Netflix’s ‘Haters Back Off’ falls short of expectations

Miranda Sings, or as some may know her, Colleen Ballinger, is the first YouTube personality to move her character to scripted television. Ballinger, who has 13 million YouTube subscribers—7 million of which come from her Miranda Sings channel—created the character of Miranda years ago and began uploading skits featuring Miranda’s crazy antics on YouTube. Once Ballinger set up a separate channel for Miranda videos, the character took off, and Miranda Sings is now one of the biggest and most well-known YouTube personalities of all time.

Ballinger herself is a talented singer, but Miranda is the exact opposite, although she thinks that she is the best singer the world has ever had to offer. This delusion is a common theme in most of Miranda’s YouTube videos, and it fuels the plot of the Netflix Original. Unfortunately, the comedy and appeal of Miranda Sings did not resonate the same on television as it does on the internet.

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Miranda Sings is a character that is supposed to be cringeworthy, and the antics that come along with this, combined with her ego and naivety, are what make her funny. In “Haters Back Off,” Miranda was portrayed differently, and it did not have the same effect. In the show, she is beyond spoiled, so much to the point that she comes off as a brat. She does not make the same type of jokes, in fact, she almost seems like a different character.

Miranda Sings
Photo courtesy of: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Miranda_Sings.jpg

The plot of the show was interesting at the beginning. Her mother, Bethany, who Miranda controls, rather than the other way around, is a hypochondriac who makes up illnesses that she has, sporting a wrist brace that she makes obvious, although everyone including doctors tell her that there is nothing wrong. The audience is supposed to feel bad for her, but instead she often is pitied as she lets Miranda do stupid things. Miranda’s Uncle Jim, who fully supports Miranda’s hunt for fame and acts as her manager, is as delusional as she is, but often comes off as more of a jerk than someone who is just oblivious to reality. The show often has a very Napoleon Dynamite-esque feel, and this is heightened by Miranda’s friend Patrick, who is in love with Miranda, despite the fact that she has a crush on someone else and treats him sub par at best.

Some parts of the plot and some jokes that were obviously meant to be humorous, often seemed a bit weird or forced, which is what made the show have many cringeworthy moments that were not necessarily humorous as they would be if Ballinger were just cracking jokes as Miranda in front of the camera.

Haters Back Off Logo
Photo courtesy of: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Haters_Back_Off_logo.png

This does not mean, however, that the show is not funny at all. Many of the smaller characters in the show have some hilarious moments that shine through and make the viewers want to continue watching. The show’s plot does not advance much throughout the season’s eight episodes, until the second half of the eighth episode, and these moments of humor do seem to be enough to keep people watching. However, when you look at the fact that Miranda Sings’ YouTube channel has 1.2 billion views total, it does not seem like enough.

Should you watch it?: No.

The show is overall cute and enjoyable, and dedicated Miranda Sings fans really enjoy it. It is not a bad show, just not as successful as her YouTube videos are. Perhaps this is because Ballinger knows better than anyone else what makes Miranda funny, and when tackled by writers and producers, she does not have the same effect. Watching someone does hilarious skits for a few minutes on the internet does not always translate as well when transformed into 35 minute episodes with a plotline. It felt almost as though as “Haters Back Off” was an attempt at turning a successful SNL skit into a full on TV show. It is just not the same.