I Hate Suzie (2020) follows Billie Piper as Suzie Pickles – an actress and former teen pop sensation – after a scandal causes her life to fall apart.
Co-created by Piper and Lucy Prebble, the whole show is structured around the “eight stages of trauma”, each episode being a stage. It begins with “Shock”. In episode one we see the affluent Suzie living in a beautiful country house with her husband and young son. Minutes after receiving a job offer to be a Disney princess, Suzie finds a news article revealing her phone had been hacked and some private photos leaked. The world around her begins to spin and the rest of the episode sees Suzie trying to make it through the day while having to be professional during a photoshoot in her house.
She’s painfully tuned in to the people around her becoming aware of the story. The first episode is a masterclass in television –all those moving parts constructing the chaos that juxtaposed with Suzie’s attempts to hold it together creates the most intense tension. We learn everything we need to know about the pictures through Suzie’s expressions, it’s marvellous. The episode doesn’t relent and ends with Suzie finally letting go of the self-control as walks through her village giving a brilliant and hilarious speech – exclaiming “the people here aren’t nice, they’re just already rich” in response to no-one locking their doors. It’s mesmerising.
Suzie for the rest of the series is like a car spinning out of control with no way of stopping it. The world of I Hate Suzie is cruel, mad and uncomfortable – so uncomfortable all the time, there’s little respite like an insane rollercoaster.
Suzie’s a fascinating character, for a lot of the time she’s really quite weak, following along with what those around her tell her – all stemming from being in the limelight from such a young age that she only sees herself through other people’s perceptions. Episode 4, “Shame”, makes this especially clear. But she comes alive through Piper so thoroughly. Piper is on top form, the energy she brings to the role is endless. Never for a moment is she unbelievable, but also never does she feel like a caricature of herself – which was a risk considering she’s playing a former teenage pop star turned actress after finding success is a sci-fi show.
Leila Farzad and Daniel Ings also shine as Suzie’s agent Naomi and husband Cob respectively, each in their own way searching for their identity. Cob and Suzie’s relationship is one of the most uncomfortable parts of the show as the power dynamic between the two is laid bare.
I Hate Suzie is beautiful, brutal and honest – I adored it. Piper and Prebble have created something unique and fresh and I crave more.
The I Hate Suzie DVD (Universal Home Entertainment) is available from the 8th of February.
Comedy, Drama, Television | UK, 2020 | 15 | DVD | 8th February 2021 (UK)| Universal Home Entertainment | Created By: Billie Piper, Lucy Prebble | Billie Piper, Leila Farzad, Daniel Ings