Haters Back Off

Haters Back Off

Official series artwork
Genre Comedy
Created by
Based on Miranda Sings
by Colleen Ballinger
Developed by
Music by Amotz Plessner[1]
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8
Executive producer(s)
  • Colleen Ballinger
  • Chris Ballinger
  • Kristen Zolner
  • Ted Biaselli
  • Brian Wright
  • Josh Barry
  • Jeff Kwatinetz
  • Gigi McCreery
  • Perry Rein
Location(s) Vancouver, Canada
Running time 30–35 minutes[2]
Production company(s)
Original network Netflix
Original release October 14, 2016 (2016-10-14) – present

Haters Back Off is a television comedy series starring Colleen Ballinger, based on her character Miranda Sings, that was released on Netflix on October 14, 2016. The "surreal and absurd" series centers around the family life of Miranda Sings, a sheltered, self-absorbed, overconfident and untalented young performer who seeks fame on YouTube.[3][4] The half-hour episodes depict Miranda's road to fame, and the price she pays for trampling on the feelings of others, from the time she uploads her first video until one of her videos goes viral. The show co-stars Angela Kinsey as Bethany, Miranda's mother, Steve Little as Jim, Miranda's uncle, Francesca Reale as Emily, Miranda's sister, and Erik Stocklin as Patrick, Miranda's best friend. Netflix describes the show as "a bizarre family comedy, and a commentary on society today and our fascination with fame."[5]

The show was developed by Colleen Ballinger and her brother, Christopher Ballinger, together with showrunners Gigi McCreery and Perry Rein. It is produced by Brightlight Pictures.[2] The show is named for Miranda Sings' signature catchphrase that she uses when responding to negative comments on her YouTube videos.[6][7] The series' eight episodes were released simultaneously worldwide.[3] The show is "the first scripted series created by a YouTube personality."[8][9]


Miranda Sings

Main article: Miranda Sings

Since 2008, Colleen Ballinger has posted videos as her comically talentless, narcissistic and quirky character, Miranda Sings, primarily on the YouTube channel Miranda Sings.[10] The character is a satire of bad, but egotistical, performers who film themselves singing as a form of self-promotion.[11] Miranda is portrayed as a home-schooled young woman who is eccentric and infantilized, narcissistically believes that she was born famous, and is obsessed with show business fame.[12][13] Miranda uses spoonerisms and malapropisms, is irritable, ludicrously self-absorbed and self-righteous, socially awkward, and has a defiant, arrogant attitude.[14][15] She responds to people who offer criticism with the catchphrase, "Haters back off!"[16][17]

Ballinger's videos received little traffic for more than a year, but in March 2009, she uploaded a Miranda video called "Free Voice Lesson", full of awful singing advice, that quickly became a viral sensation.[18][19] This led to requests for Ballinger to perform live as Miranda,[20] and she later began to tour worldwide.[21] The Miranda Sings YouTube channel has received more than 1 billion views and has more than 7 million subscribers,[22] making the character one of the most popular YouTubers.[6] Ballinger's personal YouTube channel, PsychoSoprano, has more than 700 million views and 4.5 million subscribers.[23] Miranda has appeared in character on television shows including Victorious,[24] Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, with Jerry Seinfeld,[25] and The Tonight Show.[26] Ballinger released a 2015 book, Selp-Helf, written in Miranda's voice,[27] that ranked No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list for Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous.[28]

Genesis of, and anticipation for, the series

Ballinger told interviewers that she and her brother Chris began to develop the idea for the show about five or six years ago. At first they considered a movie treatment but later decided on a television series format. Ballinger chose Netflix over HBO to produce Haters Back Off, because she felt that Netflix understood and was enthusiastic about the character and its online origin and fanbase.[5][29] Comparing the show to Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman, showrunner Perry Rein said: "This is the first time we’ve done a show about a really bad dancer and singer. [It has] characters that take themselves very seriously in their very small worlds."[5]

On YouTube, Miranda has always had an offstage relationship with her mother and uncle, and Ballinger had the idea for Miranda's best friend, Patrick, for a long time. Ballinger also said that she wanted to use the series and its longer format to expose Miranda's vulnerability and make her believable; to explain the source of the insecurities that make her so rude and eccentric. The character of Emily, Miranda’s sister, however, was new. Ballinger said that her brother, Chris, helped Francesca Reale to create the character.[30] Emily is the only normal person in Miranda's family, but they treat her as the odd one, like Marilyn in The Munsters.[31] The series greatly expands Miranda's world from what has been seen on YouTube. Miranda represents an "extreme version of what the average gawky teenage girl may be feeling."[32]

