Time Travelling 101 on the set of Being Erica

Time Travelling 101 on the set of Being Erica

Text by Emily Landau | Images by David Pike

It has been nine long months without time-travel therapy, Erin Karpluk’s perfect hair, excessive gay bear jokes and even more excessive Toronto-centric references. But after a long, dry summer, Being Erica is back for its fourth and possibly final season. Over the past four years, we’ve seen it all on the CBC’s beloved comedy: Erica’s meteoric (and totally realistic) rise to the top of the publishing industry, her dramatic relationships with Ethan, Kai and Adam, Julianne evolving from bitchy overlord to gal pal, and even Erica overcoming her hard luck to become a doctor (in training) herself—a doctor, of course, that helps patients by transporting them back in time to relive the moments that haunt them. Until now, we had never seen what happens when the cameras are off, but the good folks at Being Erica invited us to an all-access trip behind the scenes. Here’s a look at the set and costume department, and a few of the things we learned about cast members Karpluk, Adam Fergus and Sebastian Pigott. Season four of Being Erica airs tonight on CBC at 9 p.m.

Tour the set and find out what Erin Karpluk, Adam Fergus and Sebastian Pigott told us about this season of Being Erica »

Erin Karpluk on:

Loving Toronto: “I feel like I’m having an affair. I’d lived in Vancouver for ten years, and then I was walking from Dundas Square—I live on Yonge Street—and there was a moment where I was like, “Oh my God, I think I’m in love with Toronto more than Vancouver.””

How she relates to Erica Strange: “So often on TV you see these superhuman people, and I was drawn to the fact that she was down on her luck and had these problems that I have. A lot of the stories were like what was happening in my personal life. Obviously not the time travel.”

Her similarities to Erica: “She’s a bit girlier than I am. I grew up in the mountains, so I’m more of a tomboy. But six months of the year we become the same person. My friends call me Erinca.”

Her friendship with costar Michael Riley: “Decades from now, Michael and I will still get together and have wine and reminisce about this experience. I’ve never worked with a more generous actor in my life. He grounds the whole show.”

What to expect from Season 4: “If I told you who’s behind the door I’d be shot. But some of the logistics of time travel are explained, and one of the big answers you get is what happens in 2019. Something awful happens that leaves Erica believing that she may not be alive in eight years.”

Relaxing in the city: “Me, Reagan [Pasternak, who plays Julianne] and Vinessa [Antoine, who plays Judith] go to Body Blitz all the time. Then we pig out at Le Select.”

Adam Fergus talks to us about crack, Toronto tunes and what’s in store for his character »

Adam Fergus on:

His accent: “My vernacular has the word crack in it, which is Irish for fun, like, “I had great crack last night.” I was saying it to producers, I was saying it to the CBC’s Kirstine Stewart. I didn’t know why people were laughing.”

His gross-looking omelette: “It’s spinach, tomato, cheese and egg white. I’d say I made it myself, but you just saw someone bring it over.”

Toronto tunes: “I just can’t get over the music scene in Toronto; it’s just second to none. I’ve seen Broken Social Scene, and I’ve gone to the Dakota Tavern most Sunday nights to watch The Beauties play.”

Why the show is such a hit: “The thing about Being Erica is it just transcends all the barriers of gender, of sexuality, of sexual persuasion, of age.”

How to stay warm: “I don’t live here during the winter. Last year I had some work to do in L.A., so I left here on Halloween night. It was getting a little cold here. And then I came back on May 7.”

What to expect for Adam this season: “When we met Adam last year he’d already been in therapy for two years, but he was still very emotional and very raw, and by the end he’d come really full circle. But we do have some bumpy moments this season. In terms of developing as a character, that’s still going on. He’s still got a ways to go.”

Enter Doctor Tom’s office »

Here’s a breakdown of some of the curiosities you’ll find in Dr. Tom’s mysterious office:

• 1 organ

• 1 gramophone

• 1 old-fashioned scale

• 1 giant leather chair

• 1 majestic teak desk

• 2 hourglasses

• 2 sets of dramatic plush velvet curtains

• 5 geodes

• 6 exotic masks

• 3 liquor snifters

• 8 toy robots

• Hundreds of textbooks on neurology, physics, geography, and titles by Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott

Find out how Sebastian Pigott really feels about costar Erin Karpluk »

Sebastian Pigott on:

The challenge of playing a 32-year-old in a 22-year-old’s body: “It’s tough. You’re not only seeing someone at different ages, you’re seeing someone at different emotional stages.”

The dirt behind Canadian Idol: “Everyone hated each other. We were all having sex and doing drugs. No, I’m kidding. Even though I was a greenhorn, I’d been auditioning as an actor for a long time, so in a way I was a lot more prepared for the business side of it. You’re doing this show, it’s only going to last for a short time, and after that you’re on your own and you have a very short time to take advantage of it.”

Writing music for the show: “I wrote “Alien Like You,” the big number that wrapped up Season 2. I was incredibly proud of it. It was supposed to sound like Kings of Leon in the future.”

Working with Erin Karpluk: “She’s pathologically professional.”

Check out the costume department—the home of Dr. Tom and Erica’s many splendid things »

Given the many decades Being Erica spans, it makes sense that Erica alone has 12 racks of clothes and 36 bins of shoes, with such specific labels as jellies and pink heels. One vintage dress was found at Parkdale’s Stella Luna in size 22, but the costume designer, Luis Sequeira (above), loved the fabric so much that he tailored it down to Karpluk’s much more petite frame.

When Sequeira isn’t stumbling upon vintage gems, he keeps Karpluk’s Erica in designer duds from Alexander McQueen and Nanette Lepore. As for Dr. Tom (played by Michael Riley), his wardrobe is almost exclusively hats, cufflinks and the world’s largest collection of smoking jackets.