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Laugh lines: How Garry Shandling inspired Miranda

12 March 2010 4:07 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

One of the few recent laugh-out-loud sitcoms, Miranda showed a comedic shift away from the neo-naturalism of The Office and The Thick Of It

It is reassuring to know that television comedy can still spring surprises. Standup comedian Miranda Hart looked destined to be a perpetual sitcom bridesmaid, having had a bit part in Not Going Out and a bigger role in shortlived sci-fi homage Hyperdrive. Then last autumn she struck gold with the self-penned Miranda, in which she brilliantly played a singleton looking for love, dealing with goofy friends and regularly falling over. What made Miranda so memorable, apart from the sublime slapstick tumbles, was the way she constantly acknowledged the viewer, shamelessly mugging to the screen.

For Hart, these exasperated expressions were throwbacks to Frankie Howerd offering the lens one of his distressed camel looks, but it made me think of another long-lost studio audience sitcom starring a »

- Bruce Dessau

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