Haters Back Off! is an original Netflix series created by Colleen Ballinger, along with her brother, Chris Ballinger. The show follows the life of Miranda Sings, a character originally created by Colleen on YouTube to mock bullies she went to school with. This opportunity allows Ballinger to give her audience backstory on her character and create a life for her, but I just wish it delivered more on its promise: a comedy.
I’ve seen every episode of the series and I am familiar with the Miranda Sings character on YouTube. I will say that some of the aspects of the show are very interesting: the fact that Miranda’s sister is a phenomenal painter and runs the family, although she is the youngest. I think that the dynamic ofthe extremely calm teen against a crazy family contrasts well makes the show more funny.
Fundamentally, I suppose, the show could still be classified as a comedy. The scrips contain jokes using the rule of three (one of the most common forms), characters say funny lines, no major tragedies occur (death of the main/ an important character) and some of the situations when thought about logically are funny. However, I found that in the second season, while the show was technically comedic, some of the dramatic elements overshadowed the comedy and left me wanting more funny.
I am not saying that comedy cannot be serious. In fact, some of my favorite episodes of comedies are the ones where the writers weave spectacular jokes and one-liners with more serious and heartfelt plot lines. That balance to me is epitome of comedic mastery. This show just airs too much on the drama side.
But the thing that made me the most uncomfortable was the scene in the finale with Miranda and her Dad. I understand their intent: To solidify the true nature of Miranda’s father, who was only interested in her for her potential net worth. But they did it in a way that I thought was too dramatic and too heartbreaking for a comedy, especially as one of the final scenes. He screamed at her and called her worthless, useless, and other names a parent should never call their child. If this were real life, Miranda could have developed depression, anxiety, or something very serious from that encounter with her father that I felt the writers overlooked.
I think that another intent of this scene was to show the reunion of the rest of Miranda’s family and tie those loose ends. The very next scene is Miranda’s mother, uncle, and sister, stepping in to save Miranda from the words of her father, which is meant to symbolize their support and care for her. While I think the idea was good, it should have been shown through a scene less traumatizing, especially in a sit-com.
The last point I want to make about this scene in the audience. Ballinger has millions of followers on YouTube, and it is no secret that the majority of them are teens and possible younger. It is natural to assume that these teens would be the primary audience for her show. Dramatic scenes in comedies stick out and typically carry the most weight with the audience, and with that in mind, I do not think that a scene with a father verbally abusing his daughter was the best thing to stick with a teenager. It is not the point of the show, but it very easily become that with a teenage audience. If I’m being honest, I think the show would have been better off without that character. They could have stirred the pot in a much less heartbreaking way.