July 30, 2013

And Now...Here's a Britcom for the Misfit in all of Us!

Salve Omni!

So I thought I would start out the week by posting something a little more light-hearted today, and talk comedy. To be exact, some comedy from across the pond. I am fortunate that my local PBS station broadcasts some truly great and diverse Britcoms each weekend, which is great, because it makes my looking forward to the start of the week a little easier to bear...especially on Sunday nights. I do love my Britcoms, and there is one thing I have found to be true...the British seem to have their comedy down to an art form. I own a lot of Britcom series on VHS and DVD, and love to watch them, when time allows. No matter what, when I start watching, I feel better. I laugh, and am able to forget about this crappy world for just a bit.

As a thirty year-old female, I have found that my TV viewing tastes have changed. I don't know about you, but I tire of all of the cutesy little TV shows with the "perfect" girl who always looks great, dresses impeccably, and has to deal with the misfits and misunderstood and unpopular individuals who turn her seemingly "perfect" world upside down. BORING! Where is the reality in that? I, myself, like to see things shaken up a bit...I like my leading ladies flawed, with the unapologetic ability to poke fun at themselves because, hey - they're human! It seems that the British do it best when it comes to really bringing these sort of characters to life. I am immediately reminded of one of my absolute favorite Britcoms, Miranda.

Oh Miranda, where do I begin? Written by and starring Comedian, Miranda Hart, the semi-autobiographical show is comedic gold, with a dose of reality and an extra helping of ridiculousness all rolled into one bundle of goodness. The main character, Miranda, (don't worry, I won't include too many spoilers for those who haven't seen the show) is a thirty-something woman living in England, and trying to do what most thirty-something women seek to do - find "Mr. Right", and have a successful career. We see her trying to sort herself out, and believe me, she is one hot mess!

We find out in the very beginning of the show that Miranda has used the inheritance given to her by an uncle, to buy a joke/gift shop, in which she lives in a little flat upstairs. She hires her childhood friend, Stevie, to manage the store, which makes for hilarious viewing as they often clash on priorities and ideas regarding how to run the shop, but mostly on how Miranda should approach and handle various day-to-day situations. I know this might not sound too funny, but I'm getting there! Patience, Dear Reader!

The character, Miranda, is 6 foot-something, not considered very graceful or feminine, likes to eat, and just downright clashes with the norms of her upper middle-class upbringing and friends and family. She is rather childlike and awkward, often annoying those around her with her constant joking and laughing. She is constantly reminded by her mother and closest friends and acquaintances of her lack of success in dating, and always seems to embarrass herself during social gatherings, especially around men. Miranda lives partially in a dream world, (well she does own a joke shop) where her preference for fun and frolicking hinder her from capably managing her own business. Her friend, Stevie, concerns herself with the shop, while Miranda tends to direct her energy towards evading her mother, Penny's, unceasing attempts to marry her off to anyone willing, and the constant chiding and uncomfortable boarding school reminiscing from Tilly, the annoying school friend. Everyone else is seemingly successful and mature and content with their lives, however, we find Miranda still trying to break free from the control of her disapproving mother and find her own voice.

In other words...when you add an upper middle-class and disapproving mother, a goal-oriented and organized to the point of annoyance childhood friend, a successful upper middle-class school friend who has more in common with your mother than you, and the obvious pining for the handsome chef who works in the restaurant down the street, hilarity ensues! However, Miranda always steals the show; not intentionally, but through her increasing social awkwardness and often inappropriate antics.

Miranda personally greets the viewer at the start of each "a day in the life" - type episode, giving them a brief indication of what's in store. Constantly breaking the fourth wall, Miranda will frequently address her audience throughout an episode, inviting them to witness day-to-day life and events from her own perspective. Often a victim of verbal diarrhea, she constantly speaks her mind without fully thinking about the consequences. And her actions -- well, here, they definitely speak louder than words can express! Miranda will often burst into un-encouraged singing at random and inappropriate moments; such as job interviews and funerals. She will often behave in a childlike manner, hanging out in her apartment and conversing with "fruit friends", created from drawing eyes on whatever fruit she has at the moment. She gets stuck in chairs, falls off of bar stools, farts, gets caught in her underwear, gets chucked out of many social events, and has many other misadventures that, well, make her seem downright human and flawed, or just plain odd (depending on your perception). But, Miranda remains true to herself; not apologizing for who she is. And I find it refreshing.

This social misfit is in no way "perfect". She doesn't fit in, but yet she remains positive and hopeful that her life will improve for the better. The show, through the clever blend of female character-types presented, becomes relatable to every woman, but the show is also enjoyed by male viewers (my husband enjoys watching the show just as much as I do). Miranda never comes across as being too condescending or preachy; offering its viewers just the right amount of insanity to keep it fun. Comedian, Miranda Hart, truly follows in the footsteps of female comedians like Lucille Ball, through her use of physical comedy mixed with everyday situations and interactions; reminding us that we can't always take life so seriously.

Watching Miranda will make you forget your troubles, well, at least until you get to the end of season 3.

Okay, BBC...we need the filming of season 4 to commence...stat!

In the words of Miranda's mother, Penny, "Such fun!"

Click on the link below to see a clip from Miranda (uploaded to YouTube from the BBC):