Article written for Flyer News, published November 7, 2016
The Netflix Original Series “Haters Back Off!” showcases the everyday life of a famous singer, actor, dancer, model, and magician you may have never heard of: Miranda Sings. With over 7 million subscribers on YouTube and a New York Times #1 best selling book, Miranda Sings has developed a loyal fanbase and has taken the world by storm.
She’s not your typical talent; in fact, she has no talent at all. She cannot sing, dance, or act. She is an egotistical and sloppy homeschooled girl who is known for wearing too much red lipstick. Despite all of that, her overwhelming self confidence and drive to become famous doesn’t stop her from performing.
Miranda Sings is a fictional character performed by comedian and singer Colleen Ballinger, who began creating Miranda Sings videos on YouTube in 2008. These videos include terrible sounding covers of popular songs, uninformative tutorials, and wacky social media challenges, such as bathing in a bathtub filled with Slurpees. Miranda Sings has taken her ridiculous act on world tours, and has even made multiple appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“Haters Back Off!” made its Netflix debut October 14. There was much speculation about the series in general, being that Ballinger’s character gained her popularity on the internet. Could a quirky, awkward character with an unusual sense of humor really star in a successful show?
Set in Tacoma, Wash., the show profiles the odd lifestyle of Miranda Sings and her family. She lives with her mother Bethany, uncle Jim, and her sister Emily. The show portrays the ultimate dysfunctional family: Bethany is a quiet hypochondriac who claims to have undiagnosed fibromyalgia and is always put down by Miranda and uncle Jim, Jim is an immature outcast that has a creepy, extreme passion for making Miranda famous, and Miranda is just Miranda. The only normal one in the family is Emily, who is characterized as the voice of reason.
Another main character of the show is Patrick, Miranda’s neighbor and best friend. Patrick has a major crush on Miranda and delivers a Popsicle to her every day. The storyline has Patrick constantly showing signals of his devotion to Miranda, but she constantly puts him in the “friend zone”. According to Miranda, she needs to be with someone famous and not just a regular person, since she herself is “famous”.
Listed under the “Irreverent” and “Absurd” sections in Netflix, this show is definitely just that. The eight episodes describe Miranda’s road to becoming famous with the help of her uncle Jim’s unrealistic “Five Phase Plan for Fame”. Such scenarios include Miranda joining, then getting kicked out of the church choir, performing an unmagical routine in a magic competition, and shooting a commercial at a fish store that ends with an accidental killing of all the fish. The first episode begins with the upload of her first YouTube video, then the season ends with one of her videos going viral.
The whole season in general is filled with wacky, dry humor that sometimes comes off more awkward than funny. The show is often compared to the sense of humor displayed in “Napoleon Dynamite.”
Although the majority of the season is unusual and quirky, towards the end it turns around with a dramatic plot twist. The show changes from humorous to more serious, pulling at the audience’s heart strings by showing the sentimental sides of having a dysfunctional family. In the end, the audience can’t help but root for these pathetic characters.
The show received a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, which represents there is still room for improvement if there is a next season. Miranda’s passion and confidence inspire her “Mirfandas” to let the haters back off and never be afraid to be yourself.
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