The Being Erica BS detector: Season 3, Episode 1
CBC’s hugely popular Being Erica premiered its third season Tuesday night.
The good news: 1) With Lost out of the picture, BE stands a solid chance of being the best time travel–related TV show on the planet (Dr. Who? Exactly). 2) Fans finally got to see what was behind that mysterious green door from the season two cliffhanger.
The bad news: What is behind the door was, well, underwhelming. We’re giving the show the benefit of the doubt, hoping episode 1 was all about providing the somewhat snoozy but necessary set-up for another amazing season, and that we’ll eventually warm to the new group therapy posse (right now, we’re still kind of crushing on Kai). In the meantime, let us get down to the business at hand: time copping.
On a show that hinges on jumping backward and forward through time, it’s important to get the details right. With this in mind, we decided to avoid the obvious episode recap style analysis (someone else can question why Julianne all of a sudden calls Erica “chicken” 10 times a day), and focus directly on the onscreen accuracy of the various time periods that Erica visits.* So, here we go.
The time period: May 2002. Erica travels back with Adam (part of the new gang) to help him cope with the death of his mom.
• For a second, we got that tingly time cop feeling when Erica and Adam ran straight into a Toronto hospital. Wait, we thought. Wasn’t this the SARS era? No, SARS was one year later. Points for the appropriately pre-pandemic hospital setup. No security, no masks, no handwashing stations every two metres. It was a simpler time. (+3)
• Looks like the BE writing staff needs to brush up on Hollywood gossip stats. While sitting in a hospital waiting room, Erica reads an issue of Elle magazine and proclaims, “Bennifer. Like that will last.” Sure, she was dead on re. the longevity of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s relationship, but on the day that she was sitting in that hospital room, the term “Bennifer” had yet to enter the pop culture lexicon. Our basic search of international media sources shows the earliest references to Affleck and Lopez as a rumoured couple were in June 2002, and the nauseating nickname came after that. So either this is an error, or Erica Strange (a fake person on a Canadian TV show) is to blame for Bennifer, as well as Brangelina, TomKat and all the other super-couple name mashups that followed. (-8)
• Running from one very aggressive cop across Queen Street West, Erica and Alex duck into a series of back alleys decorated with colourful graffiti as far as the eye can see, which makes sense, because this is happening years before Mayor Miller decided to focus on the city’s silent killer, graffiti, with his ridonkulous “Give Graffiti the Brush Off” campaign. (+3)
Final score: -2. We’ll hope for more to work with next week.
* Granted, this concept works a lot better when the time traveller in question doesn’t spend 90 per cent of her journey in the same hospital hallway as she did in this episode, but we’ll play the hand we’re dealt and just hope that next week involves a classic return-to-high-school sequence or another trip to 2019.