Friday, 5 November 2010

Being Erica Season 3: "Two Wrongs" and "Wash, Rinse, REPEAT" Reviews

Note: Yep, this is weeks late. I've been busy, so posts that I've had in the works for a while will be published here in due time. Thanks for your patience!

Being Erica is becoming a much darker show than anyone anticipated. Last week's episode dealt with the consequences of fighting fire with fire and the destructive (and violent) consequences, and this week's episode begins with a revelation that could change the direction of the show permanently. What "Two Wrongs" and "Wash, Rinse, REPEAT" have to show is that the new tone they establish, while welcomed, isn't just a passing fad.

After all, it's kind of hard to think of a show both culminating in a semi-bloodbath and having serious discussions about the content of a sex book.

In Season 2, Being Erica struggled with its identity - was it a show about a thirtysomething woman finding her way in the world, a show about time travel, or both? This was complicated by the introduction of more time-travel therapists and a patient named Kai, who, while appealing to the show's single-woman target age group, didn't quite connect on an emotional level, always seeming too one-dimensional even when writers tried to show that he wasn't.

The show, in its third season, has found itself in a similar dilemma: is it a comedy-drama, or a science fiction show? Can it still be a comedic soap-ish show while addressing larger questions about the future, death, and morality?

In "Two Wrongs", Erica and Julianne are given a chance to wreck business rival (and former coworker) Brett's reputation, likely indefinitely, by posting a drunken video of him on the internet. Kind of predictably, the show then juxtaposes Erica and Julianne's revenge with Erica's brother Leo entering a fraternity and refusing to acknowledge the dehumanizing situation he (and Erica, by association) have been put in. Adam came along for the ride, and his presence felt natural as he explained to Erica the complexity of male relationships.

He also breaks a few noses, which made me happy in the way that guys get happy when things get blown up and stuff. Adam looks to be one of the more well-rounded characters in the show's history, so I hope he continues to be as refreshing as he tends to be.

I'm not sure if the show's writers agree with how Adam's arc is shaping up, because guess who comes back at the end of "Two Wrongs"? Kai. Guess who tells Erica they sleep together in the future? Kai. Guess who should leave the show? Kai.

(Okay, that last one was harsh. But you get the idea.)

"Wash, Rinse, REPEAT" (apparently the show's writers needed to spell it out for us) is effectively a Being Erica version of Groundhog Day (you know, the Bill Murray movie?) with all the plot points that movie had and more. Erica, increasingly ticked-off by the fact that everyone in her life is giving her the short end of the stick, gets to stumble around Toronto drunk, have heartwarming tete-a-tetes with a man on a cellphone, make raspberries during meetings, and find out that she disappears in nine years - all in forty-five minutes!

(Kai's warning that Erica isn't in Toronto in nine years could just be because she becomes a therapist, but the fact that her sister Sam now works at a hospital makes me worried there will be some immensely-hyped and deeply unsatisfying Major World Event - a pandemic, perhaps? - like there was on Heroes season 1.)

Either way, the episode seemed kind of desperate in bringing Kai back, and equally as corny in its "if today was your last day" approach. I kept on being reminded of that "The Dash" phenomenon - it's not about your birth or death, it's what you do in between. Which is itself a valid statement, but the show didn't have to be so heavy-handed about it.

Hopefully the show can get back on its feet in the next few episodes - I'd hate for what was once such a good show (and still has some flashes of glory, like "Two Wrongs") to squander itself on drivel like "Wash, Rinse, REPEAT."

1 comment:

  1. I'm only now watching this show online.
    My dilemma: Why didn't Kai remember that he went back in time 11 times? When Erica remembers EACH time she goes back in time?