“Fascinating yet uncomfortable” – I Hate Suzie: Season One (DVD Review)

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There are shows out there that can make you laugh, some that can make you cry, but there are shows that can make you downright uncomfortable, and I Hate Suzie was definitely an uncomfortable experience but in the best possible sense. This is a tragic black comedy-drama about an actress whose professional and personal life is slowly falling apart piece by piece after images of a previous scandalous affair leak online. Creators Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper clearly set out to make a show that was extremely bold and ballsy, that wasn’t an easy ride and tackled serious issues such as mental health, anxiety, self-worth, and self-loathing, messy relationships, identity, feminism, success and fame, while also not sugar-coating any of it or paint everything in a glamorised light.

Each episode’s title even refers to the eight stages of grief and this symbolizes and reflects the emotional rollercoaster Suzie experiences throughout the series. Both Prebble and Piper are definitely not treading on egg-shells when it comes to this show, and Piper herself stated in multiple interviews that she wanted to make a series that felt really immersive, that you are in the shoes of Suzie and experiencing all these crazy emotions first-hand. We already deal with so much every single day in our lives as human beings and the show doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of it all and the issues that are thrown at you throughout. For every moment that appears humorous or funny, there’s always the twinge of sadness behind it. Piper herself conveys these emotions perfectly throughout and is not afraid of going to the ends of the earth and back with this character, refusing to shy away from doing anything that’s deemed embarrassing, revealing, vulnerable, gross, or just absolutely terrible for her character.

Piper has always been a gifted performer throughout her career, whether it’s on TV (Doctor Who, Collateral, Penny Dreadful) or theatre (The Effect, Great Britain, Yerma), but her portrayal of Suzie is the most powerful and rawest we’ve seen of her to date, conveying poignant sadness despite putting a smile on her face. Also terrific is Leila Farzad as Suzie’s best friend and manager Naomi, who acts as Suzie’s lifeline in this whole situation, supporting her constantly even if the working relationship becomes increasingly toxic. As she’s trying to pick up the pieces for Suzie, she’s also trying to get a hand on her own life as she’s coping with issues of motherhood and personal relationships, and Farzad absolutely excels with the material she’s given.

This show definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s understandable if viewers are turned off by its uncompromising nature, but that speaks to how bold and brave of a show I Hate Suzie is. It’s fast-paced, very challenging, tackles serious issues, and examines human nature in a way that’s fascinating yet uncomfortable to experience. This further demonstrates both Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper as a duo to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry and it’ll be interesting to see what they go from here following this series’ conclusion.

Dir: Georgi Banks-Davies, Anthony Neilson

Scr: Lucy Prebble

Cast: Billie Piper, Leila Farzad, Daniel Ings, Nathaniel Martello-White

Music: Johnny Lloyd, Nathan Coen

Year: 2020

Country: UK

Number of Episodes: 8

Episode Run time: 32-41mins

I Hate Suzie: Season One is out now on DVD.

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