Being Erica recap, episode 4: wherein Brent’s stock plummets, and Erica gets stuck in the ’90s
Episode four begins with a heavily produced version of Katy Perry’s ”Firework” sung by Julianne—Goblins is having a talent night, because it is a club-sized cafe. To add even more cheese to a cringeworthy start, Erica follows this song with a voiceover quoting Ms. Perry, who said something that—when boiled down—meant “be yourself.” Having confidence in who we are is the theme of episode four, and last week’s reintroduction of Brent was a way to drive this point home hard—you see, Brent’s sexuality has always been up for debate, and because he’s a bit more flamboyant than most, he feels worried that his role as “urban peacock” may cause problems with his new macho co-workers. Erica, always the sunny, positive person with all of the right answers, tells Brent to just be himself after a round of golf between River Rock and 50/50, because she is worried that his fear of losing his job is changing him (and it is). In taking Erica’s advice to pitch a book idea that was in line with his own interests (a manual for the urban peacock—seriously, we’re confused that Brent isn’t gay, and we’re very open minded) and not the interests of the bro forces that now control the operations of River Rock, he is asked to leave. It is because Erica jumped to the conclusion that being yourself is always the best answer that Dr. Tom sends Erica back to high school in the ’90s to relive another experience in which she gave the same advice and it didn’t work out (proving once more that a doctor-in-training doesn’t always give the best advice).
The best part of this time travel to the ’90s is that we once again bump into Jenny, who we love because she actually adds humour to the show (the kind where we’re laughing with and not at the characters). Jenny is just as carefree as she has been in other flashbacks, telling Erica to relax on a number of occasions—’90s Jenny is the kind of girl who encourages her friends to drink, smoke pot and order late-night pizza. In addition to Jenny, we’re introduced to J.C., an exchange student from Montreal living at the Strange household who dresses a little weird (her perfect hair is gelled to look asymmetrical) and therefore is overlooked by Ontario high school students. Erica chooses to remedy this problem the second time around by giving her a makeover, “just like on Ricki Lake.” As much as she changes J.C.’s appearance, her experience is still not fulfilling—her new conventionally hot looks apparently give a man licence to force her to have sex begrudgingly (the show gives this high school boy the licence to do this, not us).
It was an interesting episode for a number of reasons. First, the writers are trying very hard to prove to us that Brent is a heterosexual male who aligns himself with his “gay counterparts,” which is insulting to gay men, considering the Being Erica writers have basically used gay stereotypes to create a flamboyant heterosexual character type. Adam continues to be the hottest boring man on the show, with his sole conflict being that his girlfriend doesn’t want to ride a motorcycle he bought off Craigslist. Brent begs for his job back with the promise he can be more butch, only to be propositioned by River Rock to use his friendship with Erica and Julianne to bankrupt 50/50—an offer he rejects quite easily, illustrating that characters on Being Erica change personalities regularly. Finally, after admitting to Erica and Julianne what was asked of him, Brent takes on a position at 50/50, guaranteeing that Julianne and Brent will at least have sex one more time.
Oh, and spoiler: Kai watches Erica and Adam dancing outside of what looks like a frat house at the end of episode four. So… he’s back.