Have you seen the TV show Being Erica? It’s a Canadian series, and in the U.S., it’s been broadcast on ABC’s Soapnet. The third season was just aired in Canada, apparently, so in January, it comes to the States. Woohoo!
Here’s what happens early in the pilot episode: Erica Strange, a single woman in her early 30s, suffers an early-mid-life identity crisis. In the course of one day, she breaks up with her latest (dead-end) boyfriend, is fired from her latest (dead-end), gets caught in the rain without an umbrella, and takes refuge in a coffee shop, where is offered a complimentary latte. At which point she has a severe allergic reaction; it turns out it’s a hazelnut latte. Erica is, of course, allergic to nuts.
And so Erica ends up in the hospital, and that’s where she meets the mysterious Dr. Tom, a “therapist.” When Erica decides to pursue therapy with Dr. Tom, she is asked to write down every regret she can think of, and subsequently is sent back in time to revisit and undo those regrets. Sort of.
I love so many things about this series. One of the things I love best is that Erica lands a job at a publishing house. She’s a reader! A writer! An editor! And Dr. Tom is a lover of literature as well, as evidenced by his reservoir of literary and historical quotations, which he drops into every conversation.
Another thing I love about this show is that it makes me think. As Erica tries to figure out who she really is, what it means to be Erica, I find myself wondering what it means to be me.
The final episode of season two was called The Importance of Being Erica, and of course, there were allusions to Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest (which I confess, I’ve never seen nor read). In this episode, Erica needs to figure out who she really is, what she wants to do with her life, and what it means to not be defined by the expectations of others. This episode is almost a mirror of the pilot episode, where Erica finds herself at a crossroads. But now she is more in touch with her true self, and must choose a door to open (literally) so that she can step across the threshold, into the future. And take some pretty big risks in the process.
While I don’t feel like I’m at that kind of crossroads exactly, I do find myself in a season of self-examination. Who am I? What does it mean to be Amy?