-By, Isabel Isselbacher
“Grey’s Anatomy?” Tragic. “Orange is the New Black”? Intense. “American Horror Story”? Terrifying. “Haters Back Off!”? It’s…different.
“Haters Back Off!”, Netflix’s newest original, started streaming on October 14th. The series stars Colleen Ballinger, a popular comedian with over 7 million subscribers on Youtube. She gained fame through her portrayal of Miranda Sings, a singer/character of her own invention, whom Wikipedia accurately describes as “comically talentless, egotistical, and quirky.” Ballinger stays in character as Miranda Sings in “Haters Back Off!,” which documents the aspiring celebrities bumbling journey to stardom.
Miranda’s odd, eccentric mannerisms are what make “Haters Back Off!” so weird and hilarious. As the New York Times put it, “Netflix helped popularize the binge-watch. “Haters Back Off!” introduces the cringe-watch.” In episode one of the eight part series, Miranda throws a temper tantrum when her mother awards her an A+ instead of an A+++. In another scene, she croons “Defying Gravity” for a painful two minutes.
This kind of comedy is definitely an acquired taste, and “Haters Back Off!” has some “haters” within the Winsor community. Isabella Sibble ’20 admitted that, despite having been a fan of the Youtube personality, she was disappointed by the show. “It was that awkward, forced kind of humor that makes you cringe more than laugh…I used to be a crazy fan but now I find the newer version of Miranda not as funny as she was in 2012-2014.” Olivia Brasher ’18 agreed that “as I watched the first half of the episode – I couldn’t make it through the whole thing – I felt equal parts confusion, amusement, and disgust.” According to Madeleine Montagner ’18, the series “is only funny if you are really tired or otherwise.”
That being said, different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’ve had your fill of Shonda Rhimes, and you like loud comedy (make that very loud comedy), the show might be a good fit for you. Besides, “Haters Back Off!” is particularly relevant in today’s digital age. With so many celebrities gaining their fame through Youtube and Vine, the series provides insight into the chaotic relationship between fame and social media. CNN conceded that “the show’s critique of a fame-obsessed culture certainly has merit,” adding that “‘Haters Back Off!’” is just the latest transplant to demonstrate the lingering if narrowing gap between YouTube and more traditional platforms.”
Given the mixed reviews of the series, I recommend you give the first episode of “Haters Back Off!” a shot before passing judgment. If you like it, great! If you hate it, Miranda encourages you to “back off.”