12 Days of Christmas Episodes – Day Eight: Miranda
I don’t like Christmas. But in an attempt to be less of a Scrooge, I have decided to spend the 12 days leading up to Jesus’ birthday doing one of the few Christmas-related activities that doesn’t make me want to run away and hide: watching Christmas episodes of television shows. And I’m going to write about it, because that’s just what I do. Will this activity instil the spirit of Christmas within my cold, uncaring heart, or will I grow even more bitter toward the festive season? Only time will tell…
Previously on 12 Days of Christmas Episodes: I didn’t do a proper post on Saturday, and promised to rectify the situation in the morning. But I didn’t. And then another two days passed with no word from me. But I’m back, and I promise that I’ve still been watching Christmas television every day, even if I haven’t managed to blog about it. Now, back to Miranda…
Season 3, episode 1: “It Was Panning”
The first episode of Miranda‘s third season isn’t so much a Christmas episode, but a season opener that just happens to be set at Christmas time. Setting us up for what is arguably the strongest overall season of the series, this episode introduces the character of Mike – a love interest for Miranda who just may lead her to get over Gary.
In contrast to the proper Christmas episode in season two, “It Was Panning” still managed to get a couple of good laughs out of me, despite this being maybe the third or fourth viewing. This may have just been because I watched it first this time. I don’t know.
Season 2, episode 6: “The Perfect Christmas”
The comedy student within me has ruined Miranda. The first time I took one of Tim Ferguson’s writing classes, one of the things he said that stuck with me was that once we learned to understand how sitcoms work, we’d never be able to watch them in the same way. The example he used was Seinfeld, and he said that it would ruin all of our future relationships. Thankfully the only relationship this has ruined is that between me and this episode of Miranda.
Before I continue, I just want to say that none of the things I’m about to point out make Miranda a bad show. It’s a strong comedy series, and one that I have watched on repeat many times. But once you start looking for joke types and story patterns, it just doesn’t seem as funny anymore – particularly when you’ve already seen the episode x amount of times.
Watching this episode on Saturday night, I found myself distracted by its structure and joke archetypes. Miranda episodes are quite formulaic, and very telling of her background as a stand-up comedian. Every time the character of Miranda has a rant, you could take that exact dialogue and give it to someone on-stage at an open mic night and they’d have you in stitches. It’s good stuff – but it’s stand-up comedy disguised as outrage.
She often reuses the same few types of jokes: identical structures with different words. For example, if there’s a funny word, she’ll repeat it a few times before making a call-back to a funnier word that she had mentioned earlier in the episode (or sometimes the season). Repeating joke types is incredibly common, and Miranda does it well, but once you start noticing, it takes you away from the humour and you start overanalysing the whole thing.
In exciting news the first of the final two ever episodes of Miranda airs on Christmas Day in the UK, so hopefully I’ll be able to watch it before I go away to Falls. I’ll just have to make sure to turn off my comedy student sitcom-analysing brain, and try to sit back and enjoy the show.