Brit Language: MirandaSpeak is “Such Fun”!

Miranda is the new queen of comedy on BBC. Do a Google search “BBC Miranda” and you’ll see who rules. Written and performed by the multi-talented comedian, Miranda Hart, the series is laugh out loud funny. Miranda finds being a grownup, love, friendship, walking and even keeping her clothes from flying off difficult. Situations, especially social situations are fraught with confusion and constant disasters.

She can’t say sex or breast without lowering her voice. The Telegraph compares it to panto with the “slapstick, silly voices, harmless innuendo, characters breaking off to address the audience, jokes a child could get”. You can’t help but like, identify, and sympathize with Miranda, and that’s part of  her unique charm.

My favorite comedians do broad comedy. Shows like Fawlty Towers and Mr. Bean rely on a very physical slapstick in your face type of comedy. Miranda Hart is that type of comedian. Along with the farts, pratfalls, and fruit friends comes a very special language “what I call” MirandaSpeak because it IS MirandaSpeak. I find myself putting on subtitles, not because I’m hard of hearing, but because I don’t want to miss one wacky minute. Comedy like this doesn’t rely on subtle word associations, inferences, or innuendo, and won’t bring about deep and meaningful discussion. It’s language that beats you over the head, with fun.

The Telegraph describes Miranda’s unique use of language like this:

 “Language is perhaps the most underrated part of the show’s humor. Hart has a Pythonesque ear for what makes a word ticklish. “Posh name alert,” she’ll say, turning to camera to announce a frightful new character: “Clemency Twisterton Ott.” It reaches its apotheosis in the speech of Phillips’s “spiffulent” PR girl Tilly. “Marvellismus,” she’ll purr, or in one address to Miranda: “You have majorly let yourself go – slackeroni cheese!”

Even Miranda can’t understand Tilly-speak as in one scene she leans quizzically toward Tilly giving the audience a look that says, “can you believe this?” We can. Tilly is saying something worthy of our attention and we strain to understand.

Here’s another example of  ”what I call” Tilly-speak:

So Queen Kong I bring tidings of great joy. Stinky Von Tusse is in town and she wants to lunchon later at the new Sushi place. Will you come? It’s going to be tremendulant. Aah Stinky, was the most brillo head girl ever…You have to come so I don’t look like the saddo one in front of Stinkles.”

Miranda’s mum Penny gets in on the act, when to Miranda’s dismay she refers to three TV remotes as doobries. You know what she means. Why use real words-they’re not as much fun. And, this show is all about fun.

Who can help laughing at scenes like this one at the local sushi bar?

 Stinky: …Right, let’s eat. It all looks edible von guzzle bucket.

Tilly: I’m starvington stations.

Miranda: Yup, Hungelos McMungelos.

Tilly: Stinky do you remember the time that I got locked in the boot… GETS TEXT. Sorry. Oh, bear with, bear with, bear… Ooh fabulasmic VIP invite to a scoffulate dans le city avec de rien de sleepage.

Admit it. Aren’t you tempted to say “starvington stations” the next time someone asks if you’re hungry? I know I am. Look for people to start answering their cell phones, as if they have received a message their very life depends on with, “bear with” bear with”…

Whether Miranda’s influence on language will be pervasive and long-term is unknown. Miranda’s real-life mother is the source of TV mum Penny’s constant rejoinder “such fun”. Already, my teenage daughter, Alex, is using the superlative to punctuate her comments. She is naturally funny, but lacks the pratfalls, farts, and stature of Miranda, who over six feet is often mistaken as a Sir. I guess she doesn’t have a TV series in her future, though she is tempted to make fruit friends. It does show how quickly we pick up colorful language. Still, here in the USA, we’re easily influenced-look at the tremendous response to Downton Abbey. We’re bored with lawyers, doctors, and cop shows. Will Brits start making fruit friends and butchering the Queen’s English in the spirit of fun?

If you haven’t discovered this delightful piece of confectionery, check it out on BBC One. You can’t really take it seriously, but then who wants to-it is “such fun”! Better turn your subtitles on, because you won’t want to miss a word!





  1. avatarRick Diamond says

    Excellent article – yes, Miranda Hart’s brilliant in the sitcom, and even though the laughs are often broad and silly, her writing has a grasp of words and wordplay that’s tricky and sophisticated. That juxtaposition is one of the things I like most about her as an artist. Agreed on all counts, it’s a delightful sitcom. Thanks.

    • avatarLorena says

      I’m with you on this Catherine. I watched a few episodes and I did not enjoy it at all and don’t understand why anyone would. But it seems we are in a minority.

Leave a Reply