When the show was first announced, /Film mused: "Haters Back Off seems like a smart move for Netflix. [A] streaming content provider seems like a natural fit. Her built-in audience is already used to watching original content online ... Netflix is just a few clicks away [from YouTube]."[33] TechCrunch predicted that the show will be a success and recommended that Hollywood executives take note of Netflix's initiative. "[T]he rise of YouTube-fueled online influencers has been breathtaking ... building big audiences beyond the reach, knowledge and control of traditional entertainment gatekeepers, including the networks. ... Netflix can ... leverage the audiences of these online stars, and their marketing reach, to drive the fans to new properties ... online, where their fans already routinely seek entertainment".[34] In September 2016, the series was included in The Wall Street Journal's list of "The 6 Best New Things to Stream in October".[35] Bustle.com listed "11 Reasons You Should Watch ... Haters Back Off", commenting that the show "is already bound for greatness. ... Miranda has become emblematic of a new kind [of] star-seeker in the digital age: a youngster who decides that waiting for a fame-making opportunity simply won't do and that in order to become visible (and ostensibly beloved), you have to create the opportunities for visibility yourself. ... The show is destined to hit you right in the funny-bone."[36]




Guest stars

Production and promotion

Haters Back Off began filming in April 2016 in and around Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, near Vancouver,[2][41] which substitutes, in the series, for Miranda's hometown, Tacoma, Washington.[42] Filming wrapped on June 3.[43]

