Directed by: Georgi Banks-Davies and Anthony Neilson
Distributed by: HBO Max
Written by Jeff Sparks
In “I Hate Suzie,” Billie Piper plays Suzie Pickles, a singer-turned-actor (similar to Piper herself) who juggles the stresses of fame, family, and work after explicit photos of her are leaked on the internet. In the show, Piper gives what I believe to be the second-best performance of 2020, only beaten by the great performance by Sally Hawkins in “Eternal Beauty.” As Suzie, Piper mixes drama and her own quirky style of comedy to give each scene its own flavor. Although there is comedy in many of the serious scenes, the gravity of those moments is never lost due to the way Piper plays the character. Although what she’s saying might come off as funny to the viewer, Suzie still believes in what she’s saying. Despite the fact that the character isn’t often agreeable, the depth Piper gives her makes Suzie a character whose ups and downs are more than worth watching for eight episodes.
Other than Piper’s presence, the variety of the show makes it stand out. Each episode is meant to feel like its own standalone project. This is achieved by the change in direction of each episode based on the themes of what Suzie is going through. For example, in the episode titled “Shame”, Suzie struggles with her own desires. This theme is explored through cutaways that explore her conscience that aren’t shown in any other episode. All eight episodes focus on a different stage in Suzie’s struggle with trauma, which is the show’s play on the five stages of grief. Since each episode has a different feel, that makes “I Hate Suzie” a distinguishable experience from most other shows. Anyone who knows me knows that I take the nicknames that I give actors very seriously. A nickname can represent an actor’s individual work, style of performance, or even career. Because of this, it should not be taken lightly when I call Billie Piper “Big Time Bille”, which is largely part of her work on this show. She absolutely went for it as Suzie Pickles. In nearly every scene she brought something new to the performance that fleshed out Suzie and made her interesting to watch. To me, Piper is one of the best actors in the world, and I hope she can come up big time in season two of “I Hate Suzie” as she did in the first season.
“I Hate Suzie” Season 1 Trailer