by Cara Winter
As we established in my last post, I am an unabashed Anglophile.
My friends, rather than shunning me, or trying to get me to watch LAW & ORDER: SVU, or finding me an A(ng)A meeting to attend… are full-onenablers. Case in point: on a recent trip to LA, my best friend (who long ago introduced me to BLACK ADDER) sat me down, and told me I was about to watch a show from the UK called MIRANDA. It was February, 70’s and sunny in LA, I’d just left behind sub-zero temperatures behind in Chicago… so naturally, instead of frolicking on a beach somewhere, I remained seated while she queued it up.
MIRANDA is a fantastically funny and gloriously absurd sitcom written, created by, and starring comedienne Miranda Hart. Pretty much everything takes place in the title character’s tiny flat, and the joke shop she runs in the floor below. Miranda’s best friend Stevie (played by Sarah Hadland) helps her run the shop. Occasionally they venture down the block to a restaurant where the chef is her other best friend, Gary (played by the dishy Tom Ellis) – who Miranda is secretly in love with (of course). Within the first minute of S1 /Ep1, I felt something of a kinship with Hart – as would anyone who’s ever tripped over their own feet, passed gas at an inopportune time, or forgotten their underpants.
Hart has a masterful wit, both as a writer, and performer. The character she’s created is at once lovable, cringe-worthy, absurd, and spectacular. It’s like someone spliced Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, and Buster Keaton together, then sent her to an all-girl’s boarding school and told her men were aliens. In a TV comedy landscape full of busty, tiny cupcakes who all start to look like the same person, Hart stands out. Not just because of her tall personage, but because she shimmies, sings (enthusiastically, and off key), sashays, and shuffles-off-to-Buffalo like she’s been possessed by Tim Conway. (Yes, I know he’s still alive. I was merely trying to paint a—never mind.)
Miranda never misses an opportunity to laugh at herself, or anyone else. But it’s all in good fun; it’s never at someone else’s expense. And even more refreshingly, MIRANDA openly attacks “adulthood” itself, with childish mania. (Why would you spend time balancing your checkbook, when dressing up in a full-body Velcro suit and catching Nerf balls with your body is so much more fun? Why would anyone go clubbing, when you can stay home and paint your bestie’s face to look like a cat’s? Who wouldn’t want to dress up like Where’s Waldo, and go to the mall? And isn’t cake just …awesome? It’s this element of fun that I appreciate most of all; makes one feel free to be a ridiculous and silly, and embrace the absurd. Because life is absurd, and so are all of us. Aren’t we? Absurd, are we? (Sorry, catch phrase– watch and you’ll understand).
While it has been reported that MIRANDA will not be taping another season, they’ve promised Christmas specials, and currently there are 3 seasons (18 episodes) available for free on HULU. If you know what’s good for you, if you’re interested in comedy, or if you’ve ever had your skirt pulled down exposing an extraordinarily hard-working pair of Spanx, or if your mother outwardly seems to hate you and everything you do… check it out. The kind of laughter MIRANDA elicits is just plain good for the soul.