Ballinger began promotions for the series in January 2016 with a comic YouTube video announcement.[44] Miranda was featured on the cover of Variety, and in a feature article about the show, in June 2016.[5] On September 1, 2016, Netflix released the first production stills from the series.[45] On September 21, the show released its first of a series of teasers.[46][47] Ballinger appeared on The Tonight Show on October 14, 2016, to promote the series.[48]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Uploding my Fist Video"Andrew GaynordStory by: Colleen Ballinger & Chris Ballinger
Teleplay by: Colleen Ballinger, Gigi McCreery & Perry Rein
October 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Miranda and her adoring uncle Jim upload her first video, her tone-deaf cover of "Defying Gravity". This is the first phase in Jim's 5-phase plan for fame! Miranda embarrasses her sister Emily at Emily's school to meet her "fans"; Miranda is home-schooled by their single mom, Bethany, a hypochondriac who works as a grocery store cashier. Emily asks Bethany to reason with Miranda, but Bethany babies Miranda and cannot stand up to her. In their cluttered little Tacoma, Washington, house, Miranda is alarmed to receive her first YouTube death threat. But Jim wants to move to phase 2 by getting Miranda on TV in an ad for his employer, a fish store. Miranda's best friend, Patrick, is smitten with her. He sells ice cream and gives her a popsicle every day from his bicycle cooler. He goes to the fish store as security against the potential internet killer, armed with swords. The fish at the store die under the hot lights set up for the ad. When the store's owner arrives, Miranda screams and Patrick almost kills the owner before Emily confesses to anonymously posting the death threat. Miranda is devastated by the betrayal but vows to follow the advice in another YouTube comment: "Keep trying". Emily and Miranda agree to pretend in public that they are not sisters. Jim, fired from the fish store, is pleased to be free to become Miranda's full-time manager. Miranda's video has accumulated dozens of views, but more hateful comments have arrived.
2"Preeching 2 the Chior"Andrew GaynordJustin VaravaOctober 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Miranda uploads a tearful video titled "I Quit!". Jim begs her not to give up: after his high school ribbon dancing color guard performance that went badly awry, he gave up his passion and lives a life of regret. At church, Bethany is attracted to the pastor, Keith. Miranda is attracted to the choir's dreamy guitarist, Owen; she decides to join the choir. Her first rehearsal with the choir is so horrific that they ask the pastor to dismiss her. Patrick tries to console her, but she misunderstands his advice and vows to make Owen fall in love with her. Jim fails to get his job back and sells his car for $500. At the church singles night, the choir is performing. Miranda invades the stage and starts to sing a racy love song to Owen. When challenged, Miranda makes a scene, calling everyone a "hater". Pastor Keith asks Owen to escort Miranda offstage. Owen abandons her outside the church. Bethany tells Miranda that she is strong and not to let anyone stop her. Meanwhile, Jim gives the $500 to the fish store manager to get his job back, but Miranda arrives and says that she is going back on the internet. Jim eagerly quits his job!
3"Netwerking at the Nursing Home"Andrew GaynordRuss WoodyOctober 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Miranda uploads her cover of "Respect". Emily wants Miranda to sing for their aunt Moira, who is suffering from dementia in a nursing home. Miranda and Jim agree when they realize that, if Moira dies, Miranda might "get her stuff". Patrick rings the bell on his bicycle to give Miranda her daily popsicle. Bethany has a moment with smooth-talking pastor Keith at the grocery store. At the nursing home, Miranda abandons Moira to meet an old movie director spotted by Jim, Bob Hamburg, hoping for an audition. Emily drags her away. Meanwhile, Patrick confronts Owen but finds out that Owen is not interested in Miranda. Jim and Miranda sneak into the nursing home, where Miranda's singing kills Mr. Hamburg. Emily is blamed for upsetting Miranda. Bob's nephew, Ben Stiller, asks Miranda to speak at the funeral, as she was "closest to" Bob when he died. Stiller notes that he is "in the industry", but Miranda doesn't want an "industrial job". At the funeral, Bethany flirts with pastor Keith. Miranda notes before the congregation that, although Bob is dead, she will perform. But Emily quickly interrupts, and Miranda and Jim call Emily a jealous hater. Miranda uploads a new video, singing "Danny Boy".
4"Rod Trip With My Uncle"Todd RohalColleen Ballinger & Chris BallingerOctober 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Pastor Keith, at Miranda's house, announces that he has been dating Bethany since the funeral. Miranda is angry, but Keith offers to get her a singing gig at the prestigious Thea Foss Theatre. Jim is jealous and says he has a better gig at a venue in Seattle. Although Jim has no luck booking a theatre, he sets of with Miranda in Bethany's minivan, with Patrick as their roadie. Miranda chooses a stage name: "Miranda Sings"! The van gets impounded, as Patrick had painted a billboard of Miranda on it that covers the windows. But Jim sees a Karaoke bar and says that the gig is there. Miranda is to perform on an elevated stage; worried that the audience will see up her skirt, Jim lends her his red sweatpants. Meanwhile, Emily grows suspicious, when Keith buys Bethany a mobility scooter, that he has a fetish for sick people. Patrick tells Emily on the phone that they need a ride home. Miranda sings "All That Jazz" at the Karaoke competition, but Patrick's bubble machine makes the floor slippery, and they slide around hilariously as Miranda struggles to finish the number. Emily, Bethany and Keith arrive to see the debacle. Keith proposes to "take [Bethany] from this train wreck", but Bethany says her family needs her more; Keith leaves. Miranda, Jim and Patrick win the competition as a comedy trio, but Miranda is angry: she is a solo singing act! Jim happily picks up the $100 prize.
5"Staring in a Musicall"Todd RohalGigi McCreery & Perry ReinOctober 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Bethany edits Miranda's dance video cover of "Genie in a Bottle" and suggests that they do a home production of Annie. Jim forcefully takes over as director, planning to tape the performance for Broadway producers. Finding that Daddy Warbucks is Annie's love interest in this version of the musical, the actor cast in the part quits in disgust. Patrick claims the role, as he has memorized all of Warbucks' lines, and looks forward to his stage kiss with Miranda as Annie. Jim has a toilet in his bedroom, and because she is annoyed by Jim's treatment of her, Bethany calls a plumber, who determines that it has leaked raw sewage into the back yard, where the cast has been rehearsing. The musical is shut down. Emily is embarrassed when her friend Kleigh discovers that Emily has been lying about not being Miranda's sister.
6"Becuming a Magichin"Andrew GaynordJustin Varava & Russ WoodyOctober 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Miranda makes a video tutorial: "Free Voice Lesson". Jim thinks it will be a hit, but Miranda doesn't want to upload it, as it gives away her vocal secrets. Patrick is excited about his upcoming audition at a magic club. Miranda thinks it is taking too long for her to get famous, so Patrick offers to teach her some magic and let her audition in his place. Jim feels left out. Miranda doesn't want to learn dinky tricks; it has to be something big: Patrick's magic sword cabinet! He will be her assistant. Miranda sees that Patrick has been working on a romantic artwork using her many popsicle sticks. Emily is still depressed and has not been eating; she paints alone in the garage. Jim, unable to occupy his room until the plumbing is fixed, moves in with Bethany, to her disgust. Backstage at Miranda's magic audition, Patrick tells Bethany that the audition is closed, and she must leave or Miranda could be disqualified. Before Bethany can flee, stagehands come, and she hides in the magic cabinet, which they wheel onstage. Miranda begins her musical magic act. Patrick is surprised to meet Bethany inside the cabinet. Miranda sticks in the swords, and Patrick helps Bethany avoid getting stabbed, until Miranda goes off script, and both Bethany and Patrick are wounded. At the hospital, Bethany's doctors find a kidney abnormality, as Miranda watches over Patrick.
7"Starr off the Parade"Andrew GaynordGigi McCreery & Perry ReinOctober 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Miranda uploads a cover of "Love Shack". Patrick finally asks Miranda on a date, but she says she could only marry a famous person, since she is famous. The doctors tell Bethany that her kidneys are failing. Emily wants to move away to an art school. Jim tries to get Miranda on the Grand Marshal's float in the upcoming town parade. When rebuffed, Jim decides to form a color guard of home schoolers to march with Miranda in the parade, with Jim as ribbon dancer. Patrick builds the "home schooled" float around his ice cream bicycle, which looks like a huge uncle Jim pony. Miranda rides aboard in a pink cowboy hat. Jim's color guard marches before it and performs beautifully, but Jim's pyrotechnics light the float on fire just as Miranda kisses Patrick inside it and agrees to go on a date with him. Emily goes to the art school admission panel but discovers that Miranda has altered Emily's artworks in her portfolio by gluing macaroni, felt and sparkles to them; the artworks are all ruined.
8"i'm famous"Andrew GaynordColleen Ballinger & Chris BallingerOctober 14, 2016 (2016-10-14)
Miranda again forbids Jim to post the "Free Voice Lesson" video. She and Patrick plan to go on a date. Owen invites them to his CD release party at the Thea Foss Theatre; Miranda is angry that Jim has not booked her there. She rushes to the theatre, where Owen asks her to perform in his show right before a big surprise he plans to announce at the end. Bethany's kidney disease is getting worse. Since Miranda ruined her art school admission, Emily has had it; she goes to live with her father. Owen asks Miranda to hold a ring for his big surprise. Miranda thinks that he is proposing to her and puts on the ring; she calls Patrick to cancel the elaborate date he has planned, because she is with Owen now. Jim has posted the "Free Voice Lesson" video to YouTube; Miranda fires him. She gets on stage to sing "I Will Always Love You" to Owen, who cuts her off, saying it is a joke. Owen asks April to come on stage, and he proposes to her, pulling the ring off of Miranda's finger. The audience starts laughing at everything Miranda says. She asks: "Why is it funny that someone would love me?" and they fall silent. Miranda attacks Owen and April to get the ring but is pulled away and forced out into the pouring rain by security. Miranda has been so cruel to everyone that no one will take her calls. Arriving drenched at home, she yells at Bethany, who explains that she failed to attend because of her kidney medication. Bethany reveals that she needs a kidney donor or she will die. She leaves Miranda all alone in the house. Miranda is about to delete "Free Voice Lesson", but sees that it has over 100,000 views and many positive comments. She yells "Uncle Jim, it worked!", but no one is there. She keeps refreshing the page as more views accumulate. Her internet triumph is juxtaposed with her moment of greatest loneliness. Just then, Miranda hears the bell from Patrick's bike and looks up hopefully.


