Netflix have gone to the YouTube well and dredged up one Colleen Ballinger, aka Miranda from the YouTube channel Miranda Sings. The new series Haters Back Off features Ballinger as the untalented performer from the channel.
The character comes across as a blend of Napoleon Dynamite in a skirt and a demented Pee Wee Herman. While Ballinger is wildly popular on YouTube, her Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” pastiche has well over 54 million views, the series may prove to be less so.
A certain amount of fans may follow “Miranda” over from the Google owned video streaming site. She does have just over seven million subscribers after all. However watching the videos, which are mostly under two minutes in duration and feature only Miranda, is a a completely different prospect from sitting through 32 minutes of so called entertainment.
Do not misunderstand, there are funny bits in the initial episode. However, anyone who is not a “Miranda Sings” fan will be hard pressed to really enjoy the performances.
The Netflix series gives faces, and voices, to Miranda’s family and provides some sort of plot rather than just comedic videos of a performer who cannot sing, dance or, apparently, act.
Haters Back Off really does feel like an escapee from the Napoleon Dynamite universe. (“Your mom goes to college.”) But Napoleon for all his social ineptitude could dance and it made the character endearing.
Miranda, with her Mick Jagger lipstick style and screeching, overly loud speaking voice does feel more Pee Wee Herman than Napoleon. The male teenaged protagonist was actually likable rather than mind mumblingly annoying like Miranda.
The YouTube videos are funny and popular, the smallest amount of views on any of Ballinger’s uploads are around the two million mark. They do not appeal to everyone, although many are very, very funny. Her appeal may be more with millennials rather than older YouTube users.
Haters Back Off shows the “rise” of Miranda’s YouTube career. The determined wannabe famous performer has her own cheering section. Her uncle and mother believe in their tone deaf relative while sister Emily is just embarrassed by the whole thing.
Miranda’s uncle Jim helps his niece to work on her YouTube career and has her shoot a commercial at his place of work. With all the hot lights and repeated takes, Jim kills every fish in the place with the exception of a bagged goldfish.
Jim is, unsurprisingly, fired. He declares that this will allow him to manage Miranda Sings’ career full-time.
The series is annoyingly simplistic in its delivery and the characters, with the exception of Emily, are all two dimensional and thick as two planks. Clearly the younger sister in the family was adopted.
Haters Back Off has attempted take a minute and a half of YouTube comedy and stretch it by 30 minutes. It needs work to bring it off successfully however. Having just watched the pilot episode mere minutes ago it is difficult to remember one single “gut busting” comedic moment.
Netflix launched the new series on 14 October. All eight episodes are available to stream in one sitting, or two. The episodes may get better as the series progresses. Certainly Ballinger is funny on YouTube but the stretch to a half hour puts pressure on the comedy and her performance.
To see just how funny Colleen is away from Haters Back Off check out her Taylor Swift: