I Hate Suzie. Don’t forget the period at the end of that sentence; it’s required. Suzie, played with enthusiastic mayhem by Billie Piper, is a television personality recognized regularly on the street. Her phone is hacked and photos of her in compromising situations with not-her-husband are posted online. This comedy from the UK is now available on HBO Max.
I Hate Suzie. tells what happens in the life of Suzie Pickles (Billie Piper) after her phone is hacked. I suspect Suzie’s life was already a messy situation. Her response to this crisis is a wild ride through emotional highs and lows and near insanity. The titles of the 8 episodes indicate her emotional state as she navigates to a semblance of recovery: Shock, Denial, Fear, Shame, Bargaining, Guilt, Anger, Acceptance.
Suzie is married to Cob (Daniel Ings). They have a deaf son, Frank (Matthew Jordan-Caws) who is about to turn 8 years old. Suzie’s working on a TV series about Nazi zombies with a showrunner named Carter (Nathaniel Martello-White). Carter is the not-her-husband in the photos.
The very day the photos are exposed, Suzie gets the news that she may have a job on a Disney production.
Suzie’s manager and lifelong friend Naomi (Leila Farzad) tries to get control of the situation, keep Suzie employed, and hang on to her few other clients.
Cob is angry and not inclined to be forgiving. Little Frank just wants his mom to be there, especially on his birthday.
A Flawed Heroine
I might compare I Hate Suzie. to Fleabag or The Duchess, two series with dramatic, emotional, messed up leading women. Each of them is broken in her own way. In Suzie’s case, we meet her terrible parents (Lorraine Ashbourne and Phil Daniels) at a family wedding. The family dysfunction is on full display, especially by her father who wants to profit off Suzie’s crisis by selling her story to the media.
Naomi is the rock in Suzie’s life. She a lesbian who speaks truth to Suzie about her life choices. Naomi wants to burn down the patriarchy and knows how to explain why it should be done.
Suzie finally “gets it” that Carter didn’t love her, but in fact is known for seducing all the women he works with. She joins Naomi in realizing that only Suzie is suffering from the photo release. Carter gets off unscathed while Suzie is reduced to playing Monica Lewinsky in terrible live theater productions. A #MeToo plotline if ever there was one.
The friendship between these two women was the strongest part of the series for me. Billie Piper was fantastic at showing Suzie’s wild emotional ride during this crisis, while Naomi was the glue that held her together.
I wouldn’t call the series great but it was definitely imaginative, creative, and different. I’d like to say that flawed, emotional screw-ups whose lives feel like a constant train wreck don’t exist, but I happen to know they do. Suzie is an exceptional example of the breed.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that female friendship was a touchstone in this story created by Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble. The series was mostly directed by Georgi Banks-Davies in her TV directorial debut.
The trailer is very short.
Are you going to give this series a look?