Playing Erica -- being Erica, if you like -- can be difficult to get a handle on. Karpluk's character uses time travel to physically revisit herself in the past, either as a 12-year-old or a 16-year-old or a 21-year-old, but with the memories and life experience of her 32-year-old self.
Erica herself says, "This is the most intense, overwhelming experience I've ever had," but Karpluk says stepping into her character's shoes as an actor is not as intense or overwhelming as it may appear.
"It was never overwhelming, and, surprisingly, I was never nervous. I get more nervous doing supporting roles than I do for this. It's honestly been one of the most incredible opportunities.
"The one thing that's interesting is that the character is in almost every single scene. So it's very challenging when we go in to shoot. It's kind of like a five-month marathon. I set my blinders. But I'm the kind of person where I think I do my best work when I'm facing that kind of a challenge. There are no lunch hours. We are doing press, wardrobe fittings, read-throughs, whatever comes along. But I wouldn't give it up for anything, and I would love to come back for a third season. It doesn't happen very often for an actor to get a part like this and to be part of an experience like this. So I'm having a blast. It's great."
Being Erica underwent a tonal shift in its second season, Karpluk agreed.
"It was the same show, but we did go into the time travel a little bit more. Then again, I look at the time travel as the catalyst for her learning and growth and development. As the actress, there were a lot of times this season where I would think, even reading the pilot, how many regrets can this woman have? Is it going to get repetitive or stagnant? And it doesn't. Season 2 was so much fun to shoot. It was sexier. It was edgier. And Erica was more worldly and responsible and accountable, and used her experiences from the first season and applies them in the second season. And the audience was there with me.
"In Season 2, she got chased by a bear, and she stole a Mercedes-Benz and went to Taipei and impersonates Celine Dion. For some reason, there was a lot of singing and dancing, and for that, I apologize so much, because I'm terrible. But it was the same show. It was just a better, stronger season."
One of the more gratifying aspects of being Erica, Karpluk said, was seeing for herself how people react to the show's premise.
"I had a woman approach me and say, 'I really wish that I could go back and find out who my biological parents were.' I didn't know her; she just approached me on the street. It was right when the show was starting. And I just remember how profoundly it affected me. As an artist, to be able to do something that connects with people, I -- my heart just went out to her. At the same time, I'm not a therapist. I'm just an actress in a show. I didn't quite know how to broach it, so I just wished her the best. But I thought, 'Wow, it's really affecting people.' That's what we're here to do."
CBC will announce its fall plans -- and Being Erica's chances for a third season -- later this year.