Image Courtesy of Metro
13 years after the success of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, friends and creative collaborators Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble have reunited to produce yet another striking television series. I Hate Suzie unexpectedly hit our screens mid-pandemic, and although depicting a story far from the dystopic one we are currently experiencing, the series managed to intertwine the mania that COVID-19 has bestowed upon us, while touching upon other real-life issues that are often unacknowledged.
Each half-hour episode follows the life of Suzie Pickles (Piper), a child star turned actress whose life is turned upside down once a series of explicit photos of her are leaked. Once the images go viral, and it is revealed that she was having an affair, Suzie finds her career and family life deteriorating. It doesn’t take long to notice the parallels between Billie Piper and Suzie Pickles. Both the actor and character rose to fame at a young age and are most noticeable for their roles in Sci Fi cult classics (the former Doctor Who, and the latter Quo Vardis). As a result, the show has an extremely personal touch which is corroborated by Piper’s constant screen time and voyeuristic camera angles.
At first, it seems the show is unsure of what genre it wants to be, with the first episode even ending in an impromptu musical number. But the inner workings of someone’s mind is multi-faceted, and the human brain perceives the world in numerous ways, ricocheting from thought to thought. The show’s ability to balance comedy and drama helps the viewer understand Suzie’s thought process and appreciate how her mental state begins to slowly unravel over the course of the series.
Immediately from the beginning of the first episode to the last, the narrative proceeds with an unstoppable vigour that refuses to give the viewer any time to break free from the story. It is fast paced and relentless, which mirrors the constant berating that Suzie is subjected to. When she finally does snap, it comes as no surprise as the viewer is nearly as exhausted as she is.
Ultimately, the core of the show is about exploring double standards. You cannot help but watch and wonder if a male counterpart would be subjected to the same ridicule if explicit pictures of them were exposed. I Hate Suzie blatantly calls out the sexism in the entertainment industry, bringing attention to the fact that women are expected to act a certain way – and if they deviate from this then they put their career in jeopardy.
I Hate Suzie is available to stream on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.