The first season of the series received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 43%, based on 14 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Haters Back Off is bizarre, painful, and often times excruciatingly funny – yet the appeal of the YouTube transport doesn't quite carry over in the longer television format."[49] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 54 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[50]

Positive reviews of Haters Back Off include Robert Lloyd's in the Los Angeles Times, who observed that, unlike in Miranda’s YouTube videos, the character's actions in the TV series have consequences and affect the other characters and their feelings. Lloyd thought that the series succeeds in "shaping a funny idea into a semblance of life". He praised the performances, especially Kinsey's.[51] The Guardian printed two positive reviews: Brian Moylan called the series a "hilarious transfer to Netflix. ... Ballinger gets at something that is not only a cultural critique but often hits on the fragility of egos and everyone’s need for acceptance."[52] In their other review, Stuart Heritage wrote: "It's a uniformly singular sitcom about the effects of fame, and frequently a very funny one. ... [I]t is great, once you’ve attuned yourself to its quirks".[53] Melanie McFarland, on NPR, compared Miranda's world with Pee-wee Herman's, saying that both are "perversely funny, cartoonish worlds that also manage to be weirdly innocent. 'There's just that sly element of wrongness about it that makes it oh so right.'"[32] Daniel D'Addario wrote in Time magazine that the series "is imperfect, but it's also more than it needed to be. ... Ballinger examine[s] what the obsession with having fans papers over and the new problems it creates."[54]

TheWrap's Michael E. Ross called the series an "antic, sometimes wise, often laugh-out-loud funny case of art imitating life imitating art", noting that "there are times ... when the veneer of ego is stripped away, and we discover the shy, insecure young woman behind the bluster. Haters reflects a hearty sense of humor about the genesis of online celebrity. ... [W]hat resonates ... is Miranda’s underlying humanity, her basic drive to be recognized, to stand apart from the crowd. And we can all relate to the pain of rejection".[55] Jasef Wisener of TVOvermind.com gave the series 3.8 stars out of 5. He was favorably impressed by the character development and the performances, especially Ballinger's and Reale's. He also liked its structure and musical score, but felt that the exposition was sometimes bogged down in the early episodes by its explanation of details and sometimes panders to Miranda's established internet audience; he felt that the series improves in the later episodes. He disliked the sexual innuendos and found Miranda's relationship with Uncle Jim uncomfortable, although these are elements carried over from Miranda's YouTube videos.[4] The A.V. Club's Danette Chavez commented that Ballinger's "portrayal of Miranda is multidimensional in spite of the character's single-mindedness. ... Haters fleshes out the environment that would spawn such an egotistical personality. ... [L]aughs are as consistently delivered" with zany comedy, although the "domestic strife and even anguish" makes the series nearly a dramedy. But she felt that "sometimes the foreshadowing is just a little too foreboding. ... the tonal shifts don’t always jibe."[38]

In a mixed review for New York magazine's Vulture site, Jen Chaney judged that "not everything in Haters Back Off! works. ... If you find Miranda Sings irritating after watching a two-minute YouTube clip, you should find something else to put in your queue. But ... fans ... who have a reasonable amount of patience will likely find some redeeming qualities to latch onto, especially as the episodes progress. ... Miranda is a purposely maddening character. But Ballinger commits to her so fully and with such specific physicality ... that she's often mesmerizing to watch. ... [But] maybe Miranda Sings is better in shorter doses."[56] Similarly, for The New York Times, James Poniewozik wrote that:

Like Miranda’s performances, Haters can be terrible and transfixing at the same time. ... Ballinger commits to Miranda's hunger and histrionics. ... There's a deeper pathos to Miranda's situation, but the season doesn't delve deeply into that until late, by which time haters will have long since backed off. ... There's a lot in Haters Back Off! to gratify Ms. Ballinger's YouTube fan base. ... Beyond the winces, there's something human in its comedy of internet thirst: the insatiable drive to put a piece of oneself out into the world and hit refresh, refresh, refresh.[57]

Brian Lowry, writing for CNN, had a mostly negative reaction. While he felt that while the series' "critique of a fame-obsessed culture certainly has merit", and that the later episodes "reward patience", the show was too "cartoon-like", and "there's a sense that the series is stretched beyond what it has to offer."[58] Keith Uhlich, in The Hollywood Reporter, found the gags funny, but he concluded that although Miranda is "an acidic critique of the very celebrity strivers who make up the majority of the YouTube community", it is more effective "in short bursts". In "an eight-episode Netflix series ... the lampoon loses its edge". He also thought that much of the pathos in the series is "unearned, unconvincing" and the characters are "shallow vessels freighted down by contrived plot complications . ... And there's more than a bit of that vainglorious YouTubers' entitlement in where Haters ultimately ends up, the satire finally curdling into smugness."[59] Sonia Saraiya of Variety did not think that the series has "the same organic appeal as Ballinger’s bizarre, pastiche-y videos. ... Miranda lacks some of the innocent naivete that makes her character work on YouTube. ... Miranda’s behavior ... could be raucously hilarious [for some viewers], an example of theater-geek self-obsession run amok. For me, anyway, Miranda’s obsessions and absorptions ... prove to be more tragic than hilarious."[60] Rob Lowman of the Los Angeles Daily News wrote: "The series seems to want to exist somewhere between a Pee-wee Herman world, where Miranda exists within her own reality, and Waiting for Guffman or other parodies of self-important clueless people. It doesn’t succeed as either, nor on its own terms.[37]

The show debuted as the 2nd most popular digital original series in the US.[61]


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  53. Heritage, Stuart. "Haters Back Off: it's Napoleon Dynamite for the YouTube generation", The Guardian, October 21, 2016
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External links

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