Miranda

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I’m continuing my Tom Ellis TV show marathon. My love for this wonderfully awesome actor keeps exponentially growing with each TV show. I can check Fox’s Lucifer and USA’s Rush off my list. Each are unconventional dramas with plenty of witticism, sarcasm, and dark humor. Time to switch things up a bit. I metaphorically travelled across the pond to the UK for the next show. I’d read good things about BBC’s Miranda. It’s important to maintain an open-mind when approaching a new TV show.

Miranda is a comedic sitcom created and written by Miranda Hart. This show was developed from Hart’s semi-autobiographical BBC 2 Radio comedy, Miranda Hart’s Joke Shop, from 2008. The main character, Miranda, doesn’t feel like she fits in society at all. She is 6’1’’ and awfully clumsy with a child-like sense of humor. Miranda is a lovably awkward comedy revolving how the main character somehow always ends up in socially awkward situation on a daily basis. She is quite socially inept. Yet, Miranda embraces this flaw as part of her quirky personality. Despite being 34 years old, Miranda has no idea how to truly be a grown-up adult. She is always a kid at heart. Yet, she is constantly striving to be independent and forge her own path in life.

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I was a bit skeptical of whether I’d actually like BBC’s Miranda. The pilot episode most definitely won me over. It had me busting out in hearty laughter. Honestly, it has been a while since a sitcom TV show has had me in intense peals of laughter. I even clapped my hands aloud often watching Miranda episodes. (Side note: My family gave me a fair share of odd glances as I was watching this show. I couldn’t suppress my laughter or joyous seal claps.) Anyway, this awkward cringe comedy sitcom easily grew on me.

Slapstick comedy is a quintessential element. This involves exaggerated physical activities exceeding the boundaries of normal physical comedy. Miranda’s character is lovably clumsy by nature. It often leads to very embarrassing moments in social situations.

Miranda incorporates one element you rarely see in TV shows. The main character breaking the fourth wall and directly talking towards the audience. I’ve honestly only seen this element in very few of my TV shows and movies. Showtime’s House of Lies and Marvel’s Deadpool. In the opening scenes of every episode, Miranda converses with the audience to catch us up on what’s going on in her life. Also, she often breaks the fourth wall when reacting to her awkward actions in social situations. Breaking the fourth wall enables the audience to better understand fascinating nuances of Miranda’s quirky personality.

Besides the main character, there are plenty of fascinating characters among the main cast ensemble. Stevie Sutton. Gary Preston. Penny. Tilly. Miranda explores the dynamic relationship she has with each of these characters. So much history with each character.

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[From left to right: Tilly, Gary Preston, Miranda, Stevie Sutton. Penny]

Stevie Sutton is Miranda’s childhood best friend. She is the assistant manager at Miranda’s joke/gift shop. Although, Stevie essentially manages the business aspect of the joke/gift shop. Miranda lacks any sense of business. She doesn’t mind taking on this immense responsibility. The best friends enjoy the opportunity to work together. Stevie has some odd quirks despite externally appearing all put together. In the pilot episode, it is obvious why Stevie and Miranda are very close best friends right off the bat. Miranda frequently asks her best friend for advice. Stevie knows Miranda struggles with everyday adult life. These struggles typically land her in socially awkward situations. Miranda can be emotionally vulnerable with her best friend. Stevie is a very important person in Miranda’s life. Stevie is basically the closest thing to a sister.
Miranda-and-Gary

Gary Preston is Miranda’s old friend from university. He is the friendly, handsome chef at the restaurant next door to her joke/gift shop. Gary eventually buys the restaurant from the owner, Clive Evans, in Season 3. Throughout the series, the restaurant is one of Miranda’s favorite hangout spots. It’s not often you remain close with your university friends many years after graduation. Based off their conversation interactions, you can immediately tell they are close friends. Miranda doesn’t really have too many friends. Gary enjoys Miranda’s company despite her odd behavior in social situations. She can be her lovably quirky self around Gary.

In the first two seasons, the show explores the underlying attraction between these two characters. Neither want to act on their romantic feelings for the other in fear of ruining their close friendship. Mere friendship is no longer enough at some point. Gary and Miranda’s dating attempts have its highs and lows. Despite being confidence and outgoing, he also suffers insecurities when it comes to romance and dating. It’s one thing Miranda and he have in common. They must overcome their insecurities to truly be ready to pursue a romantic relationship. Through the good and bad times, Miranda and Gary cannot deny how they can’t imagine each other not being in their lives.

(Side note: The wonderful Tom Ellis plays the role of Gary Preston. This is a drastically different role from Dr. William Rush in USA’s Rush and Lucifer Morningstar in Fox’s Lucifer. In every role, Tom brilliantly brings to life the emotional nuances of the character. Don’t even get me started on his incredibly versatile facial expressions. Not many actors can make me laugh and cry. Tom Ellis joins this elite club along with few other of my actor biases.)

