Julianne Giacomelli")
-Joanna Douglas ("Samantha Strange")
-Kathleen Laskey ("Barbara Strange")

AND THE WINNER IS... Surprise, surprise! Reagan Pastornak has made Julianne one of the best characters in the show, someone with real depth and emotional vulnerability (that could be just because of the writers giving her good material, but who knows?) Erin Karpluk, unfortunately, has been cursed with one too many insipid Carrie Bradshaw-style voiceovers. Of note: "Shhh... Don't Tell", "What Goes Up Must Come Down", and "The Importance of Being Erica".
Runner-Up: Erin Karpluk Kathleen Laskey just hasn't had enough to work with this season.

3. Best Supporting Actor
-Jeff Seymour ("Thomas Friedkin")
-John Boylan ("Gary Strange")
-Adam MacDonald ("Josh McIntosh")
-Dewshane Williams ("Dr. Fred")

AND THE WINNER IS... While there hasn't been very much for the men to do this season, Jeff Seymour has been consistently on top form, especially in "Shhh... Don't Tell".
Runner-Up: John Boylan, although he didn't have much time in the spotlight.

4. Best Supporting Actress
-Paula Brancati ("Jenny Zalen")
-Vinessa Antoine ("Judith Winters")
-Grace Lynn King ("Meeri Khan")
-Tatiana Maslany ("Sarah Wexlar")
-Joanna Vannicola ("Dr. Naadiah")

AND THE WINNER IS... Unsurprisingly, the women in the show are all very strong characters, and it's hard to pick just one. But Paula Brancati deserves the award for "Shhh... Don't Tell", even if she was the focus of the awful "Cultural Revolution".
Runner-Up: Joanna Vannicola (the more Naadiah the better, I say), but for only being in two episodes, Tatiana Maslany has impressed me. I'll call it a tie.

4. Best Supporting Actor
-Dewshane Williams ("Dr. Fred")
-David Fox ("Frank Galvin")
-Jon Cor ("Zach Creed")
-Billy Turnbull ("Dave")
AND THE WINNER IS... David Fox. Dewshane Williams is too emotionally impervious for my tastes.
Runner-Up: Dewshane Williams.

5. Best Episode:
-"Being Dr. Tom"
-"The Importance of Being Erica"
-"Shhh... Don't Tell"
-"Papa Can You Hear Me?"

AND THE WINNER IS... "The Importance of Being Erica". A season finale so perfectly nuanced, so perfectly blended together, with the right amount of mystique and comedy to balance Erin Karpluk's character drama. Exquisite.
Runner-Up: Two this time. "Being Dr. Tom" and "Shhh... Don't Tell."

6. Worst Episode:
-"Battle Royale"
-"Cultural Revolution"
-"The Unkindest Cut"
-"Under My Thumb"

AND THE WINNER IS... "Battle Royale", although it was almost a three-way tie between it, "Cultural Revolution", and "Under My Thumb". However, considering the episode's position after "Being Dr. Tom", it just felt like a letdown, an episode that contributed nothing to the show, character- or plot-wise. Of special note: the awful "intruder in the woods" scene and the pointless talent show.
Runner-Up:"Cultural Revolution"

What do you think? Is Reagan Pastornak really deserving of a Best Actress-style award? Was "The Importance of Being Erica" the best episode of the season? Will Tyron Leitso ever learn to emote?

Post a comment, and tell me what you think.

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