I’ll admit, I avoided Miranda for years because I thought it was too ‘juvenile’ (ha! As if that’s ever been a barrier to great comedy - juvenile is pure Seinfeld, and Fawlty, and Wodehouse, and any number of grown-ups trying not to be 12-year-olds and getting cringingly caught out).
But then, at least they were trying. Miranda & friends make no effort in that department whatsoever – it’s as if they all froze on the eve of teenage and thought ‘Oh dear me no. Is this where Life stops being Fun? Oh I don’t think so’ then just blithely frollicked into their fourth decades oblivious to any sense of responsibility or personal decency - ’respect’ is a complete anathema to Miranda; ‘respect’ flattens life’s sense of fun because it demands she conform to expectations – to get a serious job with meetings and suits and charts; to have a serious relationship where larking about 24/7 might not necessarily be desirable.
So Miranda & friends lark through life, and it is fun. It’s escapism. It’s being the girl/boy you always wanted to stay being, because being a proper grown-up is so bloody tiresome. But my problem with Miranda was that relentless escapism – however hilariously absurd - is just as tiresome. I longed for some – any! – dramatic development in Miranda’s life, and last week I actually got it.
She spent the entire episode plucking up the courage to let Mike down gently and throw herself into Gary’s arms, and I loved it. Farce piled upon farce and all the absurd touches were all the funnier because we were going somewhere - we were going to Gary’s to tell him we loved him, and when she finally did it was TV gold; one of those moments you scream at the telly because you can’t believe it’s actually happening.
And to have got to that point I must have invested in Miranda. For all her flolloping uselessness – how in God’s name did she get to own a shop? - she must have endeared herself to me somehow. But we didn’t really see Gary’s reaction last week. What will he do in tonight’s series finale?
Oooh I can’t wait.
+++UPDATE: Oh dear me no. Très, très disappointèment. Monday’s finale was so wrapped up in its own finale-ness that it totally jettisoned all dramatic sensibility. After two episodes plucking up the courage to do the right thing, Miranda basically ran off to hide without bothering to hear Gary out – even worse, Gary didn’t chase after her. If the woman I’d loved unrequitedly for years & years told me she loved me one evening, I’d have proposed that very night, sir, not moped about with my mobile looking at restaurants – break her door down you stupid silly salmon!
What Miranda needs is a touch of the Cleese & Booths. John Cleese wrote the male characters in Fawlty Towers and Connie Booth the female. The result was realistically balanced comic perfection. Gary, unfortunately, is far too similar to Miranda. And when he joined Mike down on one knee, were we supposed to honestly believe that, bolstered by the sudden undying adoration of two men, Miranda would vacillate? Were we really supposed to accept her shrug and plaintive look to camera just because it made for a great cliffhanger?
No, she should have said “I’m sorry, Mike, but I’m going to marry Gary.” Big kiss, audience cheer, end of the show, leaving us all with a warm glow and anticipating the chaos of the wedding preparations/eve of wedding split/potential early baby fracas etc.
Bad show Miranda Hart Dyke, bad show. But, luckily, we still love you+++