One of my TV guilty pleasures (among too many) is CBC’s Being Erica. The show follows the life of Erica Strange, a single woman living in Toronto, who found herself seriously direction-less after obtaining an MA in English Literature from University of Toronto (ha). To get out of the slump, she is helped by a series of time-travel therapy where she lives out her regrets. Yes, it sounds kind of super-cheesy because it is, but I have to give the writers credit because they managed to write very compelling truths about living as a single woman that was not glorified and fantasized consumer-porn (I’m looking at you, Sex and the City). Erica’s life feels sincere and genuine, from buying cheaply made shoes from Chinatown that are too uncomfortable to walk in, to going through a break-up where you have to admit that you have no idea where you’re going, but it feels strangely okay.
Anyway, now that I’ve said all the positives, it’s time to dish out the negatives. The third season of this show is terrible. Terrible! The time-travel therapy, which the show managed to not make seem so crazy and kooky, now appears completely kooky thanks to the changed focus (group time-travel therapy). They’re also trying to bring in more diversity to the show – an attempt I would like to applaud more, if it weren’t so badly executed.
Case in point:
Yes, that is Erica Strange wearing a glittery headdress…at Toronto Pride Parade. Where she attempts to make heterosexual romance happen with the season 3 hunk, Adam. With this, the writers manage to display problematic appropriation of native culture, AND use the space (and the celebration) of sexual minorities as a mere tool for reinforcing heteronormative romance. Erica even has her ex-crush lesbian (but a very feminine and hot one, what other kind is there?) tell her to go for it, so I guess it’s okay?
The episode does sort of address how straight people utilize Pride as a fun party without seriously accepting LGBTQ sexuality by having Erica’s co-worker make an offensive comment about how “weird” gay sex is. So they tried.
I have no real illusion or hopes of BE ever becoming problem-free, but I do hope that it becomes less problem-abundant (or more aware) than it ever was in this episode. Here’s me crossing my fingers.