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Penny is Miranda’s overbearing mother. Also, she is very obsessed with what her upper-middle class “friends” think about her life and family. Miranda falls very short of her mother’s expectations. Penny often vocally expresses her disappointment in Miranda’s lack of a respectable career path along with no prospective men to marry. In terms of her expectations, Miranda is a massive disappointment of a daughter.

Penny often meddles in Miranda’s personal and romantic life. She can’t see how her constant interference prevents Miranda from truly figuring out how to properly adult in life. Yet, Penny does this out of love and concern for Miranda. It’s safe to say neither mother nor daughter often see eye-to-eye on matters. Miranda and Penny have a complicated relationship. But it isn’t always full of tension and animosity. Over the three seasons, mother and daughter slowly gain new understanding of each other. It dawns on Miranda that some of her odd behaviors come from her mother. In fact, Miranda and Penny grow closer over time. Penny even comes to truly accept Miranda as she is. The scenes with them are always fascinating. You never know what to expect.

Tilly is Miranda’s old friend from boarding school. Miranda doesn’t have any fond memories of her time at an all-girls boarding school. Tilly almost always refers to Miranda as “Queen Kong”. Unfortunately, this boarding school nickname seemed to have stuck with Miranda well into adulthood. Miranda obviously tolerates Tilly. They have absolutely no common interests. In fact, they are polar opposites.

In the beginning, it’s very perplexing why Miranda even hangs out with Tilly. Penny wishes her daughter was more like Tilly. Tilly gets along rather swimmingly with Miranda’s mum. Being a socialite, it makes sense that Tilly has a self-centered personality. She makes no efforts to conceal her narcissistic tendencies in social situation. We later discover that Tilly acts the way she does being afraid to reveal her flaws and insecurities to people. Like Penny, Tilly is very conscious of what upper-middle class society things about her. Over the seasons, she becomes slightly less vain and a decently likable character in the show. Miranda in no way considers Tilly her best friend. Yet, they mutually care for each other.

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With a fascinating menagerie of characters, Miranda has an endearingly quirky storytelling style. The recurring characters grow on you as well. The ones that stood out to me were Clive Evans, “Dreamboat” Charlie, Michael Jackford, and “Random Customer”. It makes sense that Miranda has the most character development throughout the show. Penny, Gary, Stevie, and Tilly each have their own character development within the plot arcs. Just not as drastic as Miranda’s storyline.

Often, TV shows have multiple backdrops for the scenes. But majority of the scenes take place in three locations. Miranda’s flat. Miranda’s joke/gift shop. The restaurant next door. You see other various backdrops occasionally in scenes. Those three locations are core central to Miranda storylines.

Miranda seasons didn’t air consistently back-to-back. Season 1 aired between November to December 2010. Season 2 aired between November to December 2010. Season 3 aired between December 2012 to January 2013. The two-part episode finale aired on December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015 respectively.

The creator and writer, Miranda Hart, said that there was a possibility for the return of Miranda in the future. I really hope this wonderfully quirky series returns with more episodes. I’d love to see what shenanigans Miranda and gang get up to. Plus, the focus would drastically shift from Miranda’s single life to married life with Gary. That will surely provide interesting storylines.

This show explores the tumultuous journey of self-discovery for the main character. Miranda navigates the daily struggles of acting like a functioning adult. Yet, she is always a child at heart. Out of all her insecurities, Miranda struggles the most with her lack of confidence. This often prevents her from living life to the fullest. She frequently questions if people can truly appreciate her personality. Quirks and all. Over the three seasons, Miranda slowly comes into her own being.

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Miranda consists of three seasons in addition to two episode specials to wrap up the show. That’s a total of 20 episodes. Best of all, every episode is only 30 minutes long. It took 2.5 days to binge marathon this quirky sitcom. From start to finish, there was plenty of smiling, tears of laughter, and seal clapping. Slapstick comedy is the main element of this show. I can see why people love this awkward comedy sitcom.

This endearingly awkward British sitcom is full of marvelous heart and soul. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. The right balance of drama and comedy.  If you’re looking for an unconventional British TV series, I’d highly recommend checking out Miranda.

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Rush

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Thanks to Fox’s Lucifer, I have a newfound appreciation and obsession with Tom Ellis. I tried to deny my new obsession. Yet, there are so many reason I love Tom Ellis. He is an immensely talented actor. I don’t easily throw around the word “gorgeous” when it comes to actors. I cannot deny Tom Ellis is a gorgeous man. Don’t even get me started on his irresistible smiles. It makes me melt into a puddle of feels every time. In promotional interviews, Tom is well-articulated yet also finds the right moments to insert humor. He has an awesome personality. I could honestly listen to him talk for hours. When I become obsessed with an actor, I proceed to watch all their other TV and movie projects. Right now I’m focusing on watching other television shows starring Tom Ellis among the main cast ensemble. I’ll eventually get to his film projects.

Despite being popular in the United Kingdom, he isn’t as widely known here in the United States. In 2014, USA Network’s Rush was Tom’s first American network TV show. Rush is an edgy medical drama created by Jonathon Levine. It revolves around the tumultuous life of Dr. William Rush. Six years ago, Will was dismissed from a major Los Angeles hospital. He enters “concierge” medical field and serves a very specific clientele. Wealthy clients and Hollywood celebrities who need immediate medical attention but require the utmost discretion. No questions asked at all. His elite, affluent clients must pay thousands of dollars up front cash in advance. He essentially is a “medical fixer” who has thrown his moral compass out of the window. Rush is a good doctor with self-destructive habits. Heavy usage of alcohol and drugs. These are his coping mechanisms to fight demons from his turbulent past. Tom Ellis plays the leading role of Dr. William Rush.

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about checking out USA’s Rush. I’ve seen my fair share of medical dramas. The basic concept of this medical drama seemed very cliché. Yet, I was willing to keep an open-mind and give it a chance. I’ll admit Tom Ellis playing the lead role was my main motivation to watch USA’s Rush. My bias actors have led me to some awesome TV shows and movies.

After watching the pilot episode, I was surprised how Rush definitely wasn’t what I expect to be. It wasn’t your typical procedural medical drama. In fact, I wouldn’t even really call it a “medical” drama. USA’s Rush explores the multi-faceted personality of Dr. Will Rush along the complicated relationships with the few important people in his life.

RushBeing a renegade physician, Rush runs an unorthodox “concierge” medical practice that involves personally visiting his elite clients at their homes or workplaces. He is basically a rock star freelance doctor to the elite of Los Angeles. He doesn’t discriminate nor judge his clients’ morals. All that matters is that pay in advance in all cash. It proves to be a very profitable business venture for him. In a way, you could technically say Dr. Will Rush runs not only an unorthodox but also an illegal medical practice. He always knows how to fix the medical issue. Also, he is always well-prepared for any situation possible. Rush lives by the philosophy that he would do anything for the right price. This becomes increasingly not as simple throughout the course of Season 1.

William Rush’s character isn’t what I’d call a likeable character. He is very screwed up. Not even going to sugarcoat it. Yet, he isn’t exactly a bad person. Rush is trying to make the best of his circumstance. He basically an onion with lots of emotional layers. On the surface, he seems so put together and unapologetic about his eccentric lifestyle. The drugs and alcohol numb his inner emotional turmoil. Rush refuses to face the ghosts of his pasts and constantly tries to keep burying them deeper away. He hides the darker parts away for only very few people to see this side.

The show explores the complex relationships with particular characters. He has very different relationships with each of these characters. Eve Parker is his personal assistant. Alex Burke is his longtime friend. Manny Maquis is his drug dealer. Warren Rush is his father. Sarah Peterson is his ex-girlfriend and still the love of his life. Quite the variety of interesting characters. You see different sides of Will when he interacts with these characters.

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From left to right: Dr. Alex Burke, Eve Parker, and Dr. William Rush

Eve Parker, his personal assistant, goes above and beyond to ensure Rush’s unorthodox “concierge” medical venture continues to thrive. She does so much behind the scenes while he is out dealing with the elite clientele patients. From Eve’s interactions, you can tell she enjoys working for Dr. Will Rush. No matter how some days can get quite crazy. Eve knows about his heavy usages of alcohol and drugs. She tries to keep him on track and inquire about his well-being from time to time. Rush cares about his personal assistant. He appreciates all her hard work and loyalty. Throughout Season 1, you discover the backstory of how Rush met his personal assistant. I’d say this is one of the healthiest relationships in Rush’s life.

Alex Burke and Will Rush’s friendship go way back. Both are Harvard trained physicians. I’m assuming they most likely met in medical school. Alex and Will are total opposites. It’s kind of amusing how they are slightly envious of the other person’s life. Alex vicariously lives through Will. He craves the excitement and freedom in Will’s life. But he has lots of commitments in his life. Will vicariously lives through Alex. He longs to have stability in terms of his relationships. Rush doesn’t typically have healthy relationships with woman. He is envious how Alex is happily married to Laurel and a good role model for his son, Elliot. Rush will never admit it but he secretly wants to eventually settle down. The scenes with Alex and Will are always refreshing. It doesn’t seem Rush has other close friends. This is one of the few healthy relationships in Will’s life.

Rush is quite chummy with his drug dealer, Manny Maquis. The scenes with Rush and Manny are interesting. We don’t quite know the full history between Rush and Manny. There was only one flashback scene from six years ago showing hard-partying Rush randomly meeting Manny at some bar or nightclub establishment. Rush isn’t Manny’s best customer, but he is consistent. Most of their interactions involve a drug transaction. There was an occasion where Manny needs Rush’s help to convince his stubborn dad to see a doctor. Rush agrees to help Manny out. It isn’t too big of a favor. They have a bizarre quasi-friendship relationship which provides for an intriguing storyline.

Rush - Season 1

From the start, you get a sense that there’s tension between Will and his father. We don’t know exactly why until about halfway through Season 1. Rush blames his father for being the dismissed from the hospital six years ago. It is obvious Will and Warren have a tenuous, strained relationship. Warren doesn’t approve of his son’s unorthodox medical venture. A situation arises where he must ask his father for a favor in order to save Alex’s job. To say the least, it was an awkward and tense family dinner. Will meets his father’s new wife, Corrine. She is 20 years than Warren. (Side note: Rush and Corrine have a weird storyline in the show. But I won’t go into the further details.) He is even more shocked to learn he has a half-sister, Lily. Rush is very angry that his father didn’t tell Lily that she has an older half-brother. Warren is convinced his son is a bad influence to be around Lily. Also, he doesn’t want Lily to be disappointed by Will. Throughout Season 1, Will and Warren slowly rebuild their father-son relationship.

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Sarah Peterson is a very special person to Rush. He unexpectedly runs into her at Alex’s son birthday. Rush has been with many women. But Sarah is much different. She’s the love of his life. Her return sparks a desire to change inside of him. To become a better man that Sarah can learn to trust and rely on. He wants to settle down with the love of his life. Rush tries to walk the straight and narrow. But his self-destructive habits aren’t easy to kick.

Dr. William Rush is a multidimensional character which provides for some very intriguing plot arcs. He has a sharp, witty conversational style. Tom Ellis truly did justice of bringing this multi-faceted character to life. I’ll admit it took a couple episodes to get used to his American accent. It sounded a bit weird at first. Otherwise, Tom was the best actor for the lead role of Dr. Will Rush.

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I don’t normally watch USA Network shows. Three years ago, I randomly discovered White Collar few months before their final season. It was surprising to learn that USA Network has some leniency in terms of content in their TV shows. I’ve watch my fair share of premium cable shows. Strong profanity isn’t that uncommon in MA rated television shows. But I was a bit shocked with the strong profanity in Rush. The most common swear word used throughout Season 1 was “shit”. It is said at least 5 times in every episode. This swear word is typically not allowed on prime-time network TV shows. It would be censored out. That was not the case with USA’s Rush. Apparently, USA Network has a slight leniency on profanity in their TV shows.

USA’s Rush was a surprisingly compelling show. Each of the main characters’ development was amusing. The storylines kept you on your toes. I found it interesting how this edgy medical drama chose an 80’s music soundtrack. These past two days I binged all 10 episodes of Season 1. I don’t regret it.

Sadly, USA Network decided not to renew Rush for a second season. That is a pity. I really would have enjoyed seeing what intriguing storylines we’d see in Season 2. I tried to ponder why this show got cancelled after its first season. I feel the way the plot arcs were structure is most likely the main reason. It was compelling storytelling. But it was more than halfway when William Rush decides to drastically transform his life to earn back Sarah’s trust. This should have happened a couple episodes sooner. In my opinion, this aspect of the storyline in Season 1 seemed a bit rushed. Another plausible reason is that a small handful of the supporting characters really stood out. Eve Parker and Alex Burke. Rush had so much potential but sadly it didn’t garner enough of a following to be renewed for another season.

Lucifer promotional banner_5It is sad when a show full of potential isn’t fully appreciated by the general public. USA’s Rush being cancelled turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Not long afterwards Tom Ellis had the opportunity to play the role of Lucifer Morningstar in Fox’s Lucifer. This would be his second American network TV show. I cannot imagine any other actor playing Lucifer Morningstar and truly doing this role justice. Tom Ellis is the perfect choice for this particular role! He wouldn’t have had this incredible opportunity if USA’s Rush had been renewed for a second season. The grass can always be greener on the other side when it comes to TV show cancellations.

I was surprised how much enjoyed watching this edgy medical drama. The storytelling keeps you on your toes. Also, you’d never imagine to be rooting for Dr. Will Rush. But this complicated character really does grow on you. I’d recommend checking out USA’s Rush if you’re looking for an unconventional medical drama.