Thursday, February 26, 2009

Must See TV: SOAPnet's Being Erica

If you haven't been watching SOAPnet's newest original series, Being Erica, then you need to remedy that, quick!

For those who don't know about it, here is the show's description:

We all have regrets and we've all made mistakes. But what if you could go back in time and fix them? Erica Strange (portrayed by Erin Karpluk, right) can – and desperately needs to. She's 32 years old and facing a premature midlife crisis. With no boyfriend, no job, no prospects, her life is in shambles, and she often blames her past mistakes for her current predicament.

Enter Dr. Tom, part therapist, part mysterious rogue. He comes into Erica's life at a time when nothing seems to be going right for her and offers one simple proposition: Whatever she is unhappy about, he can fix it. And with that they begin their extraordinary journey together, as he sends Erica back in time to excavate her past, to relive her regrets, and to make different choices this time around.

We've all, at different points, had the feeling that our lives would be much better if only we'd made wiser decisions in the past. In a world of big dreams and even bigger expectations, we're quick to label ourselves 'failures' when we fall short of achieving these goals.

In Being Erica, we empathize with some of these universal regrets through the eyes of our 32-year-old heroine, Erica Strange. Her experiences and insights are comical, sometimes whimsical, and always poignant. In each episode Erica discovers if what could have been should have been.

I had the chance recently to talk with the show's star, Erin Karpluk, and here is a portion of that interview:

Erin explains what drew her to the character of Erica: “I loved the character, because she is just an average gal, but she’s so flawed and awkward. And yet she is resilient in overcoming all of the adversity that has been thrown at her in life. She is very candid and funny. It is the opportunity of a lifetime to get a chance to go back in time with the foresight, the life experiences and past mistakes, and try to overcome them. The stakes are always really high in playing this character, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Being Erica has the honesty and humor of My So-Called Life and the time-travel/fantasy aspect of Quantum Leap. And, like the latter, Erica realizes that “when she does go back in time, she has a very big responsibility, and she knows that what she does in the past really affects those around her. The things that she learns isn’t ‘paint-by-numbers,’ it’s messy, just like life.”

And, just like life, Erica has her flaws. “The appeal of the show and the character is that everyone has regrets, and we all make mistakes in life,” Erin says. “We all fall down in our career and life, and we pick ourselves up and push on. I can really identify with her. She’s a relatable gal.”

I have seen the first six episodes of Being Erica, and each one just gets better and better. Tune into SOAPnet on Thursday nights at 10 ET/PT, and see what all the hubbub is about. You won't be disappointed.

Erica returns to the early '90s to fix a mistake made at her high-